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Concept: Fire protection


myGenomeBrowser is a web-based environment that provides biologists with a way to build, query and share their genome browsers. This tool, that builds on JBrowse, is designed to give users more autonomy while simplifying and minimizing intervention from system administrators. We have extended genome browser basic features to allow users to query, analyze and share their data.

Concepts: World Wide Web, Web browser, Building, Fire protection, Architectural engineering


Vacant and abandoned buildings pose significant challenges to the health and safety of communities. In 2011 the City of Philadelphia began enforcing a Doors and Windows Ordinance that required property owners of abandoned buildings to install working doors and windows in all structural openings or face significant fines. We tested the effects of the new ordinance on the occurrence of crime surrounding abandoned buildings from January 2011 to April 2013 using a difference-in-differences approach. We used Poisson regression models to compare differences in pre- and post-treatment measures of crime for buildings that were remediated as a result of the ordinance (n = 676) or permitted for renovation (n = 241), and randomly-matched control buildings that were not remediated (n = 676) or permitted for renovation (n = 964), while also controlling for sociodemographic and other confounders measured around each building. Building remediations were significantly associated with citywide reductions in overall crimes, total assaults, gun assaults and nuisance crimes (p <0.001). Building remediations were also significantly associated with reductions in violent gun crimes in one city section (p <0.01). At the same time, some significant increases were seen in narcotics sales and possession and property crimes around remediated buildings (p <0.001). Building renovation permits were significantly associated with reductions in all crime classifications across multiple city sections (p <0.001). We found no significant spatial displacement effects. Doors and windows remediation offers a relatively low-cost method of reducing certain crimes in and around abandoned buildings. Cities with an abundance of decaying and abandoned housing stock might consider some form of this structural change to their built environments as one strategy to enhance public safety.

Concepts: Regression analysis, City, Crime, Occupational safety and health, Police, Building, Fire protection, Occupancy


The construction industry is one of the biggest and most active sectors of the European Union (EU), consuming more raw materials and energy than any other economic activity. Furthermore, construction waste is the commonest waste produced in the EU. Current EU legislation sets out to implement construction and demolition waste (CDW) prevention and recycling measures. However it lacks tools to accelerate the development of a sector as bound by tradition as the building industry. The main objective of the present study was to determine indicators to estimate the amount of CDW generated on site both globally and by waste stream. CDW generation was estimated for six specific sectors: new residential construction, new non-residential construction, residential demolition, non-residential demolition, residential refurbishment, and non-residential refurbishment. The data needed to develop the indicators was collected through an exhaustive survey of previous international studies. The indicators determined suggest that the average composition of waste generated on site is mostly concrete and ceramic materials. Specifically for new residential and new non-residential construction the production of concrete waste in buildings with a reinforced concrete structure lies between 17.8 and 32.9 kg m(-2) and between 18.3 and 40.1 kg m(-2), respectively. For the residential and non-residential demolition sectors the production of this waste stream in buildings with a reinforced concrete structure varies from 492 to 840 kg m(-2) and from 401 to 768 kg/m(-2), respectively. For the residential and non-residential refurbishment sectors the production of concrete waste in buildings lies between 18.9 and 45.9 kg/m(-2) and between 18.9 and 191.2 kg/m(-2), respectively.

Concepts: European Union, Construction, Building, Waste, Fire protection, Occupancy, Reinforced concrete, Demolition waste


Theranostic nanoplatforms with integrated diagnostic and therapeutic functions, aiming at imaging-guided therapy to improve treatment planning, as well as combination therapy to enhance treatment efficacy, have received tremendous attention in recent years. Among numerous types of functional nanomaterials explored in this field, protein-based nanocarriers with inherent biocompatibility have also been selected as building blocks to construct multifunctional theranostic platforms. In particular, albumin, which has been extensively used as drug-delivery carriers for decades, has shown great new promise in the construction of novel imaging and therapeutic nanoagents, as demonstrated by a number of recent studies. IHere, the motivations of using albumins to build up nanoscale theranostics are discussed, and the latest progress/future perspectives in this direction are summarized.

Concepts: Therapy, Albumin, Efficacy, Construction, Building, Fire protection, Theranostics, Computing platform


The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and NHS Tayside piloted partnership working. A Community Fire Safety Link Worker provided Risk Assessments to adults, identified by community health teams, at high risk of fires, with the aim of reducing fires. An existing evaluation shows the Service developed a culture of ‘high trust’ between partners and had high client satisfaction. This paper reports on an economic evaluation of the costs and benefits of the Link Worker role.

Concepts: Evaluation methods, Developed country, Economics, English-language films, The Link REIT, Fire protection, NHS Tayside


