Case study – Odour Complaint Investigation

By Media Team on 20th December 2016


Our client a major media company reported complaints of unpleasant odours reported on an intermittent basis in a ground floor office. The premises comprised a modern, air-conditioned London headquarters.  They had made various inspections of the area and supply air equipment without identifying a cause or source.  First Environment were called to investigate on their behalf.


To attend site, evaluate the area concerned, devise a sample strategy with the aim of identifying a source for the odours.

Core Tasks

  • Inspection of affected area
  • Discussion with staff in the affected area to determine the nature and frequency of the odour
  • Set up of sample stations for a range of organic and physical parameters
  • Review of results and findings


As a result of the initial discussions with site staff from experience of similar projects First Environment were able to focus on a specific set of likely causes. This enabled the sample strategy to be narrowed limiting the cost of the investigation.  By a combination of inspection and measurement the source was traced to an open waste water pipe in the ceiling void which was intermittently releasing stale odours into the occupied space.


By recourse to experience of similar investigations First Environment were able to quickly identify and resolve what had been a long standing problem for our client. Our client was able to make simple closure to the pipe and the problem was resolved within a week of our involvement.



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