This title is indeed intriguing. You must be wondering what a sick building means.? This is s a serious problem with buildings these days so read on! This real problem exits in Singapore and the world over that needs not only public awareness you also need to know who to consult and how to curb the problem. Mold and Fungus growth indoors is a symptom of a sick building. The World Health Organization reported as far back as in 1984 that up to 30% of new and remodeled buildings had occupants that complained due to poor air quality. This may be because buildings were designed without consideration for indoor air quality, or the building is being operated differently from how it was designed, resulting in poor air conditions.
Why does a sick building syndrome occur?
Causes of sick building syndrome (and poor indoor air quality) include poor ventilation, chemical contaminants, and biological contaminants. Sometimes, the effects of these problems are short-term, but a building can also suffer from long-term problems due to these issues.
Poor ventilation. It is believed that the oil embargo in the 1970s caused buildings to be built “tight”, with little room for air to escape, to improve heating efficiencies. This reduced ventilation and trapped contaminants, like fungus, indoors, and caused poor indoor air quality. Now, ventilation standards require a higher amount of outdoor air indoors, which reduces many problems, including SBS.
Contaminants. The largest source of indoor air contaminants is from building materials. Many new building materials emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are harmful to occupant health when emitted in large quantities. These off gas from materials such as paints, floors, furniture, sealants, cleaning supplies, and others. The newer the material, the more it will off gas VOCs. However, there are many materials on the market that are emit low or no VOCs.
Other contaminants include those from the outdoors, like car exhaust and cigarette smoke, which can come in through poorly placed vents. Additionally, contaminants like mold and fungus can form anywhere with stagnant water, like in vents and humidifiers.
Effect of sick building syndrome
The sick building syndrome (SBS) is used to describe a situation in which the occupants of a building experience acute health- or comfort-related effects that seem to be linked directly to the time spent in the building. No specific illness or cause can be identified. The sick building syndrome comprises of various nonspecific symptoms that occur in the occupants of a building. This feeling of ill health increases sickness absenteeism and causes a decrease in productivity of the workers. As this syndrome is increasingly becoming a major occupational hazard, the cause, management and prevention of this condition have been discussed in this article.
What is a sick building syndrome?
With the change in current ozone levels in the atmosphere globally, a new problem has exacerbated and confronted the construction and engineering industry dubbed by World Health Organization as “The Sick Building Syndrome”. The problem is not with the building per se but with atmospheric conditions leading to build up of high level of moisture within a new building or a house or apartment leading to condensation which results in weeping walls , dampness and mould growth. This is so even if the structural integrity of the building is sound and made in compliance to all building specifications by the various building authorities the world over. The building construction industry differentiates between structural dampness and dampness caused by condensation. The former is where the root of the problem lies in the structural integrity of the building and the latter is where there is nothing wrong with the structure of the building but due to poor indoor air quality moisture builds up within the premises of the building so that it acts as a catalyst for growth of mildew and dampness of the walls which can in the long run be a health hazard to occupant and inhabitants alike. Indoor air quality becomes poor when there is a high level of humidity and poor ventilation. Especially in countries of tropical climate situated near the equator like Singapore Malaysia Indonesia India and other countries of South East Asia buildings in these region are frequently facing ‘ The Sick Building Syndrome” occurs through no fault of the developer, the architects or other professional in the Building Construction and Engineering Industry. The problem lies in atmospheric conditions. Sick building syndrome (SBS) is when a building’s poor indoor air quality causes occupants to suffer from short-term or long-term health problems. Symptoms may include headaches, irritation in the eyes, nose or throat, fatigue, dizziness, nausea, dry and itchy skin, coughing, and difficulty concentrating. Obviously, these symptoms can seem linked to a number of illnesses, but it may be sick building syndrome if the occupants cannot pinpoint the cause of the problem and feel relief after leaving the building. Occupants from one area of a building may complain of illness, or all occupants may suffer if the indoor air quality of the entire building is poor.
This article is written to bring public awareness and also to provide solutions on how to curb and abate the recurrence of such problems such as damp walls and growth of mildew within a building or a house. As the problem has been a common one the Anti Condensation Specialists who have done deep extensive and thorough research in this area and together with advanced technology and other methods have had a proven track record of solving the problem for many buildings including hotels hospitals factories and individuals homes such as private properties like bungalows condominiums and even housing development board houses. No doubt that Contractors and designers are jointly responsible for defects that are derived from poor specifications. Poor specifications are generally the fault of designers but failure to comply with specification is the responsibility of the Contractor. What then happens when specifications are in order and compliance are also in order and then you have this moisture problem? There is no defect per se on the building so to speak.
This problem has now become a developer’s and a new householder’s and building owner’s nightmare leading to court cases taken up by the disgruntled home or building purchaser. The Courts in England and Wales and in Singapore have addressed this problem and it is enlightening to note that apparent ratio is that where the problem is due to structural dampness the purchaser of properties have a redress of damages being awarded but not so the case where dampness and mildew growth in the building or home has been caused by condensation/moisture due to humidity, poor indoor air quality being the root of the problem. There are techniques developed and other methods and technology to combat the problem of anti condensation .This article is written to shine the light out of the black dark tunnel of “ The Sick Building Syndrome” and to show readers that it is not all doom and gloom but that there is a way out of the problem.
