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close this bookBuilding Materials and Health (UNCHS/HABITAT; 1997; 74 pages)
View the documentABBREVIATIONS
View the documentFOREWORD
View the documentINTRODUCTION
Open this folder and view contentsI. HEALTH HAZARDS ASSOCIATED WITH BUILDING MATERIALS
View the documentII. CONTROLLING HEALTH HAZARDS: PROBLEMS AND ISSUES
close this folderIII. A STRATEGY FOR THE CONTROL OF HEALTH HAZARDS ASSOCIATED WITH BUILDING MATERIALS
View the documentA. Principles
View the documentB. The role of the building industry
View the documentC. The role of research and professional organizations
View the documentD. The role of national governments
View the documentE. International action
View the documentANNEX
View the documentREFERENCES
 

C. The role of research and professional organizations

The interaction of health and building materials through design and technology choice is an area of rapidly growing public concern and research activity. New materials are being developed and utilized in building rapidly. The need to find new materials with low energy and low environmental impact to reduce the environmental impacts associated with buildings will no doubt accelerate the trend towards new manufactured and synthetic materials in building world-wide. Individual designers and individual building firms cannot be expected to maintain and update their understanding of the implications of the materials they use unless they are supported by good research, information, and professional guidelines. National research institutes and professional bodies have a central role in providing such support.

Action by research organizations

The role of research organizations include:

 

• to identify the range of possible health hazards associated with all the materials being used in building, and the component materials which they contain;

• to propose occupational exposure limits for construction and maintenance workers;

• to propose indoor air quality criteria for new buildings;

• to develop labelling schemes for building materials which identify the nature and level of hazard involved.

Action by professional organizations

Professional organizations exist to represent the interests of the professions which they represent, whether architects, structural or services engineers, construction managers or building surveyors or economists. They are in a good position to propose and promote developments in practice within their professions, and to disseminate new knowledge. They can also influence the curricula of courses leading to professional qualifications.

The role of professional groups should include:

 

• to establish design guidelines for minimizing hazards and communicating these within their professional groups, including a duty of advising clients on health-related matters;

• to promote understanding and awareness of health hazards within the profession and the public in general through information dissemination, education and training;

• to pressure governments to make regulatory changes to promote healthier buildings, for instance through building regulations;

• to pressure manufacturers for higher health and environmental quality materials;

• to require health-related matters to be included in the curricula of all courses leading to professional design qualifications.

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