What is Building Biology?

Sep 6, 2016 | News

Guest Blog by Building Biologist, Triin-Liis Harma


I’m a Building biologist…

What does ‘Biology’ have to do with ‘building’? I hear ask…

The answer is… If you care for your health…. Everything!

We all know that we have to look after our first skin.. keep it healthy!

We also know that we need a proper layer of second skin… Clothes, to keep us warm or cool.

Building biology considers a building as a third skin and to keep us healthy, happy and thriving, we must take care of the buildings we live and work in.

After all we spend 90% of our lives indoors!

By definition Building Biology is “ a field of building science investigating the indoor living environment for a variety of irritants”.

A Building biologist’s role is described as follows: “Practitioners study how the environment of residential, commercial and public buildings can affect the health of the occupants, producing a restful or stressful environment. Important areas of building biology are building materials and processes, electromagnetic fields, radiation and indoor air quality ” (Wikipedia).

After World War II, new houses were rapidly built in Germany to accommodate the growing population. Studies of these households found unusual patterns of illness. It was concluded that these patterns were attributed to the rapid construction of the buildings. The rapid construction had given materials insufficient time to outgas various volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and these VOCs in turn harmed the occupants. The illness is also attributable to problems with the electrical systems of homes.

Building Biology has been practiced in Europe since the early 1970s, as is typical here in Australia we’re slow to catch on!

The Australasian Society of Building Biologists was founded in 2007 and has helped Australians become more aware of the effects our living environments can have on our health.

We also have the Australian College of Environmental Studies, which provides the most comprehensive training in the country and is the only college to offer Government accreditation.

Statistics show there’s been an alarming rise in childhood asthma, which has trebled in the last 30 years, with ADD and childhood allergies increasing by 400% in the last 20 years.

Our children are the most sensitive to pollutants and toxins in our built environment and we must provide a healthy environment.

This can all sound overwhelming – Toxic chemicals in our everyday lives, harmful radiation from mobile phones and everything WiFi, illness-causing building materials and poor building designs can be ruining your health!


Building Biology isn’t an additional luxury item for only a few, but will form the foundation of our health and future building activities worldwide.

As a building biologist, I don’t look back on a seemingly ideal past, but see the vision of a future worth living.


Triin-Liis Harma
Building Biologist


For more info about building biology in Australia, please see:






Buildingbiology Services Australia, n.d. (Online). Available: http://www.buildingbiologyservices.com/

Healthy Building and Living, 2016 (Online). Available: https://buildingbiology.com/


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