Influence of Building Design and Construction on Occupant Health


Presented by: Suchismita Bhattacharjee

Built environment has significant impact on occupants’ health. The design and construction of the buildings define the Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) to a great extent which influences occupant health. Poor IEQ leads to various health symptoms of the occupants such as inflammation of eyes and respiratory system, headaches and tiredness, inability to concentrate, nausea etc. 

The goal of the study is to find association of building design and construction parameter such as carpet, wall covering, etc. with occupant health and how that relates to indoor environmental parameters. The researchers used data from the 1994–1998 US Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Building Assessment and Survey Evaluation, a cross-sectional study of workers employed in 100 public office buildings across 25 states. The study used a self-administered questionnaire to assess health condition and prevalence of existing health conditions. The questionnaire also addressed the building condition parameters of the employees work environment. Multivariate logistic regression analyses were employed for the purpose of assessing the association between building design and construction parameters, health conditions and IEP.

Of the 4326 participants, 66% were females and 60% were between 30 and 49 years. The primary building parameters which were found to have significant impact on the different health conditions are carpet condition, type of wall paint or coverings, age of the furniture, water damage history of the building, operability of windows, and location of windows. The building design and construction parameters were found to have direct correlation with some of the IEP which influenced the occupant health. 

This study will shed more light on the influence of building materials on occupant health. The collected data will act as performance feedback of materials and components of buildings to the designers and contractors and how it influences the quality of a building and its occupant’s health.

References:

  • Spengler, John D., and Qingyan Chen. "Indoor air quality factors in designing a healthy building." Annual Review of Energy and the Environment 25, no. 1 (2000): 567-600.
  • Huizenga, C., S. Abbaszadeh, Leah Zagreus, and Edward A. Arens. "Air quality and thermal comfort in office buildings: results of a large indoor environmental quality survey." Center for the Built Environment (2006).