Testing the indoor air quality of an office space- Smell investigation and health / toxicological assessment of the indoor air

The project

Location: Offices of an authority in Eastern Switzerland
Client: Property manager of the estate
Reason: Inspection of the indoor air quality due to user complaints
Period: January 2019


The offices of an authority in Eastern Switzerland are located in a former industrial building that is over 150 years old. Due to the employment of new staff, the authority rented additional office space in this building. However, an unpleasant, solvent-like and unusual smell was detectable in these facilities and made it impossible to remain there for any prolonged time. Ecosens AG was therefore tasked with an investigation of the indoor air quality.
To identify the sources of the smell and to carry out a health / toxicological assessment of the air quality, VOC and formaldehyde measurements were performed (VOC = volatile organic compounds). The analysis results showed that the indoor air was heavily polluted with an aromatic solvent (xylol) as well as various other substances. For health reasons, it was therefore recommended not to use the room in its present state. Detailed analysis data were used to show that the air pollution was caused by sealing the floor with a clear lacquer and not by its former industrial use. Remediation measures to reduce the air pollution were based on this investigation.


Our services

  • Investigation of the indoor air for VOC (volatile organic compounds) and formaldehyde by active sampling
  • Comparison of the measuring results with guideline and detection values to assess the indoor air quality
  • Performance of a detailed source investigation, including an examination of safety data sheets for building products
  • Development of remediation measures.


  • Cost-efficient performance of the measurements
  • A rapid response due to great urgency
  • Complex investigations to discriminate between contamination resulting from industrial use and emissions from currently used construction materials

Project manager:

Raphael Rapold Project manager: Indoor air quality
MSc. economic chemistry

rrapold@ecosens.ch +41 44 839 47 90 More