How good are ground gas protection measures on buildings?

How good are ground gas protection measures on buildings?

Dr. Geoffrey Card will be Chairing and Speaking at the CIRIA conference event “How good are ground gas protection measures on buildings?” tomorrow in London.  The average life of a commercial building is 30 years and a residential building is about 100 years.  Many do not have adequate (or rather old) gas protective measures in place.  Even if they have, as increasing rainfall and severe weather events become more frequent due to climate change, the existing gas mitigation can be adversely affected.

Dr. Geoffrey Card will:

  • Review guidance for existing development;
  • explain the problems with retrofitting gas measures for developments (residential, commercial and industrial) for both above ground (for people living and working in the buildings) and below ground situations (e.g. in basement);
  • explain the pros and cons of the available mitigation options and provide examples on how these can be done successfully

How good are ground gas protection measures on buildings?

This event will explore how hazardous ground gases, particularly methane, carbon dioxide, VOC’s and radon are being dealt with in existing residential, commercial and industrial developments. It will also discuss the available retrofit protection measures and examine how to implement remedial actions cost effectively.
Hazardous ground gases can cause serious problems to residential, industrial and commercial developments.  The average life of a commercial building in 30 years and a residential building is about 100 years, many do not have adequate) gas protective measures in place. Even if they have, the drive to increase energy efficiency by making buildings more ‘air tight’ and our changing climate (increased rainfall and severe weather events) can affect the effectiveness of existing gas mitigation measures. Furthermore changing ground conditions on or adjacent to the site such as rising groundwater, grouting of voids, surface paving or ground improvement/piling works may amplify the risks thereby resulting in gas protection measures being required where none were previously.

For example in 2014, NHS Lothian found that carbon dioxide exposure was the cause of ill health of some residents living in a housing estate overlying a previous underground coalmining area in Gorebridge, Midlothian.

Similarly, radon does not only affect existing development across the UK not only in the SW of England. According to the Centre for Radiation, Chemical and Environmental Hazards (CRCE), ‘radon is the single largest source of radiation exposure for people in the UK whether they are at home or at work’. It is also the second biggest cause of lung cancer in this country.

Why attend?
This event will help you to understand:

  • the nature and risk of methane, CO2, VOC and radon and their subsequent protection measures needed for residential, commercial and industrial developments.
  • how the effectiveness of gas protection measures could change
    – over time
    – due to external factors e.g. impact of extreme climate incidents, people putting glazing to their windows, etc.
  • the difference in retrofitting protection measures for developments with radon and/or other different types of ground  problems

The event will also provide you with opportunities to network with clients, developers, regulators, health specialists, radon and other ground gas specialists.

10:00 Registration and refreshments

10.30 Introduction

10.45  Impact on health from  ground gases
Richard Othieno/Colin Ramsay, NHS Lothian

11.05  Management for developments with ground gas issues, a consultant point of view
Andrew Kram, Fairhurst

11.25  Guidance to help resolving ground gas problems in existing house, are there any and how good are they? Geoff Card,  GB Card and partners

11.45 Questions and discussion

12.15 Lunch

13.15  Radon and public health
Sue Hodgson, Public Health England 

13. 35 Risk assessment and mitigation for radon
Mike Jaggs, BRE

13.55 Questions

14.25 Workshop:

  • How you do know if ground gas protection measures fail?
  • What do we need to do if this happens, particularly in developments where there are radon and other ground gas problems.
  • How could we make sure that the retrofitted approaches are more ‘future proof’?
  • Are there any uncertainties and how do we address them?

16.00 Questions and discussion

16.30 Close

Who should attend?
House builders. housing associations, consultants, warranty providers and insurers, regulators, ground gas (including radon) specialists

17 October 2018
10:00 – 16:30


LACL and BRMF members: £150 + VAT
CIRIA Members: £150 +VAT
All others: £190+VAT.

Griffin Court
15 Long Lane
London, EC1A 9PN, UK

If you are experiencing issues registering for this event online please contact us on 020 7549 3300  or email

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Further information
For further information on CIRIA membership and other services, please contact:
Tel: 020 7549 3300
Fax: 020 7549 3349