Dalia Wagdi


Materials selection and construction practices significantly affect Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ). While there are many individual studies on the effect of building materials on thermal comfort, day lighting, and other factors of IEQ, further investigations are needed to study their effect on the Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) in hot arid climates, such as Egypt. Construction materials contribute to the emission of air pollutants in indoor environments; consequently occupants are exposed to multiple pollutants simultaneously as an apparent interaction between the different types of construction materials and room temperature. Limited information is published on specific standards and guidelines for the IAQ considerations in Egypt. Human health and safety are two core values in sustainable development. Hence, the goal of this work is to investigate the impact of the built environment, namely, construction materials on IAQ. The study first identifies pollutant sources and their corresponding health impact due to short term and long-term exposure. The study also aims at quantifying the levels of a group of pollutants at a steady state controlled environment and to propose effective source control strategies for their reduction and possibly elimination. Field studies were conducted during January and February in Cairo to monitor Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), formaldehyde (HCHO), ammonia (NH3), radon gas and particulate matter (PM2.5) and (PM10) activity. The indoor air is monitored in nine locations, four during the construction process and five after the completion of construction. Chemical analysis and direct reading devices are used for air sampling and monitoring, in addition to recording indoor and outdoor relative humidity, temperature and Carbon Dioxide (CO2) concentrations. The results of this work offer: recommendations to the types of materials that should be eliminated or improved to reach desirable IAQ conditions in hot arid climatic zones; and the development of an IAQ index as an assessment method that compares the measured parameters to existing recommended standards. The data gathering challenges are recorded and collected data is tabulated. The results of this study reveal a variation within the recommended benchmarks after the completion of construction and with the application of different finishing materials. The results also reveal that the concentration of some pollutants decreased within the first year of construction, others have remained above target limits. The results contribute to the decision making process among engineers regarding the selection of appropriate materials to reduce negative impacts through the implementation of appropriate source control strategies. Based on the conclusions and limitations of this study, recommendations for future work are documented.


Construction Engineering Department

Degree Name

MS in Construction Engineering

Graduation Date


Submission Date

May 2017

First Advisor

Mohamed Nagib Abou Zeid, Khaled Tarabieh

Committee Member 1

Afifi, Moemen

Committee Member 2

Gendy, Ahmed


147 p.

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Library of Congress Subject Heading 1

Indoor air pollution -- Egypt.

Library of Congress Subject Heading 2

Building materials -- Egypt.


The author retains all rights with regard to copyright. The author certifies that written permission from the owner(s) of third-party copyrighted matter included in the thesis, dissertation, paper, or record of study has been obtained. The author further certifies that IRB approval has been obtained for this thesis, or that IRB approval is not necessary for this thesis. Insofar as this thesis, dissertation, paper, or record of study is an educational record as defined in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 USC 1232g), the author has granted consent to disclosure of it to anyone who requests a copy. The author has granted the American University in Cairo or its agents a non-exclusive license to archive this thesis, dissertation, paper, or record of study, and to make it accessible, in whole or in part, in all forms of media, now or hereafter known.

Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval

Not necessary for this item


First and foremost I would like to express my deepest appreciation to my supervisors for their aspiring guidance, motivation, and immense knowledge throughout my work. My appreciation goes to Dr. Mohamed Nagib Abou-Zeid for his invaluable comments, advice, continuous support, and encouragement not only in this work but also throughout my graduate studies. Dr. Khaled Tarabieh for his unconditional patience, great effort, and inspiration that has helped build this study from the start. I sincerely acknowledge Dr. Abou-Zeid and Dr. Tarabieh for their overall contribution to bringing this work to its present shape and express my profound gratitude to them. I would also like to express my warm thanks to Dr. Ahmed Sherif, for his precious and illuminating views on a number of issues related to my work. My heart-felt gratitude goes to my family for their unceasing encouragement, patience, and absolute confidence in me. Special thanks are also due to the program of Graduate Studies at AUC for providing the support and funding needed to complete my study. I am also thankful to Lab Chemist Ahmed Omaia at the American University in Cairo and to Dr. Nasser Abdel Latif, Professor at the National Research Center for providing me with the assistance and data associated with the work.