Sick building syndrome (SBS) is a combination of ailments (a syndrome) - including headaches, tiredness, itchy or sore eyes, throat and skin, body pains, irritability - usually associated with an individual's place of work (typically, but not always, an office building), though there have also been instances of SBS in residential buildings.

The contributing factors often relate to the design of the built environment, and may include combinations of some or all of the following:

  • poor or inappropriate lighting (including absence of or only limited access to natural daylight)
  • poor heating or ventilation
  • bad acoustics
  • poorly designed furnishings, furniture and equipment (e.g. computer monitors, photocopiers, etc.).

To the owner or operator of a "sick building", the symptoms may include high levels of employee sickness or absenteeism, lower productivity, low job satisfaction and high employee turnover.