- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 12 Jun 2018
Building related illness
To help develop this article, click 'Edit this article' above.
People in industrialised countries spend over 90% of their lives in indoor environments; therefore symptoms and illness related to these environments are common. The term building-related illness (BRI) is used to refer to disorders associated with, and directly caused by, being in and around a building.
BRIs differ from sick building syndrome (SBS) because the causes can be determined, whereas SBS is used as a term to refer to symptoms of acute health and/or comfort effects for which no specific cause can be found but that can be attributed to time spent in a particular building.
BRIs and stresses are caused by a number of factors such as:
- Biological factors.
- Physical factors.
- Chemical factors.
- Organisational and management factors.
- Psychological and psychosomatic factors.
The most common indicators of BRIs include:
- Occupants of a building experience symptoms such as coughing, chest tightness, fever, chills, muscle aches.
- The symptoms can be clinically defined and have clearly identifiable causes.
- After leaving the building, complainants may require prolonged recovery times.
Examples of BRIs include the following:
- Legionella infection.
- Occupational asthma.
- Hypersensitivity pneumonitis.
- Inhalational fever.
- Humidifier fever.
 Find out more
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Building design.
- Building pathology.
- Design quality.
- Ergonomics in construction.
- Health and safety consultant.
- Human comfort in buildings.
- Indoor air quality.
- Indoor environmental quality.
- Noise nuisance.
- Sick building syndrome.
- TG10 2016 At a glance, wellbeing.
- Thermal comfort.
- Thermal comfort and wellbeing.
- The full cost of poor housing.
Featured articles and news
From alabaster to travertine – how many types do you know?
Well-designed lighting helps maintain a healthy physiological and psychological balance.
Transferring the risk for obtaining the target BREEAM rating.
A simple but effective way to determine the root cause of an issue.
BSRIA report suggest the European market will double to 415 million Euros by 2023.
Why a wellbeing strategy is vital for property managers.
An ECA briefing for members about the commercial implications of leaving the EU.
A crucial moment on any project - and fraught with danger.
The performance gap from a Northern Ireland perspective.
Book review: Buildings of protestant nonconformity.
Design and testing for health and wellbeing - free download from BRE.