Many ailments can be linked to exposure to indoor airborne fungus. However, obtaining a precise measurement of airborne fungal levels is complicated partly due to indoor air fluctuations and non-standardized techniques. Electrostatic dust collector (EDC) sampling devices have been used to measure a wide range of airborne analytes, including endotoxins, allergens, β-glucans, and microbial DNA in various indoor environments. In contrast, viable mold contamination has only been assessed in highly contaminated environments such as farms and archive buildings. This study aimed to assess the use of EDCs, compared with repeated air-impactor measurements, to assess airborne viable fungal flora in moderately contaminated indoor environments. Indoor airborne fungal flora was cultured from EDCs and daily air-impaction samples collected in an office building and a daycare center. The quantitative fungal measurements obtained using a single EDC significantly correlated with the cumulative measurement of nine daily air impactions. Both methods enabled the assessment of fungal exposure, although a few differences were observed between the detected fungal species and the relative quantity of each species. EDCs were also used over a 32-month period to monitor indoor airborne fungal flora in a hospital office building, which enabled us to assess the impact of outdoor events (e.g. ground excavations) on the fungal flora levels on the indoor environment. In conclusion, EDC-based measurements provided a relatively accurate profile of the viable airborne flora present during a sampling period. In particular, EDCs provided a more representative assessment of fungal levels compared with single air-impactor sampling. The EDC technique is also simpler than performing repetitive air-impaction measures over the course of several consecutive days. EDC is a versatile tool for collecting airborne samples and was efficient for measuring mold levels in indoor environments.

Concepts: Fungus, Measurement, Assessment, Psychometrics, Accuracy and precision, Quantity, Building, Fire protection


In recent years there has been an increasing tendency to recycle the wastes generated by building companies in the construction industry, demolition wastes being the most important in terms of volume. The aim of this work is to study the possibility of using recycled aggregates from construction and demolition wastes in the preparation of precast non-structural concretes. To that purpose, two different percentages (15% and 30%) of natural aggregates were substituted by recycled aggregates in the manufacture of paving blocks and hollow tiles. Dosages used by the company have not been changed by the introduction of recycled aggregate. Precast elements have been tested by means of compressive and flexural strength, water absorption, density, abrasion, and slipping resistance. The results obtained show the possibility of using these wastes at an industrial scale, satisfying the requirements of the Spanish standards for these elements.

Concepts: Waste management, Recycling, Construction, Construction aggregate, Building, Waste, Fire protection, Concrete


A paradigm change in the management of environmental health issues has been observed in recent years: instead of managing specific risks individually, a holistic vision of environmental problems would assure sustainable solutions. However, concrete actions that could help translate these recommendations into interventions are lacking. This review presents the relevance of using an integrated indoor air quality management approach to ensure occupant health and comfort. At the nexus of three basic concepts (reducing contaminants at the source, improving ventilation, and, when relevant, purifying the indoor air), this approach can help maintain and improve indoor air quality and limit exposure to several contaminants. Its application is particularly relevant in a climate change context since the evolving outdoor conditions have to be taken into account during building construction and renovation. The measures presented through this approach target public health players, building managers, owners, occupants, and professionals involved in building design, construction, renovation, and maintenance. The findings of this review will help the various stakeholders initiate a strategic reflection on the importance of indoor air quality and climate change issues for existing and future buildings. Several new avenues and recommendations are presented to set the path for future research activities.

Concepts: Management, Project management, Indoor air quality, Construction, Building, Fire protection, Occupancy, Building engineering


The abundance of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) found in homes depends on many factors such as emissions, ventilation and the oxidative environment and these are evolving over time, reflecting changes in chemical use, behaviour and building design/materials. The concentrations of VOCs in 25 UK homes of varying ages, design and occupancy were quantified using continuous indoor air sampling over five days. Air was collected through low flow (1 mL min(-1)) constant flow restrictors into evacuated 6 L internally silica-treated canisters until the canisters reached atmospheric pressure. This was followed by thermal desorption-gas chromatography and high mass accuracy time-of-flight mass spectrometry (TD-GC-TOF/MS). A fully quantitative analysis was performed on the eight most abundant hydrocarbon-based VOCs found. Despite differences in building characteristics and occupant numbers 94% of the homes had d-limonene or α-pinene as the most abundant VOCs. The variability seen across the 25 homes in concentrations of monoterpenes indoors was considerably greater than that of species such as isoprene, benzene, toluene and xylenes. The variance in VOCs indoors appeared to be strongly influenced by occupant activities such as cleaning with 5-day average concentrations of d-limonene ranging from 18 μg m(-3) to over 1400 μg m(-3), a peak domestic value that is possibly the highest yet reported in the literature.

Concepts: Mass spectrometry, Gasoline, Volatile organic compound, Time-of-flight, Building, Volatile, Fire protection, Occupancy


It has not yet been possible to quantify dose-related health risks attributable to indoor dampness or mold (D/M), to support the setting of health-related limits for D/M. An overlooked target for assessing D/M is moisture in building materials, the critical factor allowing microbial growth. A search for studies of quantified building moisture and occupant health effects identified three eligible studies. Two studies assessed associations between measured wall moisture content and respiratory health in the UK. Both reported dose-related increases in asthma exacerbation with higher measured moisture, with one study reporting an adjusted odds ratio (OR) of 7.0 for night-time asthma symptoms with higher bedroom moisture. The third study assessed relationships between infrared camera-determined wall moisture and atopic dermatitis in South Korea, reporting an adjusted OR of 14.5 for water-damaged homes and moderate or severe atopic dermatitis. Measuring building moisture has, despite extremely limited available findings, potential promise for detecting unhealthy D/M in homes and merits more research attention. Further research to validate these findings should include measured “water activity,” which directly assesses moisture availability for microbial growth. Ultimately, evidence-based, health-related thresholds for building moisture, across specific materials and measurement devices, could better guide assessment and remediation of D/M in buildings. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Concepts: Asthma, Water, Measurement, Building, Copyright, Fire protection, Atopic dermatitis, Water content