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Healthy Buildings I - Building Construction & Health 100 Hours Certificate Course


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Healthy Buildings I - Building Construction & Health 100 Hours Certificate Course

Price: £325.00Course Code: BSS200
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Healthy Buildings I - Building Construction & Health 100 Hours Certificate Course

Healthy Buildings I - Building Construction & Health. Learn to design optimally effective buildings for life! Develops skills to determine the impact of building construction characteristics upon human health, and to recommend innovations in building design to improve habitability.

It covers building materials, construction techniques, electrical wiring, temperature and light control, ventilation, plumbing, ergonomics, and psychological factors.


Learning Goals:  Healthy Buildings I - Building Construction & Health BSS200
  • To explain the concept of healthy buildings, including its relevance to human health
  • To select building materials which are safe to human health
  • To evaluate the health impact of different building techniques, including construction and design
  • To explain how the way in which services are installed can impact upon the health of people using a building
  • To explain how building design can impact upon the temperature quality of the physical environment inside
  • To explain how building design can impact upon the quality of the physical environment inside with respect to ventilation
  • To explain how building design can impact upon the quality of the physical environment inside with respect to light
  • To explain how building design can impact upon the quality of the physical environment inside with respect to noise
  • To explain ergonomic considerations in building design
  • To explain psychological considerations in building design


Lesson Structure:  Healthy Buildings I - Building Construction & Health BSS200

There are 10 lessons:

1  Introduction To Building Biology

  • Scope and Nature of Building Biology
  • Building Diseases -Chemical, Electrical, Cage, Location
  • Environmental Law
  • Biological Damage to Buildings
  • Environmental Considerations
  • Clean Interiors

2  Building Materials

  • Introduction
  • Dangerous Building Materials
  • Chemical Effects on the Human Body
  • Timber
  • Formaldahyde Adhesives
  • Plastics
  • Masonary and Concrete
  • Insulation Materials
  • Soft Furnishings
  • Paints
  • Timber Treatments, stains, polishes, etc

3  Construction

  • Roofing Materials
  • Roof Gardens
  • Roof Construction
  • Floors
  • Reasons to Choose Different Floors or Floor Coverings
  • Pests in Buildings
  • Dust Mites
  • Fleas
  • Ants
  • Termites, Flies, Mosqiutos, Wasps, Cockroaches, etc
  • Spiders
  • Rodents, Birds, Snakes, etc

4  Services

  • Electricity
  • Electrical Fields
  • Circuits
  • Measuring Electricity and Exposure limits
  • Terminology
  • Power Supply Systems
  • General Waste Disposal
  • Waste Water

5  Temperature

  • Introduction to Heating and Cooling
  • Principles of TemperatureControl
  • Heat Loss
  • Types of Heaters
  • Cooling Effects
  • Air Cleaners, Filtration, Circulation, Air Conditioning
  • Energy Conservation
  • Solar House Design
  • Active and Passive Solar Heating Systems

6  The Internal Environment: Ventilation

  • Scope and Nature
  • Natural Ventilation
  • Mechanical Ventilation
  • Air Conditioning
  • Humidity Management

7  Light

  • Internal Light in Buildings
  • Natural Light
  • Artificial Light
  • Electric Light

8  Acoustics

  • Internal Acoustic Control
  • Improving Internal acoustics
  • Noise Insulation

9  Ergonomic Considerations

  • Scope and Nature of Ergonomics
  • Form, Shape and Spatial Dimensions
  • Furniture Design
  • Interior Layout

10 Psychological Considerations

  • Scope and Nature
  • Physical and Psychological Affects of Colour
  • Stressful or Calming Environments
  • General Principles for Interior Design



