Our Work

Ventilation in Social Housing

Carrying out ventilation surveys and fitting new solutions to decrease the risk of mould and damp

IMG 6880
  • Carry out extensive ventilation surveys
  • Identify the right ventilation solutions
  • Install new Envirovent ventilation systems
  • Provide ongoing ventilation maintenance

Damp and mould are common occurrences in the home, where condensation can build up in the colder months. However, the dangers of letting it spread unchecked were recently highlighted after the death of Awaab Ishak in 2022.

To prevent future unnecessary deaths, the government introduced Awaab’s Law. This law has made notable changes to legislation when it comes to damp and mould in residential properties. Going forward, it can no longer be treated as a lifestyle issue. Instead, landlords must fix any reported issues within a specified timeframe.

In addition, due to the cost-of-living crisis and the high cost of energy, damp and mould is likely to become an even more significant issue going forward. With people heating their homes less, lower amounts of moisture will remain in the air, leading to increased damp and mould.

To help protect their residents and stay in step with the law, Harlow Council reviewed how they respond to damp and mould issues in their social housing. Subsequently, they set a new budget of £102 million to be spent over the next five years on housing repairs. One of the priorities is damp and mould works, which will be delivered in addition to resident education explaining how damp forms and ways to reduce it.

To deliver on their pledge, Harlow Council got in touch with us to carry out ventilation surveys, identify improvements, and carry out the necessary ventilation and damp treatment works.

Damp and condensation

Damp and mould issues faced

The Challenge

To support residents, an extensive number of surveys had to be carried out. Both ventilation and damp surveys were needed, which would require careful coordination with residents.

Appropriate solutions would then need to be identified for each individual property. In some cases, creative thinking would be needed in order to navigate issues such as limited wall space for new ventilation installation.

Residents would also need to be educated on how to get the best from their new ventilation systems and how to reduce condensation in their homes. While helpful, ventilation will not completely remove the problem of damp.

We also needed to find a ventilation system that would be easy to install, maintain and replace with minimum damage.

IMG 0449

The Solution

To carry out the ventilation surveys, we called upon our own qualified Retrofit Assessors. To date, more than 200 surveys have now been completed. For damp investigations, we employed experienced assessors from chartered surveyors.

After completing the surveys, we carried out the necessary damp treatment works. In addition to ventilation instalment, we have also tackled rising damp, treated and repainted walls, and installed insulation.

For our ventilation systems, we chose from the Lifetime range of Envirovent. This means that the systems are easy to install and then replace when needed: the inner cassette is simply removed and a new one placed inside the unit. Most of the fans are made from recycled plastic too, which ties in with our sustainable aims as a company.

In homes where wall space is unavailable for ventilation systems, our qualified team found alternative solutions. These have included fitting systems that pass through the ceiling and into the loft, or fitting new window panels with holes cut in them to allow the installation of a unit.

Finally, our team contributed their knowledge to the education of residents about the development of mould and damp, explaining that insulation and heating is also needed to tackle it. In particular, they emphasised the efficiency of heating homes on a lower setting throughout the day to keep the air warm and dry.

The Results

By the end of 2023, 135 works had been carried out, with 40 properties needing full ventilation and damp treatment works. By the end of January 2024, we expect another 47 works to be finished.

Completed homes now have new Envirovent ventilation units installed, which will help ro remove moisture-laden air. Where necessary, other damp treatment has also been carried out to make Harlow Council residents safe in their homes.