Sick Building Syndrome.
It’s one of the biggest problems that commercial building owners and managers face. Yet, it’s one of the most commonly overlooked.
Simply because an SBS’s occupants experience health issues and discomfort without apparent reason or identified illness or cause. Because the sickness spreads mostly through the air, and air is something we can’t really see. Hence, it can go unnoticed until people start coughing, sneezing, and having dry, itchy eyes among many other symptoms.
And in many cases, it’s a ventilation problem that causes SBS.
SBS is a huge concern. It’s one that you can’t afford delaying the solutions to. Just to let you know, this widespread ‘disease’ in buildings results in over a yearly loss of over 24 million working days.
So, to help you prevent such disasters, we’ve come up with this list of seven signs pointing out to ventilation issues.
1. Rising Number of Fatigue Complaints
Have you heard more than just a few of your building’s tenants saying how it seems like they can’t wake up? Even after they just had a long sleep and a refreshing jolt of caffeine? Perhaps many of them even feel more than just the usual sleepiness – they feel tired to the bone.
Well, in this case, that wall of fatigue they constantly hit may already point to a growing ventilation problem.
Poor ventilation almost always means poor indoor air quality (IAQ). It’s much like how IAQ affects homes throughout the United Kingdom.
A building that has poor IAQ exposes its occupants to pollutants and contaminants. When inhaled, especially in large doses, these unhealthy air particles can limit the function of the lungs. This then makes oxygen circulation more difficult, leading to symptoms of fatigue.
Those who experience this sign of ventilation issues usually find themselves feeling better once they get out of the building.
2. Headaches that Develop Only Inside the Building
Employees who work in sick buildings also often complain about massive headaches. And like with the symptoms of fatigue, the pain subsides once they leave the work premises. In any case, take this as a sign of ventilation problem in your building.
Sometimes, the culprits are Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). Paint, paint thinners, cleaning solutions, and even some types of carpeting are sources of these hazardous compounds.
Without proper ventilation, VOCs can float around and circulate through the air indoors. Anyone who steps into the building can then inhale them, leading to painful symptoms such as headaches.
3. Runny Nose Even When It’s Not Flu Season
Does it seem that the flu is going around? Do you hear people in the building sniffling non-stop? If so, then that’s another sign you have a ventilation problem.
This is especially true when these people only develop the flu-like symptoms when inside the building.
They’re not allergic to their jobs, but there’s definitely something in the air that makes them appear so.
Poor indoor air quality can trigger allergies and asthma in people who have them. But it can also make people who don’t have these conditions suffer from similar symptoms.
In this case, don’t let your tenants or employees suffer longer. In fact, don’t wait until they serve you with a complaint or even a lawsuit! The sooner you have the ventilation system checked, the sooner everyone gets better again.
4. Dizzy Spells and Nausea Going Around?
Feeling green around the gills whenever in the office? That’s another common sign of a ventilation problem, and one that you should stop ignoring.
Indeed, there are plenty other causes of dizziness and nausea. But if they’ve become more common amongst a building’s tenants, then it’s most likely the indoor air quality to blame.
Poor ventilation, combined with all other pollutants and contaminants that get into the building can make anyone go crazy dizzy.
Remember, fulfilling your property management responsibilities is part of your legal agreement with your tenants. Don’t let get sick or you can face serious penalties from the Government.
5. It Stinks Inside the Building
Horrible smells. Like a cloth that’s been damp for ages. Similar to what smelly socks usually smell like.
Again, these all point to a possible ventilation problem. Musty odors and the feeling of dampness surrounding you are signs you should check the building’s ventilation system.
6. The Dreaded, Disgusting Moulds
Proper ventilation allows fresh air to enter and circulate throughout a building. Without this, condensation rises and mold problems soon follow.
The scary thing about molds is that it takes as little as one to two days for them to start spreading. That’s right. All it takes is a weekend for them to take over many areas of your workplace or commercial building. And the longer you allow them to live, the more difficult it is to get rid of them. Also, don’t think that these microorganisms only thrive in bathrooms and other damp and dark areas. They can survive almost anywhere, eating away at anything organic.
From wood to paper to fabric to cotton, molds can cover them all. And don’t forget about the potential toxic effects of black mold, the most dreaded of its kind.
7. Stuffy, Chest-Tightening Kind of Indoor Environment
People complaining about how “stuffy” the air is or how it seems like they can’t breathe properly indoors? That’s another sign of a ventilation problem.
A malfunctioning ventilation system doesn’t allow adequate amounts of fresh air to enter, so there’s lack of fresh air circulating in the building too. Or, maybe it does let fresh air in but the indoor air quality has gone so bad that it no longer helps.
Whichever the case is for your building, it’s time you have professionals check the ventilation for any problems.
Get That Ventilation Problem Resolved ASAP
As a building owner or manager, you can’t let your property harm its occupants. Not only is it your legal responsibility. It’s the ethical thing to do.
The last thing you want is for people who stay for long hours inside your property get sick. So, before any of these happens, give us a call. We’ll set your ventilation issues straight and make sure everyone breathes in fresh air again.