  • Explain the concept of building biology, in accordance with the international building biology institute.
  • Explain the history of building biology institutes, in Germany, America, and New Zealand; with relevance to Australia.
  • Explain the current status of bio-harmonic architectural practices in Australia.
    • Assess problems with different dangerous building materials including:
    • Asbestos
    • Plastics
    • Insulation materials
    • Treated pine.
  • Compare characteristics of different commonly used building materials, including:
    • Rate of deterioration
    • Thermal qualities
    • Chemical properties
    • Acoustic qualities
    • Dust collection/repellence
    • Light reflection.
  • Develop a checklist, for evaluating the health impact of different building materials.
  • Evaluate the impact of different building materials on health, in a building inspected by you.
  • Develop a checklist of building design factors, to assess the affect of design on human health.
  • Develop a checklist of building construction factors (other than materials) which may impact upon human health.
  • Explain how design can impact upon different aspects of the internal environment, including:
    • Thermal comfort
    • Light intensity
    • Humidity
    • Condensation
    • Acoustics
    • Control of pests
    • Noise insulation.
  • Study two specific buildings and compare the impact of building techniques, including construction and design, upon human health.
  • Explain the impact of electric fields on human health in a building you inspect.
  • Explain how electrical fields can be minimised by the way in which electric wires are laid in a specific house plan.
  • Compare differences upon the impact on health from different power supplies including:
    • Mains power
    • Self generated systems
    • Different voltages.
  • Compare the potential impact on health, of different waste disposal systems including:
    • Chemical treatments
    • Reed beds
    • Settling ponds
    • Combustion systems
    • Land fill.
  • Explain potential impact of different water supply systems on human health, including:
    • Mains water
    • Ground water
    • Different types of rain water tanks.
  • Explain possible impacts of gas supply systems on human health including:
    • Mains gas
    • Bottle gas
    • Self generated bio gas.
  • Compare the impact of different types of artificial light sources on human health, including:
    • Electric light
    • Combustion systems.
  • Compare the impact of different types of heating systems on human health.
  • List ways temperature can be controlled inside a building by design.
  • Explain health impacts of air conditioning in a building you select and study.
  • List ways acoustics can be controlled, by building design.
  • List ways light can be controlled, through building design.
  • List ways ventilation can be controlled, by building design.
  • Explain solar energy applications in a specified building.
  • Evaluate the impact of the design of a building you select and study on the interior environment.
  • Redesign a building from a specified building plan, to improve the quality of the physical environment inside.
  • Evaluate the heights of three different kitchen benches for ergonomic suitability to the people who are primary users of those benches.
  • Explain the importance of clear and easy access into and through the building for all users, including the disabled.
  • Explain health aspects of the relationship between the human body and the interior of a specific building.
  • Explain the affect that four different colours may have on human health.
  • Explain the affect of space perceptions may have on human health, in a visited interior workplace.
  • Evaluate the psychological impact of the interior environment in two distinctly different offices, upon the people who work in each of those offices.


Excerpt From The Course


People are more comfortable and less physically stressed in an environment where the temperature is neither too hot nor too cold. Temperature regulation is in fact one of the main reasons why we create and inhabit buildings.

There are two obvious ways to control temperature in a building:

  • One is to seal it off from the outside world
  • The other is to heat up or cool down the inside as required.

Sealing the inside of a building however can have serious negative side effects: oxygen levels drop and the quality of air we breathe is not as good.

If a building is to remain a healthy environment, and temperature regulated at the same time; you should try to avoid sealing the building. Always try to maintain ventilation. This is covered in more detail in the following lesson.



Principles of Temperature Control

  • Supply heat at the same rate it is lost to maintain temperature (To minimise heat loss, reduces need for heating). Heat is lost by conduction (through walls & roof), infiltration (warm air being lost from house) and radiation (heat radiating from warm objects inside the house)
  • Central heating system is more efficient than localised heaters
  • Localised heaters are cheap to purchase but more expensive to run
  • Emergency heaters (back ups) are desirable
  • Air circulation and distribution of heat source points is critical to even temperature control
  • Air fans to distribute hot air are sometimes used.
  • Thermostat should be at height & approx positioning to reflect the temperature where the occupants of the building are to be found
  • Heat requirement is reduced by installing sound insulating principles during the design process.
  • Cooling is affected by: opening doors & vents; exhaust fans; evaporative coolers
  • Exhaust fan placement is important when walls are less than 15ft apart, fans in adjacent walls should alternate should not be opposite.

Temperature can be controlled in buildings in several ways:

  • The sun will warm the building during the day. This effect varies according to the time of year, time of day and the weather conditions that day. The way the building is built and the materials used in construction will also influence the building's ability to catch heat from the sun, and hold that heat.
  • Heaters can be used to add to the heat in a building. The heater must have the ability to replace heat at the same rate at which it is being lost to the outside.
  • Vents and Doors can be opened to let cool air into the building, or closed to stop warm air from escaping.
  • Insulation can be installed to give greater control over temperature loss and retention.
  • Coolers (blowers etc) can be used to lower temperature.
  • Exhaust fans can be used to lower temperature.



The use of passive solar design is maximised by efficient engineering and architectural design practices. By the use of orientation, ventilation, thermal mass, insulation and glazing/shading we can design for heating, cooling, storing and control of temperature.  Not only does this make our houses more comfortable, but it can dramatically reduce our power requirements.  In fact it is recommended that before installing any alternative energy systems it is best to first consider what use can be made of passive solar energy and design principles to minimise our energy needs.

