Perkins+Will launch new ‘Precaution List’ warning against damaging building materials in bid to bolster wellbeing

Consensus is essential if we, as a global community of designers, are to make a meaningful, positive, and lasting impact on human health and wellbeing
– Suzanne Drake, Perkins+Will senior associate

Global architects Perkins+Will have launched a list of the most “prolific and problematic” substances that people encounter every day in the built environment.

Hosted on the firm’s ‘Material Transparency’ website, the compilation is described as “a user-friendly digital database that allows professionals to search for key substances and chemicals of concern using filters like project type, product type, and health and environmental impacts.”

An earlier ‘Precaution List’ was developed by the studio in 2008, but it has been comprehensively revamped and released to coincide with the Greenbuild 2017 conference, currently taking place in Boston, US.

The new list features new data and details about troublesome materials, including health and environmental hazards, ways in which people can be exposed, relevant government regulations and industry rating systems, and associated building products.

Perkins+Will has also added a ‘Watch List’ and a ‘Sunset List’. The former highlights substances suspected of being harmful, but where scientific data about their health impacts has only begun to accumulate. The latter includes substances previously on the Precaution List, but are now seldom or no longer in use by the industry.

“Our goal is to spur further industry transformation so that, one day, we can have peace of mind that all materials used to build and furnish our homes, workplaces, schools, hospitals, and other places are healthy and safe,” said Mary Dickinson, senior associate at Perkins+Will and one of three co-chairs of the firm’s Material Performance Research Lab.

“With our updated Precautionary List and Transparency website, we’re helping fellow designers take note of new, emerging, and known health hazards so that they can make more informed product decisions.”

The Precautionary List will be incorporated into Portico, the web-based healthy products identification and project management tool currently under development by Perkins+Will with the Healthy Building Network (HBN), Google, Harvard University, Georgia Tech University and real estate developer the Durst Organization, among others.

“This cross-pollination of industry tools marks the beginning of what we hope becomes widespread consensus about which materials are healthy and which are harmful,” said Suzanne Drake, senior associate at Perkins+Will and another co-chair of the Material Performance Research Lab. “Consensus is essential if we, as a global community of designers, are to make a meaningful, positive, and lasting impact on human health and wellbeing.”

In other news, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has formally adopted RELi, a resilience consensus standard co-developed by Perkins+Will in 2012.

Described as a prescriptive “roadmap”, similar in format to the USGBC’s LEED rating system, the practice said that the standard “helps architects, city planners, developers, governments, and businesses design buildings, neighbourhoods and communities to better withstand shocks and stressors, like hurricanes, super storms, drought, heat waves, earthquakes, and even social volatility.”

Perkins+Will  Precaution List  materials  architecture  design  construction 
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Global architects Perkins+Will have launched a list of the most “prolific and problematic” substances that people encounter every day in the built environment. Hosted on the firm’s ‘Material Transparency’ website, the compilation is described as “a user-friendly digital database that allows professionals to search for key substances and chemicals of concern using filters like project type, product type, and health and environmental impacts.” An earlier ‘Precaution List’ was developed by
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The design of the firm's Seattle office is inspired by their in-house healthy materials initiative research / Perkins+Will
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