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Office workers

Pollution isn’t just an outdoor problem

When a major multinational company came to build new offices in London, it wanted reassurance that chemicals used in construction, decoration and furnishings would not make its staff sick. We were tasked with guaranteeing the safety of every product and therefore every employee who worked there.

The workspace will be among the most environmentally healthy in the world.

Opportunity

It’s a modern business dilemma. Advances in materials technology have improved the performance of construction products, but many now also release harmful chemical compounds which affect indoor air quality. But while the connection between construction products and human health impact has been firmly established, many manufacturers don’t openly declare the chemical content of the products they make.

Our client was determined to safeguard the health, happiness, performance and productivity of its most valuable resource – its staff – by protecting them against potentially harmful compounds. It therefore needed a partner that would leave no stone unturned.

Solution

The size and prestige of this project meant that we could put a certain amount of pressure on suppliers and set out to create an audited list of pre-approved products. Producing this list involved working closely with manufacturers and gaining their trust. To achieve full disclosure of ingredients we had to operate the strictest confidentiality. Our list was used by the design and construction team to specify materials and products.

Outcome

Using our unique products list our client has gained reassurance that 98.5% of the materials used in its new office – more than 300 products – are benign to human health, with the 1.5% remainder presenting little risk. The workspace will be among the most environmentally healthy in the world when the building is completed in 2017, benefiting everyone in the building, as well as our client, who hopes to gain from having staff that are more alert, comfortable and healthy.

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