Why is more focus required?
A growing population, high property value, housing shortages, and increased occupation density have contributed to the marked changes in the way in which we occupy homes in the UK. Alongside these changes other things have impacted on the internal environment of homes. The cost of fuel has risen rapidly. This has helped to drive measures that deliver greater fuel efficiency supporting international obligations on carbon reduction. Government backed programs that deliver insulation and draft proofing have also changed the ability for some buildings to shed atmospheric moisture.
PCA members understand the consequences of high humidity in homes, and deal with the consequences of poor air quality, condensation, dampness and mould, every day.
Moisture held in the air has always been of great importance to all surveyors. While the ventilation industry has moved a very long way to satisfy the needs housebuilders, people that have mould problems in older houses and flats still struggle to find practitioners that can provide detailed diagnostic evaluation followed up with accurate advice on improving ventilation.
Establishment of a new Residential Ventilation Group (RVG)
In order to help remedy this and ensure the issue of domestic ventilation in older buildings is spotlighted, the “Residential Ventilation Group” (RVG) has been formed. This working group will complement existing sectors of PCA membership bringing greater awareness and focus to the subject of ventilation in residential properties.
The Association believes that the frequency of problems associated with damp and mould resulting from indoor air are set to get much worse. The almost uncontrolled and irresponsible rush in recent years to install insulation quickly, coupled with the drive to eliminate “unwanted drafts” in older buildings is creating a huge problem. Pressure of occupation on housing as well as the cost of fuel is set to move in one direction and with the promise of new initiatives to fund retrofit insulation of the horizon we see this source of problems growing.
Understanding how to balance, moisture production, insulation, energy input (heat) and ventilation as well as a good technical understanding of the science of air moisture and condensation is the key to eliminating condensation and mould. The surveyor can usually provide definitive advice on moisture production, heating and ventilation but have traditionally ether passed the responsibility for the design of improved ventilation to a jobbing electrician or have taken a punt on what they think is probably right. We think this must change.
The Residential Ventilation Group will provide a resource for homeowners
The RVG will work with members to highlight the benefits of using skilled and competent professionals when considering air management in existing homes. It will provide direction and a resource for homeowners and will encourage them to partner with companies and individuals who specialise in providing the most appropriate and reliable solutions based on good diagnostic investigations and industry best practice.
For the first time consumers, landlords and tenants will have the opportunity to find specialists that can accurately diagnose the causes of all forms of building dampness and be assured that the products and services they deliver are correct and appropriate for their needs regardless of the cause or nature of the damp problem.
Codes of Practice:
More documents including best practice guidance is available in the Residential Ventilation Technical Document Library.
Apply for Ventilation Contractor Membership
Any PCA Members who would like to be involved in this group are encouraged to contact James Berry, Technical Manager (e-mail: James@property-care.org).