Friday, November 12, 2010

Healthy Building

Ub Post
November 12, 2010

It has been many years since special inspection is carried to determine if building materials used in buildings are friendly to health of people or not and decisive actions are taken if hazardous materials were used, including demolition and building a new one.

Law provisions are in place to forbid the use of certain type of materials for building and any infringement of them is fined at the rate that would be never forgotten. Unfortunately this is the practice happening not in Mongolia but beyond our country. In Mongolia, the issue concerning the health impact of building is discussed now and again.

The authorities pass one or two regulations, but these regulations last effective for “three days” only like other regulations do.

There should be a mechanism to keep this problem under regular control to ensure that health and interest of citizens are protected continuously. It can be considered for the following example.

Many countries require that all materials should be filled with casting in order to apply polystyrol. In some countries, polystyrol is forbidden for use in building.

Few years ago in Russia, a fire in a night club left many young people died. Main reason was the roofing of this night club was made of polystyrol. Though the roofing was covered with inflammable material, the polystyrol that easily ignites to fire has melted and leaked through roofing.

This type of material is extremely hazardous and burns generating black thick smoke, which leads to instant death. Even in its normal condition, this material generates poisonous gas, affecting the kidney and even a fresh embryo in abdomen. Currently, all building insulations made of this material have been removed from buildings in Moscow.

On the contrary, this material is widely used for insulation in new buildings in Ulaanbaatar City and no one talks about if it meets health requirements. If there would be a fire, it is almost not possible to extinguish and it melts instantly and generates asphyxiants. The application of asbestos for construction caused the death of many people after suffering from lung and laws forbidding the use of all materials containing this material have been passed in many countries.

But we still use this and in recent years boards containing asbestos is beiong sold in local markets. In addition, slate or roofing material is made of asbestos and is being imported from Russia and China.

Generally as building requirements got stronger in our two neighbors, it tends that ready-to-use materials pushed out of markets of China and Russia are being brought to Mongolia at cheap price. Though the flooring of new buildings is made of parquet wood, the polish used to protect the parquet wood is in the list of hazardous materials.
The composition of polish includes toloul and ksylol and these substances causes skin irritation and affects central nervous system of humanbeing. It also needs to check what type of polish and paint is used for internal covering of building wall.

Moreover, all building materials made of ashes from power plant contains radioactive substances and may cause cancer if penetrates into lung. Thus, certain criterion is put against the production of building plates using ashes from power plant.

Originally, all building materials must have three licenses including of building, of fire and of hygiene. Both purchaser and contractor must be firstly responsible for making sure that all materials meet minimum health requirements and standards of the country. In Mongolia, every building company is responsible for whole process of ordering, selling and controlling the building, on its own. The government or professional inspection body is responsible for protecting the interest of consumers, but they don’t have technical capability to provide regular control over all building projects.

As result, buyers or owners of the building have not choice but dealing with the building company in the process of utilization if there is any problem with the quality as there is no institution solely responsible for any defects and quality-related problems. After all, buyers will have no individual or no organization to deal with their problem because the building company would also disappear as if never existed.

Some apartment owners cannot even get a certificate to verify that they are real owners indeed. Originally, purchaser and executor of the building must be separate organizations, which should enable complete and efficient control over the quality of building during whole process of construction work and which will force the purchaser to take care of the quality seriously.

According to a survey, more than 80 percent of all building materials use home is imported only from China, which demonstrates that it is time to focus on hygienic safety of buildings. In Japan, each room of a building is thoroughly inspected against air composition after the completion of building work and dwelling is only allowed after ensuring that there is no hazard or threat to human health.

Japanese people must dwell only in those buildings certified as “healthy building”. In Mongolia, it seems like is does not make any difference for the government if Mongolian man lives in healthy building or not. What if we begin to issue a certificate “healthy building” in Ulaanbaatar City?

Translated by P.Shinebayar

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