Leeds City Council Damp Monitoring
Identifying the causes of damp to protect vulnerable tenants and inform council interventions
As part of the project investigating the condition and damp issues in Leeds City Council owned homes, Leeds Sustainability Institute at Leeds Beckett University were commissioned to undertake a series of quantitative and qualitative research exercises. These were: airtightness measurement of dwellings, thermographic survey of dwellings, occupant interviews, and analysis of in-use internal environment data. Overall, the airtightness of dwellings in the research sample is not a major concern when considering their age and material condition. The key consideration, however, is that the values presented are for uncontrolled air movement aggregated across the whole dwelling. It is likely that air exchange in not occurring in a consistent way, with some areas potentially over-ventilating (e.g. windows, gaps and cracks) and some under-ventilating (e.g. wet rooms). It is for this reason that it is necessary to undertake a thermographic survey alongside the airtightness test when the dwelling is depressurised. The thermal surveys identified several commonly occurring issues with the building fabric, which may contribute to the formation of damp and mould. One barrier to tenants taking preventative action was a lack of capability due to faulty or non-existent mechanical ventilation systems. Although aware of risk, occupants reported very little guidance for damp prevention, suggesting a lack of knowledge towards both the cause and prevention of damp. Damp prevention guidance may therefore be effective in reducing damp occurrence.
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