Healthy Buildings I (Building Construction and Health)

Learn how building construction methods and materials can affect the health of the people who inhabit them, and how to make wiser choices to minimise health risks. Make changes to existing buildings and plan new ones better.

Course Code: BSS200
Fee Code: S2
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment
Get started!

Can Buildings Really Kill People?

To a human-being the walls of a building can be regarded as a third skin (the first is our own skin, the second is our clothing). Most buildings do not breathe like our natural skin and unfortunately in this has been shown to lead to a build-up in radioactive radon gas and reduce the benefits of passive solar energy in spring and autumn. If a building is to be sealed (which most are) then it needs to be well ventilated to remove unhealthy pollutants.

Many buildings contain hazardous materials or substances without the owner's knowledge. Freshly constructed cement homes have high levels of moisture, homes built up to the 1970s contain asbestos cement which is known to be carcinogenic and old piping systems are frequently painted with lead paints. In addition to the household disinfectants, fly sprays, paints, varnishes, and other fumes released from a large range of furnishings and commodities are of no benefit to the occupant's health.

Learn about the health impacts of buildings upon their occupants  

Through this distance learning course in eco-building techniques you can learn how to create a healthy building with the minimum toxicity from the ground up.  This unique course will help you make the right decisions for building a healthy interior environment, whether restoring an existing building or planning a new one.
 
Learn about the skills involved to determine the impact of building construction characteristics upon human health, and to recommend innovations in building design to improve habitability.

The course covers building materials, construction techniques, electrical wiring, temperature & light control, ventilation, plumbing, ergonomics and psychological factors. Perfect for the modern age of home improvement.

 

Lesson Structure

There are 10 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction to the Scope and Nature of Building Biology
    • Building Diseases
    • Environmental Laws
    • Biological Damage and Buildings
    • Environmental Factors
    • What is a Clean Interior
  2. Construction Materials
    • Dangerous Construction 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
    • Roof Gardens
    • Roof Construction
    • Floors
    • Reasons to Choose Different Floors or Floor Coverings
    • Pests in Buildings
    • Dust Mites
    • Fleas
    • Ants
    • Termites, Flies, Mosquitos, 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. Ergonomics
    • Form, Shape and Spatial Dimensions
    • Furniture Design
    • Interior Layout
  10. Psychological Concerns
    • Physical and Psychological Affects of Colour
    • Stress or Calming Environments
    • General Principles for Interior Design

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.


TIMBER PRESERVATIVES

Timber preservatives can be a serious problem for human health; if you use an inappropriate preservative in an inappropriate situation.

Some of these products are relatively safe to use and live with afterwards, particularly if a building is well ventilated and there is no direct contact with the skin. At the other end of the spectrum; there are product which are still widely used in construction, which can give off unnoticeable but potentially toxic fumes for many years after application.

To ensure it lasts though, timber often needs to be treated with preservative; particularly in warmer climates, or if exposed to the weather, and used for outdoor projects. Preservatives not only increase the resistance of the timber to rots and decay, but also to insect attack. As such, the useful life of the timber may be extended.
Some timbers are however more durable for outdoors - you should ensure that you are either using a weather and pest resistant timber; or you have treated it before exposing it to the weather.

Timber preservatives work by either sealing the surface or soaking into the timber, or a combination of both. This discourages fungal rots and insects from feeding on the wood. Preservatives are long lasting, and whilst applying them may be initially more expensive than paints or stains, over the life of the product the cost is justified due to the reduction in maintenance cost and time.
 
Oil-based paints are a popular way to preserve timber without losing the look and texture of the wood. Some oil paints include colouring that can actually enhance the appearance of the timber.  Paint is not as effective as some other timber preservatives, and it will usually be necessary to recoat the wood every few years, or wherever it flakes off. Paint may also be used on treated timbers as an extra layer of security. Stains may be used to give a more natural appearance. They are also easier to touch up.

The main protective liquids are in the form of toxic oils and include bitumen based products such as creosote. These are effective, but they are black, flammable, have an unpleasant odour, and may destroy plant and non-pest insect life they come into contact with.  

Other protective liquids are in the form of water-borne inorganic salts. CCA (chromated copper arsenate) is used to treat pine and other softwoods.  It is made from copper, chromium, and arsenic, and gives timber a characteristic grey-green colour. The arsenic acts as the insect deterrent, the copper fends off fungal attack, and the chromium binds these active ingredients to the cell walls in the timber. Once applied, it should not leach from the timber, however some studies have demonstrated small leakages of arsenic into surrounding soil over a long period of time, and so the use of CCA treated timber is restricted in some countries in residential areas.  CCA treated timber should never be burnt in open fires since it will produce toxic fumes when it combusts.  Other products have become more used because of conserns with CCA. Some of these include ammoniacal copper zinc arsenate (ACZA), various alkaline copper quarternary compounds (ACQs), and copper azole (CuAz).

Various other types of water-borne organic preservatives will also prevent fungal disease. These include copper and zinc napthenate. Most water-borne protectants can be used on interior as well as exterior timbers. 

