The development of guidelines for smart innovative mechanical ventilation systems is a task included in an ongoing research project partly supported by the European Commission in the framework of the Joule programme "TIPVENT - Towards Improved Performances of mechanical Ventilation systems". Before starting the actual work with the guidelines a survey was carried out to determine the level of current design methods for ventilation systems in the participating countries (Belgium, France, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden and Switzerland). A simplified questionnaire was developed and sent to the participating countries. Examples of questions are: current traditional design procedure, whether indoor air quality and energy is taken into account by the HVAC-designer, rules of thumb, handbooks, guidelines, design tools and computer software. The conclusions are that current traditional design often involves simple calcdations, des of thumb and manufacturers design programs and catalogues. Traditional design seldom involves advanced calcdations. Many different handbooks and guidelines are also used. These are some of the reasons why innovative ventilation systems are seldom introduced. In the paper the current design methods are presented and discussed.