Mould in SFA/SSFA
For many years, families have come to AFF with concerns about damp and mouldy SFA.
In 2012, we decided to set up our own AFF Mould Database for families to record their SFA address so that we could start to build up a picture of the issue; we now have over 1,000 addresses on the database and through sharing this with DIO and CarillionAmey (CA) we have helped them to pinpoint ‘hotspot areas’.
As a result, DIO have committed £6 million over two years to upgrade and refurb those houses/estates worst affected.
DIO and MHS (now CA) also agreed a revised three-stage process for responding to reports of mould and damp, following discussion with the Families Federations:
- Family reports damp or mould to CA Helpdesk (0800 707 6000) and CA will send out a contractor to assess and do remedial works to treat the affected areas.
- Failure of (a) to permanently address damp issues, family reports to CA helpdesk, CA responds with a technical officer visit to assess extent of issue. Course of action agreed to make right- subject to (c) below – if issue is unique to single SFA on the subject estate.
Where (b) requires; professional survey outside of the experience and expertise of local CA or DIO staff, if the issue persists after remedial work is carried out, or the issue is determined to affect similar SFA by design on the estate, CA staff request a professional survey that provides detail on cause, options to correct and rough order of cost. In addition, a professional survey can be requested by DIO staff at any stage.
CA are to keep families informed at all stages of the process.
The new process means that a report of serious damp or mould will be inspected by both a DIO and CarillionAmey representative who will have access to damp meters and other technology for establishing the cause of the issue, and which will be recorded on a new common survey form.
This progress wouldn’t have been possible without families coming to AFF with the evidence, so please continue to register on the AFF database.
On this page:Mould in houses
How to deal with mould in your SFA
A mould success story
Have you ever wondered what causes mould? Mould needs moisture to grow and there are two underlying reasons why moisture/damp might appear in a house - structural reasons and condensation. Read more
Structural issues are related to the fabric of the building which means water or moisture is getting into the property. Examples of the types of problems that occur include:
- Water leaks from windows, roof, downspouts, guttering, internal plumbing and flooding
- Penetrating damp through walls • Rising damp – usually caused by non-existent or defective damp proof courses
- Wet or damp basements or crawl spaces
Condensation is caused by something happening inside the house, such as:
- High relative humidity in the air
- Too much water vapour or steam being generated through cooking, washing, showering and clothes drying
- Inadequate ventilation or not using the extractor fans, vents and windows that are available
- Inadequate heating or too much heat
- Inadequate cleaning and drying after major water leaks and bursts or floods
So, how do you tell whether the mould in your home is caused by a structural issue or from excessive condensation? Mould due to structural issues tends to appear in the following places:
In the house
- Walls under the bottom corners of windows
- Floors around toilets and under dishwashers
- Walls around un-insulated cold-water pipes
- Around the chimney in the attic
- Near damaged or blocked downspouts
- Basement - Bottom of walls, corners and floors
- Bottoms of walls - bridged or earth covered damp proof courses
In the basement
- Damp walls or floors
- Under boxes or carpets
- Cracks and holes
- Efflorescence (a harmless, white powdery deposit on the surface of the wall which is a sign of moisture within the home)
Mould from condensation tends to be seen in the following areas:
- On ceilings over the bath or shower
- Window glass, sills and frames
- Under or behind the toilet and cistern
- Exterior walls and tiled surfaces
- Windows, in the bottom corners, sides or on the glass
- Behind dressers and wardrobes on exterior walls
- Particularly on the top corners of the bedroom walls which are the furthest from any heating source
In the basement
- Areas where a dry wall is attached to an exterior wall
In Britain, condensation is mainly a winter problem when warm moist air is generated in areas like kitchens and bathrooms and then travels to colder parts of the house.
The moisture in the air comes from a number of sources within the house. Water vapour is produced in relatively large quantities from normal day to day activities - a five-person household generates about 10 kg of water into the air every day (before any heating) with the biggest sources being:
- Cooking 3 kg
- Washing and drying clothes 5.5 kg
Condensation issues can often be effectively dealt with by your family. DIO/CarillionAmey have produced a very good fact sheet, Combating Condensation, which shows what you can do to reduce condensation and tackle mould in the home.
However, in cases where mould is caused by structural or ventilation issues (such as insufficient extractor fans in bathrooms and kitchens), families should contact the CarillionAmey Customer Helpdesk as these causes will need to be dealt with by CarillionAmey.
Whatever the cause of the mould, the first time you notice it call the CarillionAmey Customer Helpdesk (0800 707 6000) and ask for someone to come and look at it. A Technical Officer (TO) will attend with a damp meter to assess whether the mould is caused by structural or general condensation issues. Read more
Following the assessment, there are three possible actions:
- The TO will confirm there are no structural issues causing the mould and provide some advice on different ways you could tackle the problem
- The TO may identify some aspects within the house that CarillionAmey can address that may help the situation, such as clearing or fitting trickle vents, clearing airbricks etc. The TO will also provide advice on how to prevent the mould from returning
- If the mould is believed to be caused by structural issues, the TO will request a further survey to produce a report detailing potential works and costs involved for DIO approval. In the meantime, the TO will provide advice on what you can do to alleviate the problem.
There is a lot that you can do as a family to reduce condensation and mould; however, if you have an on-going situation with mould and you feel that it has not been addressed properly up until now (e.g. the area has been treated and painted over but it keeps coming back), please call the CarillionAmey Customer Helpdesk and ask for a TO visit to reassess the situation for you.
You should also call the Helpdesk whenever you see the mould re-appearing so they can build up a record of the incidence of mould in your home. It would also really help CarillionAmey to know if this is a common problem on the street/estate as this could indicate a wider issue.
AFF would like to know the addresses of ALL SFA and SSFA which area affected by mould – please click to register your SFA/SSFA on our database.
For many years during the winter period, families approached AFF about mould in their SFA and the way it was dealt with by DIO and MHS.
In 2012, AFF decided to launch its Mould database in order to gather as much information about how many SFA experience mould and damp problems. Read more
The residents of Elm Hill enthusiastically got behind this project and 10 houses were recorded on our database. AFF approached DIO, who agreed to carry out intrusive structural checks on sample properties to ascertain the condition of the properties and to see if remedial works were required.
The investigations revealed that the properties were suffering from water ingress through poor roofs and cold bridging, resulting in damp and mould in upstairs rooms; so not a “lifestyle” issue after all!
As a result of the investigations, regional DIO staff were successful in bidding for funding to resolve the roofing problems (which will hopefully cure the mould issues which families in these houses have put up with for many years) and permission was granted for the houses in Elm Hill to be re-roofed.
As an added bonus funding was also found to improve other aspects of what were very tired houses so not only should these SFA now be mould free but families will see a marked improvement in some internal aspects of their houses such as new kitchens or bathrooms and new boilers.