May 11th, 2013 10:51 PM by Dan Howard
Unless an environmental factor played a direct role in compromising the integrity of the structure, such as water intrusion or radon contamination, the role of environmental hazards and indoor air quality was essentially overlooked.
Until recently, a traditional home inspection or commercial property inspection consisted of a simple process that would be initiated either upon the sale or development of a residential or commercial property, or as a result of an unexpected problem that surfaced within a structure.
Sick building syndrome (SBS) is a combination of ailments (a syndrome) associated with an individual’s place of work (office building) or residence. A World Health Organization report into the syndrome suggested more than 30% of new and remodeled buildings may be linked to symptoms of SBS. Most of the sick building syndrome is related to poor indoor air quality.
Sick building causes are frequently pinned down to flaws in the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. Other causes have been attributed to contaminants produced by off-gassing of some types of building materials, volatile organic compounds, molds (see mold health issues), improper exhaust ventilation of light industrial chemicals used within, or fresh-air intake location / lack of adequate air filtration .
Symptoms are often dealt with after-the-fact by boosting the overall turn-over rate of fresh air exchange with the outside air, but the new green building design goal should be to avoid most of the SBS problem sources in the first place, minimize the ongoing use of VOC cleaning compounds, and eliminate conditions that encourage allergenic, potentially-deadly mold growth.
Building occupants complain of symptoms such as: