Specification tool to help social housing providers comply with Homes Act

Specification tool to help social housing providers comply with Homes Act

Condensation and mould continue to be a growing concern in properties across the UK and are only set to worsen, according to air quality experts at Homevent, part of ELTA Group. 

This echoes the findings of a recent survey from housing charity Shelter, which found that poor housing is harming the health of one in five tenants in England. A quarter of respondents said they were affected by damp and mould, ultimately stemming from a combination of poor ventilation and being unable to heat their homes. 

With the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act having been in place for over 18 months now, Paul Harrington, Head of Residential Sales at Homevent says more needs to be done to help providers comply with the latest regulations and improve the standard of homes: “The ongoing energy crisis is set to exacerbate a typically challenging few months when it comes to ensuring homes are well ventilated, all while remaining warm enough for tenants. The fact that this is set against the backdrop of the Homes Act, which places more onus than ever before on landlords to ensure adequate ventilation, highlights the serious challenge that faces housing providers this winter.”

In response to this growing crisis, Homevent has developed its industry-first SELECTAPIV, a tool that will help social housing specifiers select the correct Positive Input Ventilation (PIV) units. 

The use of PIV units is well established in social housing. When correctly applied they offer high levels of ventilation effectiveness and can significantly improve indoor air quality. Intelligent PIV systems are also becoming more popular due to their ability to automatically adjust airflow depending on the moisture content and temperature of incoming air during the winter months. This ensures optimal thermal comfort for tenants, without incurring the high energy costs associated with using a heater. 

The SELECTAPIV online tool asks the user several questions about the dwelling, the occupants, and the type of PIV unit they require. It then identifies an appropriate PIV unit to provide the ‘Whole Dwelling Ventilation Rate’ and, if required, any PIV system enhancement extract fans that may be required in ‘wet rooms’ of the dwelling to optimise performance. 

Paul continued: “Despite their proven efficacy, detailed independent guidance on the correct design, product selection, installation and commissioning of PIV systems is very limited. The fact that PIV has never been one of the ‘systems’ included in ‘Approved Document F: F1 Means of Ventilation’ remains a mystery, given we have witnessed first-hand how it has performed better than other systems which are. 

“On the few occasions that PIV systems are reported as not performing as well as expected, it is rare for it to be related to a mechanical or electrical product failure. It’s almost always down to the system not being designed, installed, or commissioned properly. Using SELECTAPIV will ensure PIV systems supplied by Homevent will perform as expected. 

“There are already numerous ventilation system design tools used by commercial and industrial ventilation system designers. Tools to help residential ventilation system designers are long overdue, and hopefully SELECTAPIV is the first of many.”

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