Sick Building Syndrome

Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) is a little-understood phenomenon whereby people who inhabit or work in a building share in a similar set of symptoms.

Symptoms of Sick Building Syndrome

According to the NHS, the following symptoms may be indicative of SBS:

  • headaches, dizziness and nausea 
  • aches and pains
  • fatigue
  • loss of concentration
  • shortness of breath
  • sensitivity to odours
  • eye, nose, skin and throat irritation

Causes of Sick Building Syndrome

No single cause of Sick Building Syndrome has been identified, despite it having been recognized and researched for over forty years.

A long list of risk factors has been collated:

  • poor ventilation
  • low humidity
  • high temperature or changes in temperature throughout the day
  • airborne pollutants, such as dust, carpet fibres or fungal spores
  • chemical pollutants, such as cleaning materials
  • poor standards of cleanliness

Prevention of Sick Building Syndrome

If you, your family or your colleagues share similar symptoms it is important that you contact a health professional.  The effects of Sick Building Syndrome may be avoided or resolved by removing potential environmental causes, but professional advice must be sought.

Home Buyers Surveys are designed to alert buyers to a range of defects and risk factors, including those which may cause Sick Building Syndrome. The Survey suggest measures that should be taken to remove the hazard and protect families from these symptoms. Measures frequently recommended are:

  • Removal of algae and mould
  • Pollutant source removal or modification to storage of sources
  • Replacement of water-stained ceiling tiles, plaster and carpeting