This part of ISO 16000 specifies sensory testing and the evaluation of indoor odours using human panels. Sensory testing can be performed on site or in laboratories; in the latter case, by means of air in sampling containers which were collected from the site. The olfactory testing is appropriate for office and administration buildings, assembly halls, residential buildings, and other habitable rooms in which the comfort and health of the occupants is of interest.
The test criteria in this part of ISO 16000 are not applicable to factory buildings and workshops or other rooms in which odours unavoidably stem from the production processes (kitchens, bakeries etc.). If an odour evaluation of such rooms is undertaken without the odour-producing processes, it is necessary to take into account that there is a possibility that the processes have influenced and changed the odour of the room through the adsorption of odorous compounds.
Sensory odour tests of indoor air can meet a variety of objectives. These include finding the cause(s) of unpleasant or objectionable odours, determining the reasonability of odours and the usability of affected rooms, and inspecting the results of renovation work. When seeking the cause of odours, it is wise to conduct additional laboratory tests on samples of the component materials according to ISO 16000‑28. In the process of locating odour sources by means of olfactory tests, it is necessary to take into account the fact that the odour compounds can accumulate on other surfaces, which exacerbates the problem.
NOTE A risk assessment is intended to be carried out to clarify that no harmful compounds are present in the room. In some countries, an ethics committee can require this.