"Slope smooth-surfaced window ledges and projections at
45 degrees to minimize bird perching and roosting."
I like my anti-bird idea better: Cat-shaped gargoyles.
During my earlier days in a divey Brooklyn apartment, with every Nynex Yellow Pages I threw at a cockroach, I never thought to blame the building's architect. I still wouldn't think to, but the U.S. Center for Environmental Health believes that design can play a large role in pest prevention, and to prove it they've put together an 89-page document showing exactly how.
The document, called Pest Prevention by Design, is a comprehensive look at how architects can design or retrofit structures to minimize whatever the local pests are: Rodents, roaches, bedbugs, pigeons, termites, you name it. In the study's eyes, pests are more than a mere inconvenience; bedbugs can make entire buildings uninhabitable, termites can affect structural integrity, and as they point out, "An occasional trail of ants in the home may be a mere nuisance, but even a single ant in a surgical ward can have grave consequences."
The points illustrated range from understanding the local environment...
...Constructing a building in an urban center, where subways provide a vast network of tunnels in which rodents travel, requires a different design approach than a building in a rural area.
...to designing specific building features...
[Designing] built-in access to critical areas greatly assists pest management professionals in the early detection of wood-boring pests, potentially saving building owners thousands of dollars in wood replacement.
...to materials choices.
Avoid use of ceramic outside corner tiles. Ceramic tiles located in heavily used areas are highly prone to breakage. Broken tiles provide access to voids that can harbor pest insects. Durable outside corners, such as metal or plastic, are preferred alternatives.
While the document won't be formally released until mid-next-month, San Francisco's Department of the Environment has made a preliminary copy available here.