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.
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.
IMPORTANCE Hospitalist physicians face increasing pressure to maximize productivity, which may undermine the efficiency and quality of care. OBJECTIVE To determine the association between hospitalist workload and the efficiency and quality of inpatient care. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS We conducted a retrospective cohort study of 20 241 admissions of inpatients cared for by a private hospitalist group at a large academic community hospital system between February 1, 2008, and January 31, 2011. EXPOSURES Daily hospitalist workload as measured by relative value units and patient encounters from the hospitalist billing records. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES The main outcomes were length of stay (LOS), cost, rapid response team activation, in-hospital mortality, patient satisfaction, and 30-day readmission rates. Key covariates included hospital occupancy and patient-level characteristics. RESULTS The LOS increased as workload increased, particularly at lower hospital occupancy. For hospital occupancies less than 75%, LOS increased from 5.5 to 7.5 days as workload increased. For occupancies of 75% to 85%, LOS increased exponentially above a daily relative value unit of approximately 25 and a census value of approximately 15. At high occupancy (>85%), LOS was J-shaped, with significant increases at higher ranges of workload. After controlling for LOS, cost increased by $111 for each 1-unit increase in relative value unit and $205 for each 1-unit increase in census across the range of values. Changes in workload were not associated with the remaining outcomes. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE Increasing hospitalist workload is associated with clinically meaningful increases in LOS and cost. Although our findings should be validated in different clinical settings, our results suggest the need for methods to mitigate the potential negative effects of increased hospitalist workload on the efficiency and cost of care.
Integrated Management of Residential Indoor Air Quality: A Call for Stakeholders in a Changing Climate
- International journal of environmental research and public health
- Published almost 2 years ago
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.
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.
Construction is a heavy manual industry where working into later life can be a challenge. An interview study was conducted to explore workers' understanding of their health at work and ways of making their jobs easier, safer or more comfortable. Using purposive sampling, 80 trades' workers were selected from construction sites in the UK. The Nordic Musculoskeletal Questionnaire and Work Ability Index were used to explore aches and pains and reducing strain on the body. A high prevalence of symptoms was reported and ratings of work ability were high. Workers were aware of the physical demands of their work and had over 250 ideas around health and wellbeing e.g. rucksacks for tools, bespoke benches, adapting PPE, and higher cost solutions e.g. mechanical lifting aids. Engagement of the workforce should be encouraged and feed into change processes in the industry to enable all workers stay fit for work for longer.
Perceived Indoor Environment and Occupants' Comfort in European “Modern” Office Buildings: The OFFICAIR Study
- International journal of environmental research and public health
- Published over 3 years ago
Indoor environmental conditions (thermal, noise, light, and indoor air quality) may affect workers' comfort, and consequently their health and well-being, as well as their productivity. This study aimed to assess the relations between perceived indoor environment and occupants' comfort, and to examine the modifying effects of both personal and building characteristics. Within the framework of the European project OFFICAIR, a questionnaire survey was administered to 7441 workers in 167 “modern” office buildings in eight European countries (Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, The Netherlands, Portugal, and Spain). Occupants assessed indoor environmental quality (IEQ) using both crude IEQ items (satisfaction with thermal comfort, noise, light, and indoor air quality), and detailed items related to indoor environmental parameters (e.g., too hot/cold temperature, humid/dry air, noise inside/outside, natural/artificial light, odor) of their office environment. Ordinal logistic regression analyses were performed to assess the relations between perceived IEQ and occupants' comfort. The highest association with occupants' overall comfort was found for “noise”, followed by “air quality”, “light” and “thermal” satisfaction. Analysis of detailed parameters revealed that “noise inside the buildings” was highly associated with occupants' overall comfort. “Layout of the offices” was the next parameter highly associated with overall comfort. The relations between IEQ and comfort differed by personal characteristics (gender, age, and the Effort Reward Imbalance index), and building characteristics (office type and building’s location). Workplace design should take into account both occupant and the building characteristics in order to provide healthier and more comfortable conditions to their occupants.
Fine-scale targeting of interventions is increasingly important where epidemiological disease profiles depict high geographical stratifications. This study verified correlations between household biomass and mosquito house-entry using experimental hut studies, and then demonstrated how geographical foci of mosquito biting risk can be readily identified based on spatial distributions of household occupancies in villages.
The prefabricated cement-based partition wall has been widely used in assembled buildings because of its high manufacturing efficiency, high-quality surface, and simple and convenient construction process. In this paper, a general porous partition wall that is made from cement-based materials was proposed to meet the optimal mechanical and thermal performance during transportation, construction and its service life. The porosity of the proposed partition wall is formed by elliptic-cylinder-type cavities. The finite element method was used to investigate the mechanical and thermal behaviour, which shows that the proposed model has distinct advantages over the current partition wall that is used in the building industry. It is found that, by controlling the eccentricity of the elliptic-cylinder cavities, the proposed wall stiffness can be adjusted to respond to the imposed loads and to improve the thermal performance, which can be used for the optimum design. Finally, design guidance is provided to obtain the optimal mechanical and thermal performance. The proposed model could be used as a promising candidate for partition wall in the building industry.
Residences represent an important site for bioaerosol exposure. We studied bioaerosol concentrations, emissions, and exposures in a single-family residence in northern California with two occupants using real-time instrumentation during two monitoring campaigns (eight weeks during August-October 2016 and five weeks during January-March 2017). Time- and size-resolved fluorescent biological aerosol particles (FBAP) and total airborne particles were measured in real time in the kitchen using an ultraviolet aerodynamic particle sizer (UVAPS). Time resolved occupancy status, household activity data, air-change rates, and spatial distribution of size-resolved particles were also determined throughout the house. Occupant activities strongly influenced indoor FBAP levels. Indoor FBAP concentrations were an order of magnitude higher when the house was occupied than when the house was vacant. Applying an integral material balance approach, geometric mean total FBAP emissions from human activities observed to perturb indoor levels were in the range of 10-50 million particles per event. During the summer and winter campaigns, occupants spent an average of 10 and 8.5 hours per day, respectively, awake and at home. During these hours, the geometric mean daily-averaged FBAP exposure concentration (1-10 micrometer diameter) was similar for each subject at 40 particles/L for summer and 29 particles/L for winter. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.