Last week ITN News released a story regarding an increase in the number of complaints (to the housing ombudsman) about Housing Associations, which have risen by 35% in the last three years – from 5,409 in 2018/2019, to 7,316 in 2020/21.
Unfortunately news stories like this aren’t uncommon, but currently seem to be making headlines far too frequently…for example:
- A similar story was published by ITN detailing that some student housing had left one of its residents with a severe skin rash and all residents were subsequently removed from the accommodation. In this instance, inadequate ventilation was ‘blamed‘ as the cause of the problem.
- Another from ITN News reported that the UK’s biggest housing association, Clarion Housing, had issued an apology to residents of Eastfields Estate in Mitcham, South London, where numerous residents were living in “damp, mouldy, crumbling homes”.
We did warn this would happen!
Whilst it may appear they are becoming more common, from our perfective, this isn’t that surprising. Last year, we frequently posted this was going to happen. The conditions were perfect for it – a cold winter and more of us confined to our homes due to the pandemic.
Whilst we might have been in the ‘perfect storm’ for these damp conditions to occur throughout last winter, this is unlikely to be an isolated event as fuel poverty continues to increase as we strive to make our buildings more airtight and, continue to allow the installation of poor quality ventilation systems.
PCA’s Building Moisture Index (BMI) Technology
However in truth, our concerns stretch further back than this. We have been reporting that our members have seen an increase in problems associated with high humidity for a number of years now. In fact, it was this that led us to commence our Knowledge Transfer Partnership with University College London – a project that enabled us to create our ground-breaking Building Moisture Index (BMI) Technology an innovative diagnostic & reporting system that can be used to record and understand indoor environmental moisture conditions.
Mould growth and condensation are often described as an imbalance in the internal environment and this technology helps to identify the precise cause of the problem, and helps to focus a remediation strategy or assist in disputes.
A greater need for understanding damp and ventilation
However acceptance of this situation is beginning to wane. Last week The National Housing Federation, which represents more than 800 social housing providers issued an apology and admitted that these conditions “are just completely unacceptable”.
Clearly there is a growing issue here and perhaps an even greater need for understanding, especially when it comes to ventilation. For a number of years we have been raising concerns about sub-standard ventilation installs. Unfortunately its seems far too often that people don’t understand the minimum requirements for ventilation systems, including those outlined in the buildings regulations.
Develop knowledge through PCA training, guidance documents and CPD webinars
So where can you go to find out more about ventilation best practice? A great place to start would be via our range of ventilation-related technical documents, which are based on accepted standards across the industry.
Alternatively if you want to get more ‘hands on’ then our Masterclass in Residential Ventilation provides surveyors and property professionals with the skills and confidence to make informed evaluations of ventilation in homes. This one-day course is open to both PCA members and non-members alike and provides a detailed analysis into retrofit ventilation systems and associated industry regulations.
PCA training team are here to help
Our training team can assist with training requirements and answer any questions you may have about both our classroom-based, and our online training provision. Get in touch with them direct on 01480 400000. Alternatively to find out more about the course, simply click on the button below.
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