Flood Misconceptions Cause Unnecessary Damage to Life and Property

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Sara
Floods are a relatively common natural disaster in Australia, yet over the decades, building codes around the country haven't been revised to fully mitigate against the damage caused by flooding. Unlike other natural disasters such as cyclones, bushfires, and earthquakes, the country hasn't fully embraced the lessons that we've learned from past floods. In response to the disaster of Cyclone Tracy in 1974, the whole country adopted new wind codes, which have saved countless buildings from damage during subsequent cyclones. Similar regulations have been put in place regionally and nationally in the wake of bushfire disasters, and in anticipation of earthquakes, but measures regarding floods are lagging behind. In stark contrast to the progress made to protect against other natural disasters, the use of materials that are easily damaged by water has grown exponentially (including plasterboard walls, composite timber beams, chipboard kitchens, and plywood bracings), all of which are allowed in the building codes for flood plains.

Sick Building Syndrome – Is it in your workplace?

Sara
The quality of indoor air is a major concern in most workplaces. Poor air quality can affect the health, wellness, performance, and productivity of your employees. If you don't pay attention to the indoor air quality at your offices, your employees could be affected by a phenomenon known as Sick Building Syndrome (SBS).   What’s Sick Building Syndrome? Well, the term SBS is universally used to describe cases where multiple occupants of a building experience serious health issues or considerable discomfort, which seem to be related to the time they spent in that particular building. In cases of SBS, a specific illness or causal agent can’t be identified (If specific illnesses can be identified, the term Building Related Illness (BRI) is used instead). SBS can either be concentrated on particular sections of the building, or it can be spread throughout the building.   What are the signs of SBS? If multiple occupants of a building complain about symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, nausea, irritation to the eyes, throat, or nose, general fatigue, rashes and skin itches, difficulty concentrating, dry cough, or heightened sensitivity to odours, you could be dealing with SBS.

The Role of Quality Cleaning Practices in Environmental Health

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Sara

Why is Sanitation Important? Sanitation is vital to the safety of any work facility; whether it is an office setting or a manufacturing plant. Certain areas need to be thoroughly cleaned to remove potentially harmful bacteria. In some instances, sanitation is required by law and is crucial to the safe operation of a facility, such as in a hospital or senior-care centre. How do you know which areas to sanitise? Sanitation should be done in areas that experience a great deal of touch or contact with people, food, and objects. What are the Steps Involved in Cleaning and Sanitising? The first step is to identify the areas that need to be cleaned on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. While cleaning should be conducted on a regular basis, sanitisation of some areas need only be done a few times a month. The next step is to conduct a pre-wash of all the areas to remove surface debris.

The Importance of Sanitation in Aged Care Environments

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Sara

Reducing the likelihood of illness and infection in aged-care facilities is vital. Maintaining an aged-care environment that is consistently clean and sanitised is the first line of defense in protecting the health of this vulnerable population of residents. Not only does proper hygienic practices and procedures reduce the risk of spreading infections and making seniors sick, but it also helps to keep the staff who work in these facilities healthy so they can provide these much-needed services. What is Involved in Ensuring Aged-Care Facilities are being Cleaned Properly? When it comes to ensuring seniors are well cared for, cleaning and sanitizing are an important part of the process. There are several areas of consideration when dealing with aged-care facilities that are of importance to the health of everyone involved.. These processes include frequent and proper hand washing, cleaning of frequently There are several areas of consideration when dealing with aged-care facilities that are of importance to the health of everyone involved.

Companies who are contracted to clean and sanitize aged-care facilities must work to the highest standards, and it is important to work with a cleaning company that has quality assurance certification, such as ISO9001



The Role Environmental Consultants play in Supporting Air Quality

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Atmospheric scientist with experience in air quality consulting, odour measurement, dust and odour impact assessments understand the key air quality issues faced by businesses and how best to provide This can require the monitoring of air quality and odour in the workplace, gas sample laboratory analyses including soil vapour assessments; meteorological monitoring, modelling and data analysis; air and odour dispersion modelling and impact assessment; the assessment of regional climate and its variability; and the clear and concise reporting and communication of complex ideas and outcomes, to all stakeholders. An example of this kind of work in action is shown in the video below, where Melbourne based environmental consulting company Atma Environmental demonstrate the application of soil vapour testing, to measure the seeping of volatile contaminants present in soil or groundwater, into the atmosphere, which can be particularly dangerous in buildings and enclosed spaces. If these toxic chemicals are not identified and people get prolonged exposure to them, they can lead to chronic health problems or terminal illnesses.

