How to ensure a healthy environment for your builders

There are two types of people when it comes to house development. There are people who buy houses and then there are people who build their houses. If you are part of the latter, whether it is a new house being built from the ground up or you are getting your home extended, a safe environment for the people who will be building your house means a safe working home for you.

Before the building of your home commences, there are a few things you need to take note of with regards to the building materials that will be used. Knowledge of this is good for you and for the people who will be working at your house.

Some building materials contain Asbestos; Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs), Synthetic Mineral Fibres (SMFs) and lead based paint. They can be dangerous to the health of people, young and old. If inhaled the Asbestos fibres can cause you diseases such as lung cancer, Mesothelioma and Asbestosis.

According to the National Health Laboratory Service, building material containing Asbestos has been banned in South Africa and other countries, but there are still some materials that still contain this fibrous material. Asbestos is usually mixed in cement.


There are many houses built in the past that still contain this fibre, where it can be found in roofs, gutters, pipes, tiles etc,. It is however, important that when working with cement a mask is worn by the builders and if you are going in to see the process as the employer of the builders you should also be provided with a mask.

Another form of hazardous fibre material being phased out is Polychlorinated Biphenyls chemical material. They can be found in waste and recycled materials such as scrap metal, and auto salvage yards.


These products can be very dangerous to work with. They can also be harmful for people who will be around when construction takes place, such as children. It is important to ensure that such material is properly recycled and that kids do not have easy access to them.

Synthetic Mineral Fibres refer to material such as bricks, glass, alumina and silica. SMFs are known to be alternatives to Asbestos, however, like Asbestos, SMFs can also be very dangerous. They can be found in products like cement, plaster, wood and plastic material.

Short exposure to SMF’s can include eye and lung irritation. That means that SMF’s can cause your eyes to redden and itch as well as cause you to cough for extended hours. So it is important to once again use proper building attire when building, or rather make sure your builders use proper building attire.


It is important to note that when people are going to be working in your home, your safety and theirs is vital, so make sure that you do not create dust, build a fire, eat or drink in the work space because it can be very dangerous.


For bricks for sale and other building material, visit the Junk Mail website for affordable prices.

Yolanda Zondo

Writers see the world differently. Every voice we hear, every face we see, every hand we touch could become story fabric

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