Evidence of damp in a residential property
From our experience it is very common for residential properties to suffer with damp and mould. This can be for many reasons including; poor indoor air quality, water damage from leaks and as a result of building materials not drying properly for example plastering. Our next client contacted us with concerns regarding water damage and fungal contamination and requested that we carry out a building inspection and damp survey.
The property of interest was 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.
Conducting the building inspection and damp survey
On the day of the building inspection, our surveyor inspected the property visually looking for any evidence of damp and mould. He then used specialist equipment called a Hydromette HB30 moisture meter and a Tramex Moisture Encounter Plus in order to carry out a process called moisture mapping. This allowed him to measure the amount of moisture within a certain area. Samples of fungal spores were also collected in order to measure the extent of fungal contamination. With all this information the surveyor is then able to come to conclusions and recommend the appropriate remediation measures to our client.
Results of Moisture Mapping and fungal spore traps
The fungal spore trap samples show that at the time of the assessment the overall concentration of airborne fungal spores in the indoor areas was significantly elevated in comparison to the existing environmental background. The overall concentration of fungal spores indoors ranged between 2610 and 6600 counts per cubic meter. The background concentration of fungal spores in the atmosphere at the time of the assessment was measured at 89 counts per cubic meter.
When inspecting the kitchen units they were in good condition with normal moisture levels and no signs of water damage. However it was a different story when we inspected the cabinets in the central part of the kitchen as they were affected by fungal contamination to the wooden back panels of the cabinets (see image above). Our surveyor came to the conclusion that this fungal growth was historic and not a new occurrence. The root cause of this is likely to be condensation and lack of ventilation behind the installed units. There was no evidence of service leaks, penetrative or rising damp in the rest of the kitchen area.
There was also evidence of fungal contamination on the walls in the living room and bedroom behind the framed pictures (see image below). The root cause of this contamination is again, likely to be condensation and poor ventilation between the picture and the walls. This fungal contamination was dry and there were no signs of condensation at the time of the inspection.
What did we recommend?
On completion of our building inspection and damp survey, our surveyor had some recommendations based on the results. He strongly recommended our client to clean all existing fungal contamination using localised HEPA filtered extraction and to clean the air in the property using HEPA filtered air scrubbers. The air scrubbers should be run for a period of 8 hours minimum. Due to the kitchen cabinets being in good condition they will not require replacing once the existing fungal contamination has been cleaned from them. When cleaning the fungal contamination it is vital that this is done using antifungal treatments in order to decontaminate and prevent reoccurrence.