Geotechnical Engineering and Structural Foundations

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Sara
All manner of infrastructure, including houses, high rise office towers, roads, bridges, dams and tunnels need their proposed site, and sometimes the surrounding areas, to be analyzed to ensure their construction plans meet required engineering standards. The foundations of any piece of infrastructure transmit the weight bearing load from the structure to the earth. As you can imagine, it is critical that the foundations are strong enough to hold the weight of the building, even under irregular conditions like flood and earthquakes. The primary considerations for foundation support are bearing capacity, settlement, and ground movement beneath the foundations. Bearing capacity is the ability of the site soils to support the loads imposed by buildings or structures. Geotechnical Engineers Geotechnical Engineers are the people who analyse the geotechnical conditions on a site and the way they will interact with a building, to determine the structural engineering requirements of construction projects. Geotechnical engineers a design the foundations of structures based on the load characteristics of the structure and the properties of the soils and/or bedrock on the site.

What’s the Difference between Environmental and Ecological Consulting?

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Sara
Ecological and environmental consulting are closely related disciplines. The main difference between the two is that the Environmental Consulting is a more overarching field that incorporates many elements of Earth and life sciences, to understand various natural processes. Ecology, on the other hand, is usually more focused on how organisms interact with each other and with their immediate surroundings. An important difference between ecology and environmental science is the goal of research in each discipline. Unlike environmental scientists, ecologists tend to focus their research on very specific populations of living things, such as a certain type of grass or a group of fishes. Ecologists seek to understand how populations interact, reproduce, and thrive within an ecosystem. They concentrate mainly on immediate factors such as food preferences, predation, and sexual selection within a group. Through careful observation and historical research, they explain the developmental and evolutionary adaptations that influence a species and their work is particularly important where development may threaten a species habitat, particularly if the species is rare or endangered.

How to become an Environmental Consultant

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The bigger consultancies have more often than not grown out of firms that originally made their names in areas waste management, civil engineering or water Customers and employers of environmental consultants include local authorities, central governments, non-governmental and wildlife organisations and conservation organizations. In the longer term, employment prospects for environmental consultants are likely to expand in developing economies in regions like India, China and South America. The strongest growth areas in consultancy are forecast to be climate change/emissions management and waste management and sustainability, followed closely by environmental impact assessment and contaminated land. Environmental Consultant Salary The salary level of environmental consultants can vary greatly depending on your level of education, experience, your niche of expertise and where you work, but at the time of writing, a reasonable expectation is between $75,000 to 150,000, depending on your experience and seniority.

Why Australia Needs National Legislation to Regulate Ecological & Environmental Consultants.

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Sara

We need to regulate environmental consultants at all level of government where such consultants are relied upon to give authorities advice about the effects of development and other projects. We need to ensure consultants are competent and ethical, and we need the ability to sanction them and ultimately ban them for repeated and/or serious offences. Let’s get some faith restored in the assessment process for the protection of a Australians. I am also an environmental consultant who wants to be able to report what I see rather than being lent on by clients to 'turn a blind eye', and threatened with non-payment if I ignore my duty to report without prejudice.

Contaminated Land Consulting

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Sara
One particular niche of environmental consulting is Contaminated Land Management. A specialised contaminated land management consultant is required when property is rezoned from a commercial zone to a residential zone, or if a request has been made to remove land from the Contaminated Sites Register. Contaminated Land Consultants are often required required by property developers when they are buying (or selling) land suitable for commercial or residential development. For property owners and land developers, the most important thing to understand about purchasing land that is potentially contaminated is the risks involved. Frtom a legal standpoint, land owners are responsible for the remediation of contamination on their land. For this reason, it’s essential to investigate a property’s contamination status prior to purchase, to avoid purchasing expensive environmental liabilities along with the land. The primary service an environmental consultant specialising in contaminated land provides is site contamination reports. These reports determine the risk of or the extent of contamination on a site.