What is Sick Building Syndrome? And what can you do about it?

Do you sometimes feel sleepy after sitting in the office for a long time? If so, you may be suffering from Sick Building Syndrome. This syndrome is caused by unhealthy air in unhealthy buildings. In this blog you can read more about Sick Building Syndrome, its effects and how to prevent it.

Sick building syndroom

History of the Sick Building Syndrome

After the 1973 oil crisis, energy suddenly became a cost-saving product and people started investing in insulating buildings. Buildings were made airtight and rebuilt to reduce heating costs. These measures had the desired effect: energy costs fell rapidly.

But while the buildings were being insulated, not enough attention was paid to proper ventilation, and over time people developed a variety of complaints.

Official disease

Since the 1980s, the World Health Organisation has recognised Sick Building Syndrome as a real disease. The report stated that 30% of newly built houses and renovated buildings could cause the syndrome.

To this day, the problem has not been solved and many sick buildings still exist.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms of Sick Building Syndrome include irritation of the mucous membranes of the eyes, nose and airways. Red and/or dry skin, itching, fatigue, listlessness, headaches and loss of concentration are also common.

These are rarely isolated cases. They usually affect several people in the same building.

Cause Sick Building Syndrome

Sick Building Syndrome can result from prolonged exposure to an unhealthy building. The cause of the syndrome is therefore often associated with poor climate control and a poorly installed or maintained ventilation system. But the syndrome can also be caused by dust, chemical components of the (building) materials present, moisture and mould.


Sick Building Syndrome can be prevented. In existing buildings, ventilation system maintenance is necessary to ensure that the system remains clean. This will allow the ventilation system to continue doing its job and significantly reduce the likelihood of complaints.

In new buildings, it is important to design the right ventilation system in combination with the right ventilation components. Of course, the way the ventilation system is installed is also important. Finally, regular cleaning is recommended to ensure a healthy indoor environment.

Want to know more?

Want to know more about Sick Building Syndrome or other topics related to healthy indoor environments? Contact us or check out our other blogs.

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