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01 Dec 2023 < Back

A BBC Drama

Damp and mould continues (and rightly so) to draw a lot of media attention. I have previously written about the seismic shift in public tolerance towards dampness in our homes, following the unacceptable events in Rochdale. But as we head into winter and with news that the cost of heating looks set to hit an all time high this year, it would appear that we are set for a season with lots of news stories on the subject. 

BBC Morning Live this week...

On Tuesday this week we saw one such example, with Matt Allwright (presenter on Watchdog and Rogue Traders) discussing damp and mould on BBC1 Morning Live.

The short five-minute feature starts with presenters and guests declaring their inbox had been inundated with messages and images of damp and mould. They state that the issue is not going away and illude to claims that the problem has been particularly bad this year (this might be stating the obvious to those within the industry). 

Matt indicates that the first steps to take should be to find out the route cause; whether it's penetrating damp, rising damp or condensation. If the problem gets worse, or if you are struggling to identify the route cause, then you should seek a specialist. Pretty sound guidance so far.

The drama part 

However, he then moves on to how to get the issues fixed describing the process of engaging contractors as a ‘minefield’. He focuses on treatment for rising damp and says that damp proofing is an area where he has seen a lot of ‘rogue trader action’ and how you need to be very careful as it's very easy to get the wrong person.

Consumers were encouraged to seek a specialist to assess and then a seperate contractor to undertake the works. There are of course pros and cons to this suggestion, but not ones I intend to pick up here. Perhaps the best bit of advice that Matt gives is to choose the right person making sure to emphasize this as his final point to the question. 

There is of course a clear path through this ‘minefield’. The PCA’s nationwide list of contractor members are carefully vetted before being awarded membership and are then subjected to rigorous ongoing auditing procedures once admitted to the association. Members of the PCA can offer Insurance Backed Guarantees (IBGs) for much of the damp work they undertake. We have taken action against those who do not perform to the expected standard and if they fail to improve then they are removed from membership.

Recently, the PCA has been recognised by government as the provider of qualifications and the trade body for who landlords may wish to instruct or seek the guidance from to identify a damp and mould issue along with advice on appropriate remediation. 

Further steps for the Association 

There is no doubt that the programme could have made it easier to highlight how to find the right people. In response to this we have written an Open letter to the BBC and emphasised the importance of engaging contractors from a trusted trade body such as the PCA. 

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