When considering passive solar design for a house or any particular building, it must be taken in context with the immediate surrounds and the general climate of the location.  For example, features installed for a house in Canada would differ greatly that for one in Asia.

Solar Design Principles

  • Orient the building with the longest side running east to west.
  • In cold climates there should be as much window as possible on the north facing wall (in the southern hemisphere) /south facing wall (northern hemisphere) so as to catch the sunlight. There should be minimum windows on the other three sides.  Obviously in hot climates this would be inappropriate.
  • Insulation in the walls and roof will prevent heat loss in winter and heat gain in summer.
  • To gain the best affect cover windows with either close woven curtains or close fitting blinds enclosed at the top by pelmets.
  • Use deciduous trees to shade north facing (southern hemisphere)/ south facing (northern hemisphere) windows in summer.
  • Eves and outside blinds can aid shading of windows in summer when the sun is higher in the sky.
  • Drafts should be minimised by weather stripping. Heat loss through outside doors can be minimised by using air lock/ entry rooms.

Solar Space Heating and Cooling

Whether a building needs heating or cooling will depend upon its location and use.  In cool climates heating can be achieved by:

  • solar heating combined with thermal mass to prevent overheating and to store heat for release in the evenings. For example, glass that faces north, well sized eaves and slab floors to act as thermal mass can all be incorporated.
  • trombe walls utilise a system of having a glass window on the outside of a solid masonry wall the sun heats the wall during the day from which heat is released during the evening, and warmed air (from the cavity between glass and masonry) is circulated into the building.

In warm climates cooling can be achieved by:

  • a raised and vented section of the roof can act as a chimney for heated air to rise and escape.
  • solar powered fans
  • shutters
  • insulation
  • wide verandas shade windows and walls

Passive Solar Design

Passive solar heating can be achieved first in the design process of a building by consideration of the latitude, the sun’s elevation and the site.

Building orientation: dependent upon hemisphere, building orientation is best aligned in a north/south alignment to maximise the incoming solar energy as required.  Rooms that are most frequently used/heated should be aligned on the sun side (south in northern hemisphere, north in southern hemisphere.

Awnings/Windows/Skylights:  By careful placement of awnings, it is possible to allow winter sunlight to enter the rooms thus providing free heating and to then block the summer room to prevent unwanted heating.  This also applies to window and skylight placement.  Appropriate placement of deciduous trees which lose their leaves in winter but provide summer shade is also highly recommended and can reduce up to approximately 20% of heating and cooling costs.  Glazing can also greatly affect heat loss through windows, as will window shape, placement and control over windows.

Thermal Mass:  Thermal mass assists in maintaining a constant temperature inside a building by the ability of certain materials to absorb, store and then release heat.  This ability generally increases with material weight.  For example: mud brick, rock and bricks have a high thermal mass than timber cladding. Note that poor use of thermal mass can exaggerate the worst temperature fluctuations in the building, it must be used with care and in combination with other features.  It can work very effectively in locations with a large variation between day and night temperatures.  Basically for thermal mass to work well it needs to be exposed to solar radiation during winter where it will absorb the heat and later release it keeping the building warm, during summer it needs to be shaded from incoming solar energy thus keeping the mass cool, this can be achieved by use of awnings, overhanging roof and shade trees.

Water has the highest thermal mass followed by concrete, sandstone, compresses earth blocks and rammed earth.

Heating using Fuel Sources

Once consideration to minimising heat loss and maximising use of solar heating opportunities, attention can also be given to the best fuel source for heating.

Options include gas, coal, oil, grid electricity, wood and bio-fuels.


Course Info
How Do Our Tuition Fees Compare?
Course StartBegin your course at anytime.
Course Prerequisite None - Our course levels are an indication of the depth of learning you should receive. They do not describe the level of difficulty.
Course Qualification (Study Option A)Endorsed Qualification from TQUK - Training Qualifications UK, an Ofqual Approved Awarding Organisation - Completed written assignments, plus final exam (N.B. Some courses have Final Project alternative).
Course Qualification (Study Option B)Certificate of Attainment from ADL - Completed written assignments only - no final exam.
Comparative Credits InformationUK Course Credits: 10 - U.S. Credit Hours: 3 - when compared to regulated courses.
Course Duration and Deadlines100 hours approx. Course hours given are a guide only. Work at your own pace with no assignment deadlines or completion date. You are in control!
Study SupportPersonal tutor/mentor support from industry relevant professionals throughout your whole course. Mentors are contactable by e-mail, telephone and through the online classroom. They provide assistance with your course material, plus discuss, explain and give advice when needed.
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