Understanding Building Biology

“Building Biology deals with the study of living organisms in and around the building environment which have direct or indirect effect on the health of the building fabric, its materials, structures, environments and occupants.” Jagjit Singh (1993)

Understanding building biology

Building biology is the study of the relationship between buildings and life. While it considers the connection between people and buildings and between buildings and the environment, it is more specifically concerned with the impact of the built environment on human health and the use of this knowledge to create healthier homes and workplaces.

The primary concern of building biologists is the health and well-being of building occupants. We see your home or workplace as your “third skin” – ideally, a breathable, flexible structure that not only provides shelter, but also supports the health of your body, mind and spirit.

We are guided by principles which advocate:

  • building in a quiet, non-toxic environment
  • building on a site which receives abundant natural light and is not subjected to adverse effects of man-made electromagnetic radiation or negative earth energies
  • using building materials that are non-toxic, breathable and naturally regulate indoor humidity
  • minimising electromagnetic fields from electrical wiring and appliances
  • using natural light and radiant heat as much as possible
  • optimising indoor air temperature
  • ensuring adequate ventilation
  • providing the best possible quality of drinking water
  • producing, using and disposing of materials in ways that are as inexpensive as possible and have minimum impact on the environment


The application of these principles can result in an energy-efficient building with minimum exposure to the causes of illness commonly known as “sick building syndrome”.

A building biologist can work with you in designing a new dwelling, in planning changes to an existing structure or in determining changes to the use of space or products inside a building.

Building biology safety standards

Building biologists believe that if both short and long term exposure to either a product or a particular level of electromagnetic radiation cannot be proven to be safe, then it should be prudently avoided.

Our recommended safe exposure levels for electromagnetic fields and radio frequencies are therefore below the point at which cells begin to demonstrate abnormal behaviour. As such, they are significantly less than those of other authorities which consider the level at which a person experiences immediate adverse effects.

Source: buildingwellness.com.au


Building Biology has been practised in Europe since the early 1970’s but is relatively new and underutilised in Australia.

Building biology, bio-house design, biological architecture and ecological building all refer to the construction of a building along lines of more natural, renewable resources and health of the occupants. In other words buildings become more people-friendly. It aims to establish a balance between technology, culture and biology.

Building biology is an emerging and rapidly developing field that explores the health hazards in the built environment from indoor air quality issues like chemicals in building materials and household products, to particulates, allergens (house dust mites, moulds and pollens) and electromagnetic fields. The extensive practical and theoretical training enable graduates to work as building biologists conducting audits in electromagnetic fields, allergens, drinking water, chemical, gas and particulate sampling in addition to providing advice to build healthier homes.

Source: aces.edu.au


A qualified Building Biologists who will be able to provide Building Biology services, including:

Air sampling

  • Indoor air quality assessment– A building biologist can test for Volatile Organic Compounds, various gases, dust and other particulates, as well as microbes such as mould and bacteria.
  • Building design– A building biologist will work with your architect / draftsperson to design a home that supports the health and the wellbeing of the family.

In particularly they will provide advice regarding the choice of healthy building materials that don’t adversely affect the indoor air quality or electro climate of the home.

Complete building biology consultation

  • EMF testing– Whether you are concerned about high voltage power lines, substations, the solar inverter, smart meter or the radiation from telecommunications (mobile phone tower, Wi-Fi, baby monitor, cordless phones, mobile phone..), a building biologist will measure what you are being exposed to and more importantly, provide realistic solutions on how to reduce your exposure.
  • Geomancy– We are all exposed to natural background radiation from the earth. This terrestrial radiation can be positive (the earth’s magnetic field and the sun) or negative (geopathic stress).

Sleeping above geopathic stress arising from exposure to fault lines, ley lines, geomagnetic lines and underground water courses may cause insomnia, fatigue, autoimmune disorders and in some cases, increase one’s susceptibility to cancer. A building biologist will assess your home and provide realistic solutions to address any concerns found.

  • Going green
  • Green and non-toxic products
  • Healthy and green building materials
  • Lighting
  • Mould inspection– A mould audit can be achieved in two ways:

Assess the level of moisture in a building material using a protimeter (this is the cheapest option however it won’t determine the type or prevalence of microbes in the air) OR Conduct air sampling to determine the type and prevalence of bacteria and/or mould in a room. The latter requires laboratory analysis which is a complicated procedure that requires highly technical equipment.

  • Pre-purchase/lease inspections
  • Radio frequency/phone tower testing and shielding
  • Water filters

Source: asbb.org.au