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Sick Building Syndrome. What Is It? Is It Dangerous?


Have you ever heard of a sick building syndrome? You might be wondering, what are those terms? Well, for designer themself, this is a common issue that every designer have to solve and avoid in a building. Just like humans, our building can as well get sick! But in what way?



What is sick building sydrome?

A sick building syndrome, from the name itself it is a sickness that occurred in a building, but what's worse is this effects the human living in it. Sick building syndrome is also described as a situation where the users in the building experiences uncomfortable situation and or worse, health problems and other effects arise while in the building with no specific cause. One of the very main problems that occur from a sick building syndrome is flu, this issues is commonly happens to office workers that work in a high rise building when there is no open ventilation in the building and uses only aircon. As in the high rise building offices we met, it is very rare to have an outdoor space on every floor or open windows. Other sick building syndromes that residents usually felt are stuffy nose, dry throat, headache, itchy eyes, afternoon eyes, dry eyes, runny nose, eye strain, and many more.


What actually causes all of this sympthoms to happen?

There are multiple causes of sick buildin syndrome, such as:


Poor indoor air quality (IAQ)

which is commonly caused by inadequate ventilation. Especially in the city's high rise where every building uses aircon. The exchange of gas and fresh air indoor compared to outdoor is obviously different, especially with aircon in a closed room which means the circle of air circulation is trap inside the room.


Poor lighting quality

which also affects the neurological symptoms that create a strain in the associated eye-brain interactions. Too dark, too dim, too light, or flickering lights may result in discomforts such as headaches, or migraines.


Electromagnetic radiation

imagine if each of us owns electronic devices, imagine if there are 10 people in a room with 10 electronic devices or maybe more could cause radiation which leads to nauseous, headache and fatigue


Uncomfortable acoustics

too loud or to extreme frequencies may cause discomfort and irritability


Poor ergonomics

the discomfort among the worker and the working environment related to tools and procedure, such as the uncomfortable chair, uncomfortable tables, and so on.


So how can a building avoid sick building syndromes?

Even though this is not a symptom of a serious illness, but sick building symptoms occurring in a building could disturb the productivity of the user. There are several ways to avoid SBS, and here are some of the simple tips. - Set the room temperature that is more in line with indoor conditions, this could help reduce the flu and headache symptoms - Position your work area or most frequently visited place in the building facing natural light or a large window area that receives more natural light - Add more plants to the room to help reduce eye fatigue - Routine maintenance checking for clean air con, carpets, working area and other office equipments Double glass panels to maximize the natural lighting and prevent extra heat to enter the room (thermal comfort) - Adherence to building code/regulation related healthy building

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