The Property Care Association (PCA) has appointed building research academic, Dr Paula Lopez-Arce, to analyse the quality of air in homes nationwide.
Dr Lopez-Arce, who brings over 17 years experience of the built environment to the role, joins as part of an ongoing Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) between the trade body and the University College London Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering (UCL IEDE).
The two-year project will see UCL researchers use the PCA’s expertise to carry out substantial data analysis in British households.
The research will appreciate factors that impact on a building’s performance, such as the occupants’ lifestyle, the structure’s condition and climate.
With this information, the two parties are setting out to create a process to aid surveyors with diagnosing and repairing damp buildings.
Dr Lopez-Arce’s areas of expertise include moisture monitoring studies for the diagnosis of physico-chemical weathering processes of building materials, treatment of rising damp, moisture and salt decay.
“The main purpose of my role is to develop novel moisture assessment protocols for improved prevention, management and remediation of moisture related problems in buildings,” she said.
“In addition, a user-friendly diagnostic tool will be developed for streamlining data collection and analysis in support of the implementation of the developed protocols.”
Last year, the PCA recorded an increase in levels of excess moisture in UK properties, with the trade body saying many of its 400 members are experiencing higher levels of humidity and wetness in homes.
The association cites a range of factors for this, including increased levels of occupation and rising fuel costs, plus the drive to make homes more energy efficient.
Endeavours to lower air leakage by draught proofing and retrofit insulation, as well as the warmer, wetter weather of changing climate patterns are also of note.
The PCA says issues excess moisture can cause are poor air quality, condensation, dampness and mould; but more focus on effective ventilation can help deal with the problem.
Recently, the Residential Ventilation Group (RVG) was create to guide people to specialists who can provide residential ventilation solutions which work quickly and effectively.
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