Preservatives may be applied by brushing, spraying, dipping, or steeping in hot or cold preservative baths until thoroughly soaked. The preservative may be heated to 95° with the timber submersed in it, so that air is forced out of the timber pores. When it is allowed to cool the preservative is sucked into the pores.

Alternatively, preservatives are applied under pressure before the timber is made available for sale. The timber is placed in a cylinder and air is withdrawn to create a vacuum, which forces air out of the timber pores. Hot preservative is then injected under pressure for up to six hours.   
     
If you are using timber preservatives, always be careful.  Wear a mask and gloves, as some of these chemicals can be very toxic. If you cut pre-treated timber in to lengths ready for assembly, coat the cut ends with preservative and allow to dry before use.   

WHO BENEFITS FROM THIS COURSE?

If you or someone in your family have allergies to many chemicals used in the production of buildings and their contents than this course could help you gain a better understanding of the alternatives.

If you would like to build a house that is 'healthy' this course is a great way to learn.

if you are looing to start work in this field as a consultant - this is a great starting point.

 
 
Save
Save
Save
Since 1999 ACS has been a recognised member of IARC (International Approval and Registration Centre). A non-profit quality management organisation servicing education.

ACS Distance Education holds an Educational Membership with the ATA.

ACS is a Member of the Complementary Medicine Association.

ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.

ACS is a Member of the Permaculture Association (membership number 14088).

UK Register of Learning Providers, UK PRN10000112


How can I start this course?

You can enrol at anytime and start the course when you are ready. Enrolments are accepted all year - students can commence study at any time. All study is self paced and ACS does not set assignment deadlines.

Please note that if a student is being assisted by someone else (e.g. an employer or government subsidy), the body offering the assistance may set deadlines. Students in such situations are advised to check with their sponsor prior to enrolling. The nominal duration of a course is approximately how long a course takes to complete. A course with a nominal duration of 100 hours is expected to take roughly 100 hours of study time to complete. However, this will vary from student to student. Short courses (eg. 100 hrs duration) should be completed within 12 months of enrolment. Certificates, Advanced Certificates and Awards (eg. over 500 hours duration) would normally be completed within 3 -5 years of enrolment. Additional fees may apply if a student requires an extended period to complete.
If a student cannot submit their assignments for 6 months to ACS, they should advise the school to avoid cancellation of their student
registration. Recommencement fees may apply.

Simply click on the ENROL OPTIONS button at the top of this screen and follow the prompts.

You can see the course price at the top of this page. Click 'enrolment options' to see any payment options available.

You can pay by Credit Card, PayPal, Afterpay or bank transfer.

Yes! We have payment plans for most courses. Click 'enrolment options' to see the available payment plans.
We also have Afterpay that will allow you to pay for your course or payment plans in four instalments (if you are in Australia).


What do I need to know before I enrol?

There are no entry requirements that you need to meet to enrol in our courses, our courses are for everyone.
If you are under 18, we need written permission from your parent/ guardian for your enrolment to continue, we can arrange that after you have enrolled.

You don’t need to purchase any additional resources to complete our courses.

We aim to teach you the essentials without you having to purchase any specific computer program.
We recommend that you have access to a word processing program, such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs, so that you can easily complete and submit your assignments.

You sure can. We are here to help you learn whatever your abilities.

Yes, if you are enrolling in a Certificate or Advanced Certificate, you might be eligible for credits if you have evidence of your previous studies or relevant experience. More information is here.

We recommend that you are able to browse websites, send emails and conduct online research. You will need to be able to type and submit your assignments.
If you have limited computer skills, we can make special arrangements for you.

This is possible, it depends on the institution. We recommend that if you would like to use our courses that you contact the institution first. Our Course Handbook is a good resource for this.

Our courses are written in English and we only have English speaking academic staff. If you can read and complete your assignments in English, our courses are ideal for you.

Our courses are designed to build knowledge, hands on skills and industry connections to help prepare you to work in the area, running your own business, professional development or as a base for further study.

This course has been designed to cover the fundamentals of the topic. It will take around 100 hours to complete, which includes your course reading, assignment work, research, practical tasks, watching videos and anything else that is contained in the course. Our short courses are a great way to do some professional development or to learn a new skill.

It’s up to you. The study hours listed in the course are a rough guide, however if you were to study a short course (100 hours) at 10 hours per week, you could finish the course in 10 weeks (just an example). Our courses are self-paced, so you can work through the courses in your own time. We recommend that you wait for your tutor to mark and return your assignment before your start your next one, so you get the benefits of their feedback.

The course consists of course notes, videos, set tasks for your practical work, online quizzes, an assignment for each lesson (that you receive feedback from your tutor from) and ends in an exam (which is optional, if would like to receive the formal award at the end), using our custom built Learning Management System - Login.Training.

Our courses are designed for adults to gain professional development and skills to further their careers and start businesses.

Our custom online learning portal allows you to conduct your learning online. There may be practical tasks that you can do offline. You have the option of downloading your course notes or print them to read later.

