Trade body calls for more stringent enforcement of Building Regulations to tackle issues with damp and mould in homes

Trade body calls for more stringent enforcement of Building Regulations to tackle issues with damp and mould in homes

A national trade body is calling for more stringent enforcement of Building Regulations to tackle increasing problems with damp and mould in homes.

The Property Care Association says that its 400-plus members are seeing a significant rise in problems with excess moisture in properties across the UK.

According to the trade body, ventilation is critically important to tackle problems emerging in a new generation of humid homes, but it says the current system is failing to tackle the issue.

Steve Hodgson, Chief Executive of the Property Care Association, said: “Stories in the media continue to highlight the issues of damp and mould in the home, most recently the tragic case of two-year-old Awaab Ishak, who, a coroner concluded, died as a result of a severe respiratory condition caused by prolonged exposure to mould in his home.

“While this is a rare, tragic case, the presence of damp and mould in homes is a common and growing problem across the UK with implications for the health of homeowners and tenants, which potentially affects both its fabric and the comfort and wellbeing of occupants if left unchecked.

“A number of factors are contributing to the rising trend, predominately linked with modern living. These include increased levels of occupation and rising fuel costs, as well as a drive to make homes more energy-efficient.

“Efforts to reduce air leakage through draught proofing and retrofit insulation, as well as the changing climate patterns — featuring warmer, wetter weather — are also of significance.

“We believe the frequency of problems associated with damp and mould from indoor air is only set to get worse, with unseen and as yet underestimated problems being created due to these new pressures on properties.

“Key to addressing the issue is the installation of appropriate and efficient ventilation. However, despite the impact that good ventilation can have on a property’s moisture levels, the current regulation and guidance setting out minimum requirements in homes is mixed and usually ignored or misunderstood.

“This needs addressing as a priority, as a great many of the problems faced could be improved through the correct use of appropriate ventilation strategies.”

Of concern to the PCA is the current format of Approved Document F, the Building Regulation which addresses ventilation in homes.

James Berry, the PCA’s Technical Manager added: “Approved Document F does not get the attention it deserves and is not enforced to the same extent as other areas of the Building Regulations, but the effects of failing to provide adequate ventilation should be taken much more seriously.

“We conducted a poll during a recent webinar on ventilation and over 72% of the delegates believed less than 30% of installs in new-builds complied with Building Regulations.

“It is our belief that unfortunately the situation is much worse in our existing buildings so, if we are struggling to get this right in new builds, we need to question where the infrastructure is in place to ensure quality and compliance across our existing housing stock.

“The scale of the problem of poorly ventilated houses is potentially hugely significant.

“This was one of the core reasons we set up our Residential Ventilation Group to promote greater compliance with Building Regulations when installing ventilation systems.

“Over the years the Residential Ventilation Group has pressed for more robust Building Regulations to tackle the issue and will continue to make the case for these changes to be made.”

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