Durham School of Architectural Engineering and Construction


Date of this Version



Harmon, Marcel, and Josephine Lau. “The Facility Infection Risk EstimatorTM: A Web Application Tool for Comparing Indoor Risk Mitigation Strategies by Estimating Airborne Transmission Risk.” Indoor and Built Environment, Aug. 2021, doi:10.1177/1420326X211039544.


Published by SAGE Publications. Used by permission.



The COVID-19 pandemic created needs for (a) estimating the existing airborne risk of infection from SARS-CoV-2 in existing facilities and new designs and (b) estimating and comparing the impacts of engineering and behavioural strategies for contextually reducing that risk. This paper presents the development of a web application to meet these needs, the Facility Infection Risk Estimator™, and its underlying Wells–Riley based model. The model specifically estimates (a) the removal efficiencies of various settling, ventilation, filtration and virus inactivation strategies and (b) the associated probability of infection, given the room physical parameters and number of individuals infected present with either influenza or SARS-CoV-2. A review of the underlying calculations and associated literature is provided, along with the model's validation against two documented spreading events. The error between modelled and actual number of additional people infected, normalized by the number of uninfected people present, ranged from roughly –18.4% to +9.7%. The more certain one can be regarding the input parameters (such as for new designs or existing buildings with adequate field verification), the smaller these normalized errors will be, likely less than ±15%, making it useful for comparing the impacts of different risk mitigation strategies focused on airborne transmission.