Thermal comfort

Thermal comfort program

Updated January 2023

UOW has a large stock of buildings of varying age, type, usage and ventilation systems. Overall approximately 85% of habitable spaces (such as offices and Common Teaching Areas) are air conditioned based on Gross Floor Area (GFA) as at the end of 2019.

In consultation with faculties and divisions, WHS and representatives from CTA spaces, a summary of existing site issues and key priority areas were identified for consideration for air conditioning and non-air-conditioning (passive treatments).

Due to the physical spread of thermal comfort issues, the complexity of works required and to minimise disruption to campus users, the Thermal Comfort Program is being delivered in a Staged process (view a map of the stages of the Thermal Comfort program of works).

The typical process each stage will undergo is:

  1. Investigation and concept design
  2. Feasibility assessment
  3. Design finalisation
  4. Delivery


As this program aims to install a new major service into buildings that were never designed to cater for such a provision, the age, condition and capacity of existing building elements need to be thoroughly investigated. This staged process assists the project team in identifying major project constraints and will inform feasibility assessments.

Stage 1 and Stage 2 Thermal Comfort projects have been completed. Concept and Detailed designs for Stage 3 Thermal Comfort projects have been completed, however the commencement of these construction projects is currently on hold.

As design and investigation works progress, this WHS website will be periodically updated to publish any notable departures from this approved plan.

Project achievements

 A 4 page article outlining the achievements of the Thermal Comfort Program was published in the Summer 2020 edition of the Australian Institute of Project Management's publication "Paradigm Shift" (commences on page 28).

Other solutions

Thermal Comfort can also be augmented via behavioural actions in line with UOW Thermal Comfort Guidelines:

  • Dressing appropriately for the conditions
  • Rescheduling work or particular tasks to cooler times of the day
  • Using fans and opening doors, windows and vents where practical
  • Alternate working arrangements on extreme days
  • Rescheduling work or particular tasks to cooler times of the day

These guidelines also provide guidance on safely managing work in hot and cold environments.