What is a Healthy Building Inspector?
1. Overview of the Topic – Summary:
The concept of a Healthy Building Inspector is to approach the inspection of a building in terms of occupant Health, and to test the structure with specific intention focused on human health and issues that might negatively impact health.
From Wikipedia: A building inspection is an inspection performed by a building inspector, a person who is employed by either a city, township or county and is usually certified in one or more disciplines qualifying them to make professional judgment about whether a building meets building code requirements.
This definition from Wikipedia defines the process that follows the “building code requirements”, yet most building codes focus on the structural integrity of the building, and not on health issues. There are some building inspections that have overlap related to health, such as testing for lead or mold, yet most of the tests are based on the functionality of the building and ensuring that it has structural and functional integrity of its systems.
2. What is the focus of this Topic?:
The Healthy Building Inspector is to provide a building inspection that will focus on the current and potential health issues in the building. By working directly with Doctors and Health professionals, they can provide another level of evaluation for the clinician, and provide information via reports on built environment situations that can cause illness or health issues of the occupants.
From Wikipedia: An inspection is, most generally, an organized examination or formal evaluation exercise. In engineering activities inspection involves the measurements, tests, and gauges applied to certain characteristics in regard to an object or activity. The results are usually compared to specified requirements and standards for determining whether the item or activity is in line with these targets, often with a Standard Inspection Procedure in place to ensure consistent checking.
The Healthy Building Inspector takes this standard inspection process a step further, and utilizing standards based on health, the inspector can evaluate built environment issues that may be causing health issues or illness and report these findings to the clinician and health professionals.
3. Why it’s listed here – What is the relevance to Architectural Medicine?
As listed above, there are many building inspections that have some overlap of the building’s structural integrity and the health of the occupant, yet that is often not the main focus of a building inspector. Therefore, in order to have a direct focus on the health of the occupants, the concept of a Healthy Building Inspector is to provide an inspection that is focused on health issues.
A key component to Architectural Medicine is to integrate the fields of Architecture and Medicine, with a focus on the Doctor reviewing the built environment for health issues, and the Architect able to support solutions in the creation of new and existing structures where health issues are found.
The Healthy Building Inspector is therefore a liaison to help connect these fields, and to provide information about a patient’s built environment, which can allow the Doctor to include this important component in their evaluation, and to help provide solutions for their patient’s ailments.
4. Common groups and individuals involved with this topic:
While there are some Building Inspectors that offer advanced inspections or who focus on what can sometimes be called an Environmental Inspection, there is currently very few who offer such services particularly related to health.
As such, Architectural Medicine is working to co-create this field of professionals in order to provide such solutions. This process includes information, education and supportive systems in order to facilitate this integrative process.
The ideal would be to have inspectors trained specifically to evaluate buildings for health issues, and to then have a direct connection and working relationship with the Medical professionals. They would essentially be part of the “laboratory team” to provide analysis of the built environment, in a similar way that a medical laboratory scientist (MLS), radiologist and other laboratory professionals work with the Medical profession.
They would also provide a critical role for the Architects and Building professionals in supporting solutions, and offer services for follow up inspections. They would also work with and Architectural Doctor to provide support in the overall process of creating healthier built environments.
- Architectural Medicine book – forthcoming in 2020