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Impact of high rise work to be studied

Press Association logoPress Association 20/03/2017 Eleanor Barlow

The health and wellbeing impact of working in a skyscraper will be examined at a new research facility.

A joint project by the universities of Bath and Exeter will see virtual-reality vibration simulators - or VSimulators - built to recreate the experience of working in a high-rise office block, walking across a wobbly bridge or dancing in a crowded stadium.

Researchers from the two universities will examine how working in a building which sways slightly in the wind could cause different forms of motion sickness and leave employees with low mood, difficulty concentrating and a lack of motivation.

A team of engineers, medics, physiologists and psychologists will look at the impact of vibrations in offices, football stadiums and rock concert venues, as well as when caused by crowds simultaneously exiting a stadium and walking across wobbly bridges.

The simulators will also recreate the surroundings, temperature, humidity, noise, air quality and smells of buildings.

Alex Pavic, professor of vibration engineering at the University of Exeter, said: "More and more people are living and working in high-rises and office blocks but the true impact of vibrations on them is currently very poorly understood and can differ depending on whether an environment is quiet or noisy, the time of the day and even whether people are moving, standing, running or walking.

"Humans spend 90 per cent of their lives in buildings which vibrate non-stop, but there is still very little reliable information about the effect of structural vibration."

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