Posted on 12th July 2023

Reducing Mould Risk in the Housing Sector

House mould

Nearly half-a-million homes in England have problems with condensation and mould. Innovative testing and assessment methods for air quality and ventilation of specific properties are essential to reducing the health risks to residents.  

New build regulations are clear that homes must meet the air tightness regulations set out by the Building Regulations standards, Part L1A. It states that no more than 10 cubic metres of air can escape per hour for every square metre of the envelope surface area.  

Unfortunately, similar regulations are not in place for existing houses, despite the huge impact this could have on Net Zero targets.  


Consulting on ventilation and air tightness 

Cornerstone Professional Services, a condensation control expert, is regularly faced with the realities of poor living conditions for UK residents. It wanted to provide better information to housing associations and homeowners to help improve ventilation and make airtightness the norm, rather than the exception.   

Cornerstone faced the challenge that most airtightness assessments of existing dwellings are not backed up by measurements and only include a general visual assessment of the building. Cornerstone wanted to provide better consultation services by understanding technically robust data from each home and provide suggestions based on this to its customers. 


Finding the measurement solution  

Cornerstone decided to invest in Build Test Solutions’ Pulse, a portable compressed air-based system that is used to measure the air leakage of a building.  

An unintrusive system when compared with blower door testing, Pulse allows the residents to remain in the property during testing. It is also recognised under both Part L1A building regulations and PAS 2035 retrofit guidelines as an effective air pressure testing methodology, which gave Cornerstone the confidence that it would deliver accurate data for each property.  

John Bradley, principal technical consultant at Cornerstone, said: “As regulation continues to develop, the industry needs to rely on technology that provides accurate data that can be used to prove effectiveness.  

“Pulse has tremendous potential for this, so we chose to get ahead of the curve and innovate as a business, providing our customers with the best consultation and data possible.” 


Clear results for customers

“We have found that Pulse has given us the exact results that BTS initially told us to expect. It is highly accurate, easy to use and detailed in its data.  

“The data enables us to consult with our customers to see if mechanical ventilation is the right choice for their homes because we are able to fully assess the existing air leakage from each property. We plan on continuing the use the BTS technology, specifically the mould risk indicator technology that is another issue for our customers with inappropriately ventilated homes.” 

Cornerstone also uses the Pulse data to fine-tune installed mechanical ventilation systems to help optimise the energy efficiency of the house. When buildings are constructed, the air permeability will shift over time as the house settles. To optimise the natural infiltration of air with a mechanical ventilation system, Pulse provides the data required to accurately adapt the ventilation system. It also reduces the chance that residents will turn them off to save energy and consequently live in poorly ventilated homes. Cornerstone uses the data from Pulse to help educate the residents about the benefits of optimising their ventilation systems and about the airtightness of their homes.  

“We provided more than just the Pulse kit to the Cornerstone team,” explained Luke Smith, managing director at Build Test Solutions. “We helped them to get started through initial training, before moving to ongoing support as they continued to use the system.  

“Cornerstone really values its consultation skills, so we have trained their whole team to ensure they provide the best experience to our customers.”