Talking condensation, damp and mould at the NHMF
Switchee co-founder and managing director, Adam Fudakowski, attended this year’s National Housing Maintenance Forum conference, 24- 25th January 2017, a two-day event dedicated to housing maintenance which covers strategic issues and promotes best practice.
At this year’s NHMF conference, I helped deliver a workshop on condensation, damp and mould, chaired by Stephanie Lloyd-Foxe, project manager for Magna Housing Association.
Other speakers included Peter Rickaby, director for Rickaby Thompson Associates, and Simon Jones, commercial director for the UK and Ireland for Aereco Ltd.
During the session – entitled ‘Banish condensation, damp and mould’ – we looked at the issues within social housing and showcased a range of the new technical solutions which are helping landlords tackle the problems more efficiently, while improving resident engagement and maintenance approaches.
I took the opportunity to demonstrate how smart technology is at the forefront of damp and mould prevention. Equipped with sensors that measure the home environment, including temperature, pressure and humidity, Switchee allows landlords to remotely access previously unavailable data to reveal how a property functions.
By analysing this insight, landlords are able to determine which properties are most at risk of mould growth – a pervasive issue for many housing associations that causes damage to properties, has potentially serious health implications for tenants and is expensive to treat if left unchecked.
Switchee’s proprietary algorithms give indications of the likely cause of mould growth and, depending on the cause, suggest appropriate intervention such as additional ventilation or resident education.
In the session, I explained how technology providers and landlords are coming together to harness the Internet of Things to deliver services more efficiently, reduce repair costs and enhance the tenant experience.
With local authorities and housing associations facing budget cuts as a result of the one per cent rent reduction, it’s vital to be able to detect problems such as condensation, damp and mould as early as possible.
I believe the ultimate aim of IoT technology in social housing is to drive a shift from costly, time intensive reactive repairs to more proactive maintenance, in order to generate significant, long-term benefits for landlords and residents.