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Cornerstone

 

Telephone: +44 (0)344 846 0955

Email: info@cornerstone-lid.co.uk

Website: https://cornerstone-ltd.co.uk/

Protecting Lives at Home

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Proven Data Interpretation

Structural Behaviour Knowledge

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Independent Causation Experts

0344 846 0955

To enhance inhouse knowledge, reconnect with residents and demonstrate Housing Ombudsman and Government compliance, contact us today for proven Confidence dealing with the issue.

David Bly – Managing Director

David has been involved with the property damage industry sector for many years encompassing the assessment and dissemination of key property damage causes. His experience aligns to understanding damp, condensation and mould related issues in structures combining all industry approved surveying techniques to deliver a bespoke solution clients and occupants demand.

Expert panel questions and answers for health Business Magazine:

1. What are the main causes of damp and mould in hospital buildings?
Firstly, it would be prudent to confirm that damp and mould are two separate issues. Damp, whether penetrating, rising or from a leak will readily show itself on a structure by either changing the colour, spoiling to paintwork, damage to plaster finishes, wallpaper blistering etc.

Causes would require aligned investigations and bespoke repairs in order to rectify the issue.

Mould is a symptom of a problem and, whilst there is a consideration a surface must be ‘damp’ for it to develop, it is worth noting nearly all outbreaks on a surface can be due to periods of surface condensation.

That being the case, the condensation is moreover a consequence of warm internal air coming into contact with the colder structures with causes of such likely due to inadequate air circulation and ventilation.

Whilst it is prudent to maintain an internal warmth for all building occupants, there is a requirement to change the air with drier external air for short periods and, this simple approach can significantly reduce the mould potential since it invariably requires a number of days of constant humidity conditions to initially develop. Changing the atmosphere can therfore aid breaking the humidity cycle.

2. What are the health risks of having damp and mould in hospitals, for staff and patients?
Mould spores are in the air all the time and, our personal metabolisms synchronise and manage them on an everyday basis. However, where mould develops in structures, the number of spores readily released is significant and can number in hundreds of thousands not visible to the naked eye.

Regarding mould being a health risk in hospitals for staff and patients, the quantity of airborne spores will be the same for all and, results in a reliance on our individual metabolisms for maintaining a healthy wellbeing. Therefore, patients will likely have compromises with their immune systems due to their present ailment and, this alone can lead to a potential deterioration in their ongoing health.

There is no safe level of airborne spores for this very reason and is why the most effective approach is to manage the internal environment and remove any outbreaks in a timely manner.

3. What are the best ways to prevent damp and mould, and also the best ways to treat it once has been identified?
The prevention of damp aligns to timely investigations and repairs whereas the prevention of mould aligns to adequate ventilation and changes in the atmospheric conditions to ‘break the humidity cycle’.

Dehumidifiers are useful for reducing the levels of atmospheric moisture however their operation also relies on manual emptying of containers as these also introduce moisture into the atmosphere.

Where windows can be opened for short periods, one consideration can be to open a minimum of two to create a cross-flow of air within the respective environment. At this time of the year, the external atmosphere in general holds less moisture in the UK than it does in the summer. However, we don’t tend to experience mould issues in the warmer months – because our windows are open upholding the movement of air through a building.

To effectively remove mould it is a significant consideration to use a fungicide or biocide that serves to kill the fungus and its mycelium (root system). Bleach and soap & water options do not conduct the latter in an effective manner such that, if the internal atmospheric conditions persist, mould can develop quicker than it took to originate. And, if using a sponge or cloth, it is recommended to spray the wiping element and not the affected structure because by doing this, the force of the spray can release significant numbers of spores into the atmosphere leading to an increased volume in the localised area.

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