How to avoid sicking building syndrome
The best way to avoid SBS completely is to design and construct a building with good indoor air quality. Many green building codes, certification programs and standards dictate minimum indoor air quality levels that are ideal for occupant health. Measures may include minimum levels of ventilation, use of low emitting building materials, proper location of vents, etc
Ventilating or Ventilation (the V in HVAC) is the process of “changing” or replacing air in any space to provide high indoor air quality which involves temperature control, oxygen replenishment, and removal of moisture, odors, smoke, heat, dust, airborne bacteria, and carbon dioxide. Ventilation removes unpleasant smells and excessive moisture, introduces outside air, keeps interior building air circulating, and prevents stagnation of the interior air.
Ventilation includes both the exchange of air to the outside as well as circulation of air within the building. It is one of the most important factors for maintaining acceptable indoor air quality in buildings. Methods for ventilating a building may be divided into mechanical/forced and natural types
Once the source is found, the Anti Condensation Specialist can work to correct it. Often, an experienced indoor air quality professional will be able to recommend solutions after finding the source of the contaminants. Treatments may include air purifiers, improved ventilation, or removing the source of the contaminant.
Importance of a healthy building
We live in houses we work in offices we recuperate in hospital we recreate in hotels and we commute to other countries in airports. These are just a few examples of buildings and it is so important that building must be healthy.
A healthy building is one that does not adversely affects the health of its occupants nor the larger environment. Indoor air quality (IAQ) concerns are among many indoor environmental issues that must be addressed to avoid adverse impacts on occupants’ health and well being. Among the other indoor environmental factors that must be considered are the quality of thermal, light, acoustic, privacy, security, and functional suitability. In addition to concerns about indoor environmental quality and its affect on occupants, buildings must not adversely affect the larger environment. The construction, operation, use, and ultimate disposition of a building must have minimal adverse effects on the natural environment or ultimately it will adversely affect people whether indoors or out. Buildings are healthy only if their effects on their occupants and the larger environment are benign. Occupants also must contribute with their lifestyles in promoting a healthy building. Building occupants play a major role in maintaining healthy indoor environments, especially in residences. Contributors to indoor air quality include cleaning habits and other behaviors; consumer products, furnishings, and appliances purchases, as well as where and how the occupants use them.
As you are aware, Singapore and Malaysia are geographically situated near the equator zone. They are classified as tropical climate where high humidity takes place day and night. Therefore, condensation is easily formed when the moist air gets in contact with the cold surfaces, in particular, the air-conditioning supply air grilles and diffusers. This phenomenon is commonly seen in hotels, restaurants, hospitals, airport terminal buildings, computer rooms, warehouses etc. where 24 hours air-conditioning operation is required.
The conventional ways of solving the condensation problem are as follows:-
- Increase the room temperature by tempering with the thermostat or adjust the equipment fan’s speed such that the ambient dew point temperature is above the cold surface temperature of the object.
- Closing fully the fresh air damper in the air-conditioning plant room in order to reduce the humidity level by allowing 100% recirculating air supplied into the conditioned space.
- Install air curtains at the main door entrance so as to block the infiltration of fresh air.
- Install electric heater in the supply air ducts partly to remove humidity and partly to raise the supply air temperature.
- Place the dehumidifiers in an enclosed area.
- Provide ventilation system in non air-conditioned area.
About Mr Fan Of Anti Condensation Specialist Of Ersa Technologies Pte Ltd
Mr Y.S. Fan is an engineering graduate in polytechnic and a practical man with hands on experience to solve many problems not only in the plumbing & sanitary works, but also in general building services. He has done extensive the market research, carrying out numerous experiments. Eventually, he found a solution and subsequently developed a technique to resolve all indoor condensation problems permanently. Mr Fan had left the plumbing & sanitary company and found his own companies, Soon Heng Heng Engineering & Renovation and Ersa Technologies Pte. Ltd. to work as a Anti Condensation Specialist. For the past 15 years in business, Mr Fan has been solving numerous condensation problems for the customers, ranging from the developers, contractors, government’s sectors and household owners in many existing buildings, such as hotels, hospitals, restaurants, high end condominiums, airport terminal buildings, computer rooms, warehouses, reputable high rise buildings etc. both in Singapore and in Malaysia. Recently, he has also successfully solved the problem for the consultants in US Florida and Maldives on the complaints of condensation on air-conditioning diffusers in the hotel by exporting his pretreatment diffusers.
Upon monitoring some of the existing projects, whether commercial, industrial and /or residential after being treated against condensation for more than 8 years ago, there is no feedback or complaints on the recurrence of condensation. He and his team, when they undertake a sick building and turn it around, they provide a1 year warranty that the problem will not recur and his success rate in curbing the problem of condensation which results in a sick building is phenomenal. He is bringing out a book entitled “ Anti Condensation -A Cure To The Sick Building Syndrome” which he co -authored with 3 other eminent writers two lawyers and an engineer in due course and readers will be informed of its launch
Contact Details of Mr YS FAN
HP 65 97998801
Source 1 Soon Heng Heng Engineering & Renovation
Source 2: Ersa Technologies Pte Ltd