Building pollutants

Hazardous building materials – Identifying, evaluating, and eliminating them

Pollutants are substances that can harm humans and the surrounding environment. Typical building contaminants are asbestos and synthetic mineral fibres, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), volatile pollutants such as wood preservatives and volatile pollutants such as formaldehyde, and as we understand today, biological hazards as well, which result from the presence of mould, bacteria, and pigeon droppings. Materials that are now commonly referred to as pollutants, due to their material properties were once used extensively in the construction of buildings. Over time, the health implications for manufacturers and users became clear, resulting in numerous prohibitions on their production and use. However, many of these products can still be found in existing buildings. Remedial measures are increasingly needed, due to increasing awareness among user and statutory requirements, in state building regulations, for example.

Because of its prevalence, buildings pollutants are almost always an issue when interventions are to be  carried out on the building structure of existing buildings. It makes sense to create  a pollutant register in advance of all future planning. This is the only way to ensure that the measures that follow are not delayed by the "sudden" appearance of pollutants, resulting in incalculably expensive construction work.

The detection of contamination of a building requires comprehensive knowledge and extensive research. Our experts will inspect all accessible areas in the building. From this initial survey, a sampling plan is created that includes component openings and material samples. Perhaps it will be necessary to take contact, impression, or house dust samples as well, and carry out indoor air measurements. All available information about the building since its construction is used as a basis. The samples are analysed in our accredited, in-house testing laboratories for contaminants. The results are evaluated in order to establish the pollutant register. This documentation of the building and the existing contaminants makes it possible for renovation, demolition and disposal methods to be planned, and the relevant tender documents drawn up. Our services are rounded out with supervision of the rehabilitation work and inspection and acceptance of the work once completed.

Odours due to construction materials or furniture items may lead to massive harrasment and impair the utilization of rooms. We measure and evaluate existing odours in the indoor air with the help of indoor limit values.

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