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The Slate, University of Warwick, Coventry, CV4 7SH

“Very interesting content and well delivered”. [conference delegate]

The International Residential Ventilation and Building Preservation conference was, for the first time, split over two days. The event was a huge success with 200+ delegates attending over the course of the two days (which is even more of an achievement when considering the world cup started on the same day), with a range of speakers from academia, contractors, legislators and trade associations.

The focus on the first day was Residential Ventilation and was split into three sessions. The morning session titled “A new generation of humid homes?” was chaired by Dr Clive Shrubsole, UCL and had a strong academic influence with a host of international speakers who looked at acceptable limits of moisture in occupation, environmental monitoring and overheating in buildings. This session provoked a lot of thought, but clearly illustrated that the PCA is at the forefront of improving the understanding and delivery of moisture diagnostics.

The second session looked at “Challenges for housing providers” and focused on the importance of communication and the needs of landlords, local authorities and housing associations. Their desire for a more proactive approach to dealing with moisture through long term engagement with tenants and professionals was a reccurring message delivered by all contributors in this session. The PCA announced a new training opportunity in this part of the conference. ‘Evaluating Ventilation in Existing Buildings’, is aimed at helping improve the knowledge and understanding of surveyors who must consider ventilation and the implications of poor indoor air quality as part of their investigations.

The third session looked at “Setting the Standards” and was a real eye-opener for many on the different areas within building regulations that affect ventilation – primarily the Approved Document F, but beyond that as well. A very topical subject given that the conference marked the occasion of the tragic events of Grenfell fire exactly a year earlier by observing a minutes silence in memory of the victims.

The day concluded with a panel debate, reflecting on many of the topics that had provoked so much thought throughout the day. The panel was made up of a host of speakers from the day with the addition of Graham Ellis, Associate Director, RICS.

The second day took many back to a more familiar territory looking at Preservation in Buildings and the first session saw the return of Dr Hector Altamirano–Medina who chaired the morning session looking at “Understanding the Challenges”. For many, Dr Les Sellars was a highlight with the presentation of his thesis “Rising damp evaluation and treatment: a quasi-experimental case study”.

The second session looked at “Building in Resilience” and had a strong focus on timber. First up was Dr Simon Curling, Bangor University who gave a fascinating presentation on the durability of biobased insulation materials. Gordon Ewbank, Wood Protection Association then looked at how to specify, source and use pre treated timber correctly. The session finished with some exciting news from PCA Chairman Hudson Lambert who launched the register of Professional Pesticide Users and a second new training course from the PCA. This new, one-day event ensures that those on the register have been trained and assessed in the safe use of insecticide and fungicides that are labelled by manufacturers as being for Professional Use only.

The third and final session of the day “What does the future hold?” looked at emerging insect threats to timber in the UK as well as the use of DNA testing in mould investigations. The second day finished with a panel debate. The big question being asked this time was “The future of damp diagnosis and treatment; should we be skills and maintenance driven, rather than rely on guarantees?”

Delegate feedback

“This is my first visit to the PCA conference for many a year, but far exceeded my expectations. First-class information from brilliant speakers”. [conference delegate]

“Exciting times ahead”. [conference delegate]

“A good mix of speakers”. [conference delegate]

“First class”. [conference delegate]

Photo gallery

Images from the day can be viewed in the photo gallery. Click here

Programme & Speaker Presentations

Day 1: Residential Ventilation

Session 1: “A new generation of humid homes?”

Dr Fernando Sarce Thomann, Associate Professor at Universidad Mayor, Temuco, Chile
Topic: [Presentation link] “Moisture in buildings and acceptable limits”

Dr Anna Mavrogianni, Senior Lecturer in Sustainable Building and Urban Design at UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering
Topic: [Presentation link] “Overheating in buildings, causes and cures”

Dr Paula Lopez-Arce, KTP Associate, Property Care Association
Topic: “Environmental monitoring, data collection and KTP update”
[presentation link not available]

Andy Mudie, Marketing & Business Operations Director, Nuaire
Topic: [Presentation link] “Improving air quality in existing dwellings”

Session 2: “Challenges facing housing providers”

Tanya Eldridge, Independent Mould & Damp Specialist
Topic: [Presentation link] “Communication – Tenants, Local Authorities and Housing Providers”

Anna Coukham, Service Delivery Operations Manager, Metropolitan Housing
Topic: “The challenges and issues of residential ventilation for housing providers”
[presentation link not available]

Session 3: “Setting the standards”

John Bradley, EG Building Services
Topic: [Presentation link] Overview on regulations and guidance applicable to providing ventilation in existing homes and the case for a new “Approved Document F1B – Ventilation of Existing Dwellings”

Paul Cullen, Business Development Manager, Certsure LLP
Topic: [Presentation link] Overview of requirements to join NICEIC’s Competent Persons Scheme for Ventilation Schemes”

Richard Woodward, Fire Risk Management Services (UK) Ltd
Topic:[Presentation link] “Fire safety measures to be considered when installing ventilation systems in existing buildings (including: Fire Safety Order 2005, importance of compartmentation in buildings, Approved Document B – Fire Safety)”

Luke Smith, Head of Business Development, Build Test Solutions Ltd
Topic: [Presentation link] “Innovative low pressure pulse test to assess ventilation needs”


Day 2: Preservation in Buildings

Session 1: “Understanding the challenges”

Dr Les Sellers
Topic: [Presentation link] “Rising damp evaluation and treatment: a quasi-experimental case study”

Stephen Hodgson, CEO, Property Care Association
Topic: [Presentation link] “Defects in cavity construction”

Dr Paula Lopez-Arce, KTP Associate, Property Care Association
Topic:  Salts in porous materials
[presentation link not available]

Dr Hector Altamirano-Medina, UK Centre for Moisture in Buildings (UKCMB)
Topic: [Presentation link] “UKCMB – progress and goals”

Session 2: “Building in resilience”

Dr Simon Curling, Research Scientist, Biocomposites Centre, Bangor University
Topic: [Presentation link] “Does combining biobased building materials with timber based construction elements have an effect on biological durability?”

Gordon Ewbank, Wood Protection Association
Topic: [Presentation link] “How to specify, source and use pre-treated timber correctly”

Richard Lomax, Health & Safety Executive
Topic: Wood preservatives and other biocides: authorisation in the UK
[presentation link not available]

Hudson Lambert, Safeguard Europe
Topic: [Presentation link] “Launch of Pesticides Register”

Session 3: “What does the future hold?”

Nicholas Donnithorne, UK Technical Services Manager, Rentokil
Topic: [Presentation link] “Emerging insect threats to timber in UK construction”

Ann Dorte Pørneki, HouseTest ApS, Denmark
Topic: [Presentation link] “The use of DNA testing in mould investigations”

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