Stanford University

Minimizing Impacts on Local Building Occupants

Renovation, demolition, and remodeling projects can impact building occupants when common products, such as paints, roofing compounds, cleaning projects, carpet glues, or waterproofing materials for decks, which generate odors, are used, or by projects which create a lot of dust or noise.

Projects that have generated complaints at Stanford include:

  • Roofing projects (odor)
  • Deck surfacing projects (odor)
  • External/internal painting (odor)
  • Application of pesticides near buildings (odor)
  • Application of lubricants to HVAC systems (odor)
  • Removing sheet rock walls (dust)
  • Jackhammering concrete (noise)

How to engineer out potential impacts from projects

Taking measures before the project begins can avert a lot of concerned calls from building occupants.

Odor control

Outdoor projects

Measures for controlling odors from outdoor projects include:

  • Keeping windows and doors closed shut
  • Sealing off air intakes and other entry paths with polyethylene sheeting
  • Shutting off the ventilation to the affected areas
  • Conducting the project after-hours or on weekends

Indoor projects

Measures for controlling odors inside the building include:

  • Increasing the building ventilation
  • Installing temporary fans
  • Conducting the project after-hours or on weekends

Dust control

Measures for controlling dust include a combination of isolating the area, enforcing good housekeeping, and so on.

Noise control

Measures for controlling construction-related noise, which generally does not pose an occupational health hazard to building occupants, might include informing occupants of the activity or conducting work after-hours or on weekends.

Projects recommended for specific review by EH&S

EH&S’s Occupational Health and Safety Program should review projects:

  • Where large quantities of products are used (e.g. large scale roofing or painting projects)
  • Of long duration
  • Which are conducted in close proximity to an occupied area
  • Which are conducted in a highly sensitive area (e.g. in Jordan Hall, near the Infant Studies Program)

Information needed for EH&S to conduct a review

For projects that require specific review (see above), Project Managers must submit the following information to the Occupational Health and Safety Program at 3-0448. A ten-day review period is appreciated.

  • Location of project
  • Duration of project
  • General description of project
  • SDSs for products to be used
  • Quantity of each product
  • Description of how the products will be applied (e.g. sprayed, rolled, etc.)
  • Description of how the products will be used (e.g. according to manufacturer’s instructions)
  • Frequency of application
  • Description of measures taken to prevent/reduce odors and noise

Notification of building occupants


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