What is radon gas?
Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas. It is colourless, odourless and tasteless and is produced by the decay of uranium found in soil and rocks. Exposure to high radon levels over a prolonged period can increase the risk of lung cancer.
How does radon gas enter buildings?
Radon is everywhere in the environment, but the levels are usually too low to be a problem. However, radon can enter buildings through gaps and cracks in floors and walls and accumulate at potentially harmful levels.
What is the standard radon gas level in the UK?
The UK reference level for radon is 200 becquerels per cubic meter (Bq/m³). If the radon level in a building exceeds this, Public Health England recommends that action is taken to reduce it.
Are some areas in the UK more at risk of high radon gas levels?
Yes, there are areas in the UK known as 'Radon Affected Areas' where the radon level is predicted to exceed the reference level in a significant number of homes. These are primarily in the South West but also include Northern Ireland, Northamptonshire, and Aberdeenshire areas.
How can I find my property is likely to have a high level of radon gas?
At Holtbeck Architects, we routinely conduct an initial assessment for each project to evaluate the likelihood of high radon potential in the surrounding area. If our research indicates a medium or high radon risk, we will advise you that a more detailed report specific to your property is advised.
This property-specific report can reveal if your premises are at medium or high risk. Should this confirm such a level of risk, we can guide you through the following steps. This would involve commissioning an on-site assessment to determine the measures needed to mitigate the risks for you, your family, and any future property occupants. Our goal is to ensure the health and safety of all residents and provide peace of mind.
What is the building control requirement associated with radon gas in the UK?
The Building Regulations 2010, Approved Document C, includes requirements for protecting new buildings against radon gas. The regulations specify that all new dwellings, extensions, and certain conversions must have radon protective measures in their design and construction in radon-affected areas.
Is it possible to design new buildings to resist radon gas ingress?
Yes, when designing a new building or an extension in a radon-affected area, it is possible to include radon protection measures. These measures can help to prevent radon from entering the building and ensure that any radon that does enter is effectively vented away from areas where it may cause harm.
What kind of radon gas mitigation measures may be necessary?
There are several different ways to reduce radon levels in a building. The most appropriate method depends on the structure of the building and the level of radon present. Techniques include improving ventilation, sealing floors and walls, and installing a radon sump system or a positive pressure ventilation system.