This section is from the book "The Principles And Practice Of Modern House-Construction", by G. Lister Sutcliffe. Also available from Amazon: How Your House Works: A Visual Guide to Understanding & Maintaining Your Home.
The healthfulness of a house depends to some extent on the geological formation on which it is built, its position and aspect, the nature of the water-supply, the density of the population around it, the climate and other externa] circumstances; hut it also depends largely on the materials of which the building is constructed, and the manner in which these materials are employed. A house may be situated in a salubrious locality and may have a plentiful supply of pure water, and yet not be fit for occupation.
Section II. Construction By G. Lister Sutcliffe
Section II. - construction.
And the fault need not lie in the drains or the water-closets. These and the sinks and other fittings may be as perfect as can be, and yet the house be dangerous to live in. This fact is apt to be overlooked. Draiuage has been so much written and talked about of late years, that every house-hunter nowadays asks at once, "Are the drains all right?" He does not ask, "Are the walls, the floors, the roof all right?" and yet these have an important influence on the healthfulness of a house. The ill effects of defective walls and floors and roofs may not be so quickly manifest as those of bad drains and nasty fittings, but they are no less certain and dangerous; rheumatism and diseases of the respiratory organs are frequently caused by cold, damp, dusty, draughty, or smoky and ill-ventilated houses, and even if these ailments are not produced, vitality is lowered and the occupants of the houses become an easy prey to other diseases. In fine, the general construction of a building, quite apart from all question of the site, water-supply, sanitary fittings, drainage, and ventilation, may be responsible for its unhealthiness.
A damp house, it has been well said, is a deadly house. But dampness is not the sole danger. The model house will not only be dry; it will also be of equable temperature, free (as far as possible) from dust and smoke and air-pollution of every kind, filled with light and sunshine, and adapted for cleanlinees. It will be planned in such a way that DO part of it will be close and stuffy, hut every nook and corner receive an adequate supply of fresh air. Moreover, the model house will be reasonably safe from destruction by lightning and by lire.