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Last edited 09 Nov 2020
Building related illness
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.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Building design.
- Building pathology.
- Design quality.
- Designing for employee wellbeing.
- Ergonomics in construction.
- Growing focus on IAQ challenges for specifiers and HVAC manufacturers.
- Health and safety consultant.
- Health effects of indoor air quality on children and young people.
- 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.
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