New York Construction Projects in Occupied Buildings and Indoor Environmental Quality Concerns
New York City and the surrounding area have some of the most valuable and high-density real estate in the country. As these properties age, or are reconditioned for new uses, construction and remodeling activities bring new life and economic value to these residential, commercial, and institutional buildings.
Often times, these construction activities take place while parts of the property are still occupied. Unfortunately, all too often, these types of projects in an occupied home or building can lead to a wide range of indoor environmental quality (IEQ) concerns and even potential health issues. This is due in part to the fact that construction and renovation projects can release airborne particulates, biological contaminants, and gases.
Particulate material, such as dusts and fibers, are likely to be produced during construction and renovation activities, reports the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). The agency also shares that nontoxic dusts are irritants and can exacerbate lung conditions such as asthma and chronic obstructive lung disease. Materials that contain fibers, such as fiberglass composite materials or insulation, can irritate the skin, eyes, and respiratory tract when disbursed into the air. Toxic dusts containing asbestos, PCBs, or lead can cause serious long-term health effects.
“Buildings that have suffered water damage are also likely to have mold growth that can be aerosolized and spread throughout a property if the proper safety precautions have not been put in place,” said Michael Berrevoets, President, VOETS, LLC. “Even the uncontrolled disturbance of bird or rodent droppings could spread potentially allergenic or infectious dust. These are all reasons why construction activities in occupied buildings create unique challenges that require the expertise of experienced building science professionals.”
Providing indoor environmental quality services in New York City and the tri-state area are the experts at VOETS who specialize in testing, monitoring, and consulting. Their services help to prevent, identify, and mitigate exposure hazards to protect building occupants and workers. They also recently sponsored an educational video about IEQ in occupied buildings undergoing construction activities that can be seen at: https://youtu.be/jlprrODJSbA