June 21, 2024 10:46 am

Insert Lead Generation
Nikka Sulton

A national trade group is advocating for stricter regulations to protect people from the dangers of damp and mould in homes.

The Property Care Association stresses the need for better measures to ensure that ventilation systems function effectively, safeguarding both properties and residents from the problems caused by indoor moisture. Damp and mould can lead to unsightly damage and serious health issues, making proper ventilation essential.

Chief executive Sarah Garry highlighted that while significant attention is given to vehicle emissions and their impact on air quality, there is an urgent need to focus on the air quality inside homes. She stated: “There’s a lot of concern about the effects of vehicle emissions on air quality, but it’s just as important to consider how our homes are affected by poor ventilation and moisture issues. We need regulations that ensure homes are equipped to deal with damp and mould effectively.”

The association believes that without adequate regulation, many homes may continue to suffer from preventable dampness and mould problems, putting residents’ health at risk and leading to costly repairs.

“We frequently encounter stories of people whose lives are severely affected by the presence of mould and poor indoor air quality in their homes. These conditions can worsen respiratory issues, negatively impact mental health, diminish overall comfort, and lead to higher heating costs. Unfortunately, in some tragic instances, these problems can even have fatal consequences,” says Sarah Garry.

Garry stresses the critical role that effective ventilation plays in controlling issues related to dampness and mould. She highlights that many ventilation systems are installed by contractors who lack a thorough understanding of ventilation principles and the various regulations and guidelines that need to be followed. This lack of expertise often results in inadequate systems that fail to address the underlying problems.

She continues: “This problem is exacerbated by insufficient building control checks and a lack of enforcement action to ensure that ventilation systems are fit for purpose. The repercussions for residents are significant, as inadequate ventilation can lead to a range of health and safety issues. In 2020, research conducted among PCA members revealed that fewer than 30% of ventilation installations complied with Building Regulations, indicating a widespread issue with non-compliance and poor installation practices.”

Garry believes that increased regulation and oversight are necessary to ensure that ventilation systems are correctly installed and maintained. “Improving the standards for ventilation installations is essential for protecting the health and well-being of residents. Properly functioning systems not only improve indoor air quality but also help to prevent the development of damp and mould, which can have serious health implications.”

She concludes by calling for a concerted effort from all stakeholders, including contractors, regulators, and policymakers, to address these shortcomings. “By ensuring that ventilation systems are installed to a high standard and comply with existing regulations, we can significantly reduce the prevalence of damp and mould in homes, enhancing the quality of life for many people.”

“We hope that the new Building Safety Act will drive improvements, emphasizing best practices and requiring anyone involved in design, construction, and refurbishment to be competent in their roles,” said Garry. 

“Given the importance of ventilation and indoor air quality, this issue needs to be addressed at a national policy level. We need an agreed framework and robust reporting structures to ensure healthier homes and buildings.”

Garry believes that these measures are crucial for giving the public confidence that they will have the proper ventilation systems in place, significantly reducing the problems caused by damp and mould.

Labour recently announced measures to tackle damp and mould as part of an energy efficiency package, aiming to garner support for the upcoming General Election on July 4. At the same time, the National Residential Landlords Association is launching a new energy efficiency retrofitting course this summer in anticipation of stricter EPC regulations if Labour comes to power.

The association has announced that its course is available to both members and non-members. 

This course will provide practical advice for landlords on reducing fuel bills, addressing damp and mould, and understanding systems for insulation, heating, ventilation, and renewables.

Last year, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak decided not to pursue plans to require all rental properties to have a minimum EPC rating of C by 2028. However, there is a strong belief that if the Conservatives win the next election, they may revisit this issue.



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