Construction professionals must keep air quality in mind during projects to minimize the environmental impact of the work itself and ensure the final structure is as free of pollutants as possible. This multi-tiered approach to maintaining air quality requires construction professionals to carefully manage everyday operations to protect the environment and ensure that missteps in the project don’t lead to air quality issues later down the line.
Limiting pollution around the construction site
A construction project can have a significant adverse impact on air quality in the community around it. Major issues like fumes from harmful chemicals are certainly present here, and there are plenty of chemicals commonly used in construction that must be handled with care. However, dust may actually be the invisible problem when it comes to air quality. A report from Sustainable Build explained that dust from construction sites – such as sand, cement, sawdust and disrupted soil – can get into the air as particulate matter that is inhaled into the lung. Exposure to this kind of dust can eventually lead to a variety of poor health conditions, including lung cancer.
The news source explained that construction teams can reduce their negative impact on air quality by moistening soil and other powdery materials so they release less dust when used on projects. Covering trucks carrying raw materials, leaving vegetation in place as much as possible and even screening the site are also viable options.
Preventing future problems
Poor construction processes can also lead to long-term air quality problems at a job site. A report from the Environmental Protection Agency explained that such construction issues as failing to clean up spilled adhesive materials or not allowing for proper ventilation when applying sealant in an occupied building can cause harmful fumes to enter a structure. In some cases, this will impact those immediately in the building during or after construction, but it is also possible for moisture left during construction to cause mold and mildew problems later down the line.
Taking air quality seriously
The two distinct sides of the air quality challenge create a situation in which construction professionals must be incredibly careful to ensure they understand all potential risks and follow best practices at every opportunity. Continuing education for construction teams can help builders stay ahead of potential risks and avoid air quality problems that eventually contribute to safety and environmental issues.