23/24 June 2021
On 01 January, 2018, a new edition of the VDI ("Verein Deutscher Ingenieure" = Association of German Engineers) guideline 6022 Part 1 on the hygiene of ventilation systems and air conditioners was published. The document underwent substantial revisions and now contains many new obligations for manufacturers, planners, constructors, operators and supervisors of HVAC systems and air conditioners.
The workplace ordinance ArbStättV ("Arbeitsstättenverordnung") regulates the erection and operation of workplaces for the safety and protection of employee health. For ventilation systems, this includes the maintenance (service, inspection, repair or improvement) of the workplace in order to maintain its structural and technical state.
This means that room ventilation systems (HVAC systems) must be tested for their functionality on a regular basis. They must supply healthy air and operate reliably. The aforementioned VDI guidelines are used for this. They describe how HVAC systems are to be operated and maintained. Therefore, VDI guideline 6022 serves employee protection and not so much product protection from a GMP point of view.
Since the hygiene guideline VDI 6022 came into force in 1998, countless old facilities have been upgraded. These days, new facilities usually comply with the state of the art described in the guideline. However, since the state of the art keeps developing, the guideline has been revised and updated several times, already. In 2006, the first elaborate revision was made and in 2011, the guideline was revised editorially. Part 1 of the guideline has gained nine supplements. Every five years, the VDI guidelines are being subjected to an internal review in order to check if they still reflect the state of the art. During this, the main part (Part 1) as well as Part 6 (decentralised humidifying) were revised by the competent VDI working group and published as drafts in early 2017. Due to the public inquiry procedures, the drafts were modified once more. The final version of the main part (Part 1) was published in January 2018.
Compared with the old version of 2006/2011, there have been countless changes. Many of these changes aim to clarify unspecific wording or offer comprehensive descriptions of issues which had formerly only been mentioned in passing. Moreover, there is a great number of significant changes which will make the operation of HVAC systems safer from a hygienic standpoint in the future.
After the publication of the last version in 2011, there have been several important additions to Part 1, which were laid down in supplements: Supplement 1.1 describes the testing of HVAC systems, Supplement 1.2 offers notes on underground pipes and components and Supplement 1.3 focuses on the cleanness of air-touched surfaces. These Supplements are now included in Part 1, thereby eliminating duplications and streamlining the text overall.
Recooling systems, even if connected to a HVAC system, are no longer in the scope of VDI 6022. These systems have had their own guideline for two years: VDI 2047 Part 2. Domestic ventilation units are now definitely in the scope of VDI 6022. There is an explicit reference to DIN 1946 Part 6. Domestic ventilation units which are marked with the category "H" as per DIN 1946-6 are also compliant with the requirements of VDI 6022 Part 1 (Section 9.1).
Below are some examples for the numerous clarifying changes:
Two examples for innovations:
Particularly important innovations include:
Hygiene trainings must now also take account of the guideline changes. The VDI is therefore revising Part 4 (Trainings) at the moment. All persons dealing with HVAC systems such as planners, plant manufacturers, operators or supervisors are urged to catch up on the changes of VDI 6022.