What is a Healthy Home Consultant? Do You Need One?


job signMy story: how I became a healthy home consultant.

My degree is in Architecture.  I never imagined that being a Healthy Home Consultant would become a regular part of my professional practice. In the early 80’s I lived in a home that made me chronically ill. Once it became clear that the cause of my poor health was my home I also realized that my education had been woefully deficient when it came to health. In my quest to become well again my architectural background turned out to be a huge asset. I was trained to understand how buildings are put together and how the standard construction process works. I had an insider view of how it needed to change to incorporate all of the many facets that go in to creating a healthy home. I went on to become a student and practitioner of Building Biology. This science, which originated in Germany, studies the relationship between human health and the built environment. Between my architectural education, my own personal experience with Multiple Chemical Sensitivities and my Building Biology training I gained a set of specialized knowledge that I have remained passionate about for over 20 years. In my healthy home consulting work I have been able to help hundreds of people throughout North America, Mexico, Costa Rica and as far away as Israel, and Switzerland. I have had the opportunity to experience many climate-and culturally-based variations of “home” and to work with professional colleagues including architects, builders, physicians, building officials and inspection and remediation specialists world-wide to determine what makes buildings sick and what makes them support health.

Four Reasons for Hiring a Healthy Home Consultant

There are a variety of reasons for hiring a Healthy Home Consultant and here are the four most common:

1. Something in my house is making me sick but I don’t know what it is. It is prohibitively expensive to test for every chemical that might be in your air so before calling a Healthy Home Consultant you would benefit by doing a little detective work on your own. Refer to my article What the Nose Knows for some tips on scoping out your home. Once you have gathered some information a Healthy Home Consultant who specializes in detection and remediation of unhealthy situations can help you by doing a general visual inspection aided by various instruments to measure general air quality, electro-magnetic radiation, water quality etc. The consultant can help you determine the most important testing and then design a protocol for remediation once your test results are in. The Building Biology website has a great deal of free information to help you with your initial investigation and lists Healthy Home consultants certified through the Institute.

2. A family member has environmental health issues such as MCS or electro-hypersensitivity and I need to have a potential purchase or rental checked out. For a general list of what to look for when seeking to rent or buy refer to my article Tips for a Healthy Home. When you locate a home that seems like it might work for you, hiring a real estate inspector is your first stop. There are various certifying bodies for this type of inspector and requirements differ from state to state. The primary purpose of a home inspector will be to do a thorough visual inspection of landscape, building envelop, electrical, mechanical and plumbing. Interview your local inspectors and compare their scope of services, training and references as there can be quite a range of experience and services offered. Your realtor may have good recommendations based on past experience. Combining the inspection information with various observations that you may make will help you to determine whether you need a more specialized healthy home consultation. A general home inspection may not tell you about the presence of lead, asbestos or mold. It will not cover some areas that are very important to anyone with Environmental Illness. An environmental home inspector trained through the Institute for Building Biology and Ecology will be able to address issues of special concern in more detail such as VOC measures, water quality, particulate count, presence of pesticides, mold and Electro-Magnetic Radiation. They will also be able to direct you to proper remediation of these problems.

3. A family member is disabled with environment related health issues and I want to build a healthy home from scratch. Consider hiring someone just like me to train and work with your local team! It is important to understand your areas of greatest concern from the outset and to address them from preliminary design to move-in day. You will need to pick the right site (refer to my article Insights on Siting Your Home. This might involve an EMR inspector with the right equipment to detect any site electrical radiation issues. Once your home site has been located you will need to put together a solid team to work with you: The team should include your health practitioner, local architect, local builder and Healthy Home Consultant. Individuals with chemical sensitivities will need to find a method for testing the various materials to know which, amongst the healthy options, work best for them, because no two people with environmental sensitivities will be the same. You will need a very detailed specification document describing the materials and special procedures that must be followed and this document should be referenced in your construction contract.

10/3/2013 5:49:27 AM

What a nice and interesting post.Thanks for sharing this one.Through this post i got some new ideas which help me for my home renovation projects.Your information is true up-to most of the great extent... http://seastoneconstruction.co.nz

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