Construction materials, electrical wiring, and other components that are susceptible to asbestos-related problems may be susceptible to building collapse due to poor construction practices, according to a new study by the American Institute of Architects.
The institute, which advises the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, has been analyzing building collapses involving asbestos-containing construction materials since 2004, when the institute published a report on the issue.
The new report was released Thursday and offers the first detailed assessment of the risk of collapse posed by the building materials.
The report says the majority of asbestos-contaminated building materials in use in the U, Europe, and China have not been inspected for asbestos contamination.
“While the data does not provide conclusive evidence of a causal relationship between asbestos-induced building collapse and building collapse, the analysis demonstrates the need for improved oversight of asbestos use in building materials,” the report says.
A separate study by AIAA, published earlier this year, found that nearly one in five of the world’s building collapses involve a component that contains asbestos.
According to the latest analysis, nearly three-quarters of the building collapses examined in the new study involved asbestos.
But the AIAa report did not say whether the material was found in all buildings tested.
“We did not test every single building in the world, so we could not identify whether a particular material was the cause of a collapse,” said Mark Pritchard, an associate professor of civil engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, who co-authored the AAEA report.
The findings are a major victory for researchers who have been studying the building material for decades.
In 2015, AIA announced plans to launch a national database that would provide information on building collapses and asbestos-affected construction materials.
Building collapse experts say the new analysis provides a valuable first step toward identifying potential sources of asbestos exposure, as well as improving the monitoring of materials that are frequently used in buildings, such as insulation and plumbing.
The American Institute for Architects has been working with a team of more than 100 scientists and engineers to produce the report.
“The AAEa study provides new insights into the risk and health effects of asbestos in building material,” Pritcher said.
“AIAA has been a pioneer in building collapse research, and this report will help to further that work.”
The AAEs findings are based on an analysis of more then 5,400 studies that are used by governments and private industry to determine whether asbestos-tainted materials pose a health risk to the public.
The group of more of the nation’s top building and construction researchers, which includes scientists at AIA, the U of T, the University at Buffalo, and the University College London, has conducted more than 1,000 studies and analyzed more than 11,000 building materials since the institute’s inception in 1965.
The research was funded by the U the United States Department of Commerce and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
The study is available at https://www.aea.org/assets/reports/report.pdf and at http:/www.aea.org.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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