An Indoor Air Quality assessment on a residential property

History of damp in a residential property

Bedfordshire was our next stop where we were instructed to carry out a building inspection and damp survey on a residential property. The purpose of our investigation was to evaluate the extent of the water damage to the property, identify the root causes of damp and recommend the most suitable remediation measure.

The property of interest is a two-bedroom ground floor flat with brick external walls, plasterboard internal walls and ceilings. The apartment consists of two bedrooms, two bathrooms a combined kitchen and sitting room and two storage cupboards. When carrying out our inspections and damp surveys we ensure that the inspection is undertaken causing the minimum possible nuisance and potential risk to the health and safety of the buildings occupants and site visitors. In order to carry out the damp survey our surveyor used a process called Moisture Mapping using specialist equipment called a Hydromette HB30 moisture meter and a Tramex Moisture Encounter Plus.

Fungal growth on plasterboard

Visual inspection and moisture mapping results

Our surveyor started the assessment in the master bedroom of the property. The room consisted of a carpet fitted to the concrete floor, plaster board walls and ceiling. Modern UPVC windows with trickle vents were installed throughout the property. The bedroom also boasted its own en-suite bathroom which was equipped with a fully operational ceiling mounted extraction fan. Visible fungal growth was apparent on the bottom parts of the plasterboard walls, on the back of the headboard, inside the bed, small areas around the window frame and on the blind. The total extent of fungal contamination in this room was approximately 5m2. There was no evidence of penetrating/rising damp or a service leak in this room or the adjacent bathroom.

Fungal growth on the inside of the bed

Recommendations to prevent the reoccurrence of fungal growth

Our surveyor concluded that the fungal contamination on the walls and furnishings was caused by condensation of water vapour on cold surfaces with poor ventilation. The main source of water vapour in this area is perspiration by the occupants during the night and an ingress of water vapour from other areas of the apartment. The condensed water creates favourable conditions for development of fungal contamination.

In order to prevent the development of fungal contamination in the bedroom, our surveyor strongly recommended to insulate the internal walls and window frame with a decorative insulation layer. They also recommended to install a silent extraction fan in the bedroom to increase ventilation rates and to install two passive vents into the bottom of the doors in the bedroom cupboard.

One of the apartments occupants is diagnosed as asthmatic which makes them highly sensitive to fungal contamination. It was our surveyor’s opinion that due to the extent of the fungal contamination, there was a high likelihood of regular disturbance and high individual sensitivity that the occupants are at increased risk to health. Due to this we strongly recommended that the fungal contamination was removed in order to prevent continuous exposure of the occupants.

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