There is also the option to pay an additional fee for printed course notes and or USB (availability limited to location and deliverability).

Yes, if you don’t have access to the internet, you can receive the course as paper notes or on a USB stick for an additional fee. We can also make alternative arrangements for you to send your assignments to us.

We offer printed notes for an additional fee. Also, you can request your course notes on a USB stick for an additional fee.

Yes, your tutor is here to help you. Simply post any questions you have in your login.training portal or contact the office and we can pass on a message to your tutor.

We are more learning focussed, rather than assessment focussed. You have online quizzes to test your learning, written assignments and can complete an exam at the end of the course (if you want to receive your certificate). You will not receive a pass/ fail on your course work. If you need to add more details on your assignment, we will ask you to resubmit and direct you where you need to focus. If you need help, you can ask your tutor for advice in the student room.

Each module (short course) is completed with one exam.

Exams are optional, however you must sit an exam if you would like to receive a formal award. You will need to find someone who can supervise that you are sitting the exams under exams conditions. There is an additional cost of $55 (AUS) $50 (O/S) for each exam.
More information is here

There are practical components built into the course that have been designed to be achieved by anyone, anywhere. If you are unable to complete a task for any reason, you can ask your tutor for an alternative.

When you complete the course work and the exam and you will be able receive your course certificate- a Statement of Attainment. Otherwise, you can receive a Letter of Completion.

You can bundle the short courses to create your own customised learning bundle, Certificates or Advanced Certificates. More information is on this page.

Yes, our courses are built to be applicable for people living anywhere in any situation. We provide the fundamentals, and each student can apply their own unique flair for their own interests, region and circumstances with the one-on-one guidance of a tutor. There is also a bit of student directed research involved.

Employers value candidates with industry skills, knowledge, practical skills and formal learning. Our courses arm you with all of these things to help prepare you for a job or start your own business. The longer you study the more you will learn.

ACS has an arrangement with OAMPS (formerly AMP) who can arrange Professional Indemnity from Australian and New Zealand graduates across all disciplines. Ph: 1800 222 012 or email acs@oamps.com.au.


Who are ACS Distance Education?

ACS Distance Education have been educating people for over 40 years.

We are established and safe- we have been in education for over 40 years.
We are focused on developing innovative courses that are relevant to you now and what you will need to know in the future.
We are focused on helping you learn and make the most of your experience.
You can enrol at any time, you can work on your course when it suits you and at your own pace.
We are connected to many industry bodies and our staff participate in continuous improvement and learning activities to ensure that we are ahead of what learning is needed for the future.

Our courses are not accredited by the Australian Government. However many of our courses are recognised and held in high regard by many industry bodies.

Our courses are written by our staff, who all have many years experience and have qualifications in their speciality area. We have lots of academic staff who write and update our courses regularly.


How do I enrol my staff/ sponsored students?

Yes, you can do a request for a bulk enrolment and request an invoice on our Invoice Request Form

We can prepare an invoice, quote or proforma invoice. Simply complete your details on our Invoice Request form

We can arrange bulk discounts for your course enrolment, please get in touch with us to discuss your needs.

Yes, we have many students who are in locked facilities, such as prisons or hospitals. We can cater by also offering paper notes at an additional cost.


What if I have any more questions or need more information?

We can assist you to find the right course for your needs. Get in touch with us via email (admin@acs.edu.au) call on +61 7 5562 1088 or complete our course advice form.


What if I change my mind?

Please get in touch with studentservices@acs.edu.au if you would like to be removed from our mail list.

If you would like ACS Distance Education to delete your information at any time (whether you are a customer or a prospective customer), please contact our privacy officer and we will process this ( admin@acs.edu.au ).




Course Contributors

The following academics were involved in the development and/or updating of this course.

Jacinda Cole

Former operations manager for highly reputable Landscape firm, The Chelsea Gardener, before starting her own firm. Jacinda has over 20 years of industry experience in Psychology, Landscaping, Publishing, Writing and Education. Jacinda has a B.Sc., Psych.C





Tutors

Meet some of the tutors that guide the students through this course.

Lachlan Allan

BA (Hons) Business Administration, BEng (Hons) Electrical & Electronic Engineering

Lachlan has experience in the hospitality, banking and utilities sectors in managerial positions in the UK. Following a career change after moving to Australia, he is also experienced in the medical engineering field where he was an engineer responsible for devices at hospital sites and laboratories

Jacinda Cole

B.Sc., Psych.Cert., M. Psych. Cert.Garden Design, MACA

Jacinda has expertise in psychology and horticulture. She holds a BSc (hons) in Psychology and a Masters in Psychology (Clinical) and also trained in psychoanalytic psychotherapy at the London Centre for Psychotherapy. In horticulture she has a Certificate in Garden Design and ran her own landscaping and garden design business for a number of years. Jacinda also has many years experience in course development and educational writing.

Need Help?

Take advantage of our personalised, expert course counselling service to ensure you're making the best course choices for your situation.


I agree for ACS Distance Education to contact me and store my information until I revoke my approval. For more info, view our privacy policy.