FAQ

What is the selection criterion to include buildings materials on this website?

Friendly Materials is a healthy materials guide. As so, we only publish building materials that fulfil our strict evaluation criteria and that have obtained at least a bronze medal. Therefore, Friendly Materials publishes a very limited number of building materials that it considers healthy.

What kind of building materials may I find at Friendly Materials?

Friendly Materials includes any building material that may be applied indoors, as long as they fulfil our evaluation criteria. Nowadays, installation materials such as piping, taps or air ducts are excluded.

What is the Friendly Materials’ Alert List?

The Friendly Materials Alert List is a list of 18 toxic chemical substances to avoid in building materials. The substances identified at the Alert List are the result of a long period of study of 6 internationally recognized baseline red lists: REACH (annex XIV and XVII), SIN List, EPA Action Plan, Living Building Challenge, Greenspec and Transparency by Perkins+Will.

The Friendly Materials Alert List is a compilation of all the toxic substances identified on these 6 red lists, that are commonly found in indoor building materials.

Why should we avoid the substances identified at the Alert List?

All the substances identified at the Alert List may affect human health in some way. Some substances are more harmful than others, and the affectation period changes according to the type of substance. The most vulnerable population are young children, pregnant women, lactating women and elderly people.

The toxicity degree of some substances may be debatable (some substances are identified on one red list and not on the others), but they are included at the Friendly Materials Alert List for a precautionary principle.

Are there healthier alternatives for all the substances identified at the Alert List?

Unfortunately not all the chemical substances identified at the Alert List has a healthier alternative. Some substances are considered toxic at some point of its useful life period but, nowadays, there isn’t a healthier alternative available. The Friendly Materials’ scoring system considers more negative to intentionally add a substance from the Alert List than adding it for lack of a healthier alternative.

Do all building materials release toxic substances?

No, not all materials release toxic substances.

What is a material with active properties?

A building material with active properties is one that reacts to different kinds of stimulation (physical or chemical)  be changing some of its properties. The most common type of active building materials are photocatalytic materials (that break down air pollutants), bactericide materials (that kill bacteria in contact with its surface) and materials with decontaminating properties (such as mold-proof or fungicide materials). 

What are Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) and how do they affect human health?

Volatile Organic Compounds, or VOC, are a group of chemical substances that easily transform into fumes or gases. According to the Spanish Agriculture, Nourishment and Environment Ministry’s website, the presence of VOC is heavily influenced by actives that use organic solvents. 

They can cause direct harm to human health mainly by breathing, but also through the skin. In addition, these compounds are fat-soluble, so they bioaccumulate at the fat tissue of living organisms.

They cause respiratory problems, eye and throat irritation or dizziness, and others. They can also cause psychiatric effects (irritability, difficulty concentrating, etc.) and, in the long term, they cause kidney, liver or central nervous system damage. Some VOCs, such as benzene, have a carcinogenic effect.

What are the evaluation criteria?

The evaluation criteria for the assessment of Friendly Materials products may be consulted both at Evaluation criteria and at the Handbook for Manufactures, available for download at Join us.

What are the infocards?

The infocards are the evaluation sheets for each assessed products. Each infocard gathers all the information needed to evaluate a product; they are the basis that enables scoring each building material. 

Where may I find the information needed to fill an infocard?

The information needed to fulfil an infocard is provided by the manufacturers and it is usually found at its technical data sheets, safety data sheets, EPDs and other certificates issued by its own laboratories or by third-party entities.

Does Friendly Materials conduct any laboratory tests?

No. Friendly Materials studies, weights and scores the information provided by manufacturers’ official documents.

What does FMP means?

FMP stands for Friendly Materials’ Points: the unit of measurement for Friendly Materials. Each category (or product family) has its own maximum score of FMPs.

Is there any product than scores 100 FMP?

No. Even though some products are very close to 100 FMP (the absolute best score) we haven’t yet studied any building material that reaches 100 FMP. Some products comply with the highest evaluation requirements, but at a chemical level there is usually something that deducts points.

How does the medal system and the points per category work?

The Friendly Materials medals are distributed by categories and each category has its own maximum achievable score. The maximum achievable score represents the highest amount of points that a material from a certain category may reach. Setting a maximum achievable score for each category enables the comparison of a building material with its peers. It would make no sense to compare paints with wood or ceramics with adhesives.

What is the range of points that corresponds to the gold, silver and bronze medals?

The range of points that corresponds to each medal is gradually reduced as it gets closer to its maximum achievable scores, in order to guarantee the exclusiveness of the gold medals. As so, the bronze medal corresponds to a range of 15 points, the silver medal corresponds to a range of 10 points and the gold medal to a range of 7 points.

For example, if the maximum achievable score for a category is 91 FMP, the bronze medal will be given to the products that score from 60 to 74 FMPs, the silver medal will be given to the products that score from 75 to 84 FMPs and the gold medal will be given to the products that score from 85 to 91 FMPs.

How may I include my products at Friendly Materials?

To include your products at Friendly Materials you have to download the Handbook for Manufacturers, where you will find all the steps to follow. Thus, in case of any doubt or questions, you may contact us by email to info@friendlymaterials.com

Is Friendly Materials a certification?

No. Friendly Materials is a recognition set exclusively for those building materials that are considered healthy according to our 10 evaluation parameters.

Who has developed Friendly Materials?

Friendly Materials is the result of a research project developed during a 3-year process, directed by PMMT Forward Thinking Healthcare Architecture.

Who is PMMT?

PMMT Forward Thinking Healthcare Architecture is a company highly specialized on healthcare architecture, on healthy indoor environments and on universal accessibility. PMMT has hospitals built in 3 continents and more than 25 years of experience in the healthcare sector. Our differential value is our firm commitment with innovation: 20% of our staff is exclusively dedicated to research, which has so far generated more than 10 research projects, patents and R&D in collaboration with other companies and entities.

Nowadays PMMT has offices in Barcelona and Madrid, and has more than 40 employees. www.pmmtarq.com