I was down at the PCA headquarters in Huntingdon on Tuesday. The one day course was for already qualified and experienced surveyors, looking to delve deeper into condensation and sharpen their skills in respect of mould.
Condensation and mould go hand in hand of course and the PCA have recognised that the issue causes misery and expense for very many people. Unfortunately the growth in mould problems, which are part and parcel of modern living, is an area attracting bogus ‘mould inspectors’, and crack-pot ‘damp solutions’. Consumers need correct advice and real expertise.
This is why the PCA have devoted time and effort to refining their condensation and mould course to an advanced level.
Well known expert Graham Coleman is behind the technical input with help from Steve Hodgson and Graham’s growing band of helpers around the country, who supply real data from effected and ‘healthy’ houses, so that Graham can test and fine tune diagnostic tools for members to use.
The morning was devoted to a refresh of the sound fundamentals of psychrometrics and mould physiology, followed by an afternoon of data analysis and presentation using spread sheets and graphs.
I’ve touched on the value of humidity and temperature data logging before and use it throughout the winter months for local authority and private landlords in particular. The standard data available from logging is so very useful in determining the real causes of mould growth and has helped many clients and tenants. However, Graham had designed a protocol whereby predictive parameters can be applied quickly and easily, showing how the measured internal environment can be predicted to change. His spread sheets can demonstrate the effect of heating and cooling, based on existing ventilation and moisture production.
This enables any recommendations surveyors make to be better targeted to get at the real underlying problems; heat, moisture production or ventilation. Temperature is a variable which can play real havoc with RH and lead to some misleading indicators using ‘standard’ data logging interpretations. High RH can lead to mould, that’s true, but is the high RH due to factors other than poor ventilation? Of course it is, and the more data and better tools there are for helping analyse this the better. It really is true that knowledge is power when it comes to damp – particularly mould and humidity.
I thoroughly enjoyed the day and it was another chance to meet up with like-minded specialists from the PCA’s membership, who take time out to get involved and improve their knowledge. I’ve taken away lots of new ideas and the day will pay dividends for me and for my clients over the coming condensation season.
Thanks go to the Property Care Association, who have really put lots of effort into broadening and deepening their training courses.