Mould and flooding for the Property Care Association conference

The Property Care Association conference and AGM from Leeds

I recently had the great pleasure of welcoming my fellow Property Care Association members to Leeds for their annual conference.

The event was great as it once more highlighted the wide area of expertise within the PCA, its growing influence in the built environment sector and the willingness of the PCA to work with others to improve standards.

Property Care Association members attend Leeds meeting

The PCA members assemble from all over the country


A super spread of expert speakers were on hand:

Chris Netherton of The National Flood School was first up with a fascinating presentation on: flooding – the growing problem and how to remediate and protect against it.

Chris covered the various ways, which can be used to make properties flood resilient and flood remediation after the event. His huge experience was evident and the delegates were eager to hear more and I know, that because of this presentation more PCA members are considering taking on some further Flood School training, as I did four years ago.

National Flood School boss Chris Netherton

Chris Netherton awaits his turn as Steve does the talking…


Douglas Kent of SPAB – The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings gave the next presentation. Talking about dampness and preservation issues in historic fabric. Douglas is passionate about his work and that of the society and that came over clearly.

He also explored the obvious synergy between PCA and SPAB, who are two organisations dedicated, though in differing ways, to the preservation of buildings. Douglas was keen to point out that he is not one of the ‘Rising damp is a myth’ brigade, whilst making sure that SPAB’s views on unnecessary and invasive treatments was made clear. This is something we can all agree on and as he has been a judge on the PCA awards panel, he has seen the deep breadth and depth of quality and knowledge many of our members can bring to preservation, restoration and conservation.

Glen Wilson of well known company Munters concentrated on the nuts and bolts of drying flooded or damp buildings. A general session on humidity and sources of moisture was followed by a deeper dissection of drying equipment and methodology.  Desiccant dehumidification, hot air drying and refrigerant dehumidification were explored.

Mould was on the menu at the PCA conference in Leeds

Prof Magan tell the delegates about the real and mythical effects of mould.


Professor Magan and Dr Aldred of Cranfield University then explored Mould and the realistic health implications of them in the home and business. This was a super session also, with the spotlight on the rigorous academic research the university has been carrying out on the mould issue. Many myths about ‘toxic mould’ were blown apart and Prof Magan’s conclusion that mould treatment and sanitisation is often of secondary importance to finding the cause of growth and solving that, was music to the ears of my peer group (and me).

It was interesting to hear how ubiquitous mould spores are – in the air and on clothes all of the time every minute of the day.

Our final speaker was Tim Blackman of CITBConstruction Industry Training Board.

Tim gave a detailed talk of the training support, which CITB can offer, to member companies and how this had progressed over the past few years. This was well received also.

I for one can vouch for that improvement, now that at last we have been able to access NVQs dedicated to our specialist trade – such as Damp proofing, timber treatment, structural waterproofing and wall tie installations. The CSRT and CSSW are also accepted via the CSCS – Construction Skills Certification Scheme, so that specialist damp, timber and structural waterproofing surveyors like me carry dedicated cards for use on sites. This allows larger companies to check that our credentials are accurate, our qualifications recognised and we are safe to work on site. Moreover it also allows our team to access the qualifications ladder and gain recognition for their hard work.

This has been a long time coming but is fantastic and its why my small business is able to claim so many qualifications for my staff – these just weren’t available years ago – well done to Tim and his team.

Tim Backman at the PCA Yorkshire AGM

The CITB and Tim Blackman, working hard to improve training opportunities for PCA members


In the evening we toured the Royal Armouries and were treated to a Samurai demonstration before the awards dinner.


And finally, PCA awards were given to the members who excelled over the year!

I a delighted to say that my team won again this year – taking home the Property Care association ‘Contractor of the Year’ award – Sponsored by PAM TIES……. brilliant.

PCA awards in Leeds

Bryan and Julie surrounded by the supporting cast of Steve Hodgson (PCA ceo), Paul Hughes (PAM TIES sponsor) and Peter Macdonald (independent surveyor and awards judge)


The venue was full, showing just how many preservation companies are willing to take time off to develop new skills, gain knowledge and compete for awards – this year saw the most entries ever submitted.

I am chuffed that my good friends Annabelle and Dean of South East Timber and dampDave Cook of Cook group and Jackie and Andrew Shaw of Shaw Preservation also took awards home to their teams; for training and staff development, a commendation for innovation and a commendation for best employee respectively. My old colleague Russell Rafton took an award back to his DryFix team for ‘best employee’ award. My pal Ross Charters also took an award back to Complete Preservation for his technician who won ‘candidate of the Year’.

Wise Preservation of Scotland took the prize for innovation and for the second year running my buddies at Trace took the ‘Project of the Year Award’.

A further welcome event was Dave Cook’s appointment to the board of PCA for the coming year Dave is keen to help improve training and quality standards, following sterling service he’s given as a PCA examiner for CSRT and CSSW candidates – well done mate.

The bubbly flowed at the dinner and I was delighted to share a table with my old friends Martin and Fiona Hughes of Yorkshire Dampcourse – all in all a fantastic night. The PCA is the trade association for my industry and after the AGM and Conference it was proved once more that it represents the very best from around the country. I am very proud to be a member and am currently mentoring potential new members who are seeking to improve standards too.

If you want to know how my team have become so succesful have a look at my Brick-Tie Preservation web site.


  1. Thanks for the mention Bryan, I had a brilliant time and so did Simon. Keep up the good work… a true professional!

  2. Thanks for the mention Bryan and congrats to you and the team at BT !

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Copyright © 2010 Preservation Expert. Legal Stuff: All the advice and information in the posts on my blog is made in good faith and is based on my experience and knowledge at the time of writing. However, nobody is infallible and whilst I’m confident that most of what I write about preservation issues is accurate, there’s a good chance there’ll be an error or two somewhere. I do change my mind about stuff, as I gain more experience. In view of this you must make your own decisions on whether to follow any advice I write and think about this; I could be wrong. No responsibility will be accepted by the author for any losses anyone may suffer as a result of any mistake or for the consequence of any action you take as a result of reading this blog. If you do suffer a loss, resulting from anything I’ve written, a verbal heartfelt apology will be your only compensation.