Trade body calls for training and education to underpin Future Homes Standard success

A complete 360-degree approach to best practice, enforcement and education in ventilation is crucial to the success of the Future Homes Standard, according to a national trade body.

The Property Care Association (PCA) is calling for comprehensive training for ventilation installers, combined with mandatory post-occupancy testing and sign-off and education for homeowners to deliver the best outcome in the management of moisture in properties and avoid future issues with damp and mould.

The PCA has made the suggestions in its response to the consultation for the Future Homes Standard.

Sarah Garry, Chief Executive of the PCA, said: “Upskilling installers and Building Control Surveyors is essential to ensure they understand the design, product and installation of ventilation systems.

“We also believe that mandatory post-occupancy testing and sign off via Building Control or an extended Competent Persons’ Scheme would ensure ventilation systems have been designed and installed correctly.

“Introducing an education programme for building occupants, with clear, understandable documents, such as a Home User Guide and logbook, would give them the knowledge to maintain and use building services effectively.

“We believe that these three actions would offer a complete and robust approach to ensure ventilation is correctly specified, installed, operational and understood by building users.

“Without this approach, the good intentions of the Future Homes Standard will be compromised and homes, made airtight and energy efficient under the initiative, could be blighted by poor air quality.”

The PCA has pressed for ventilation to be included within Building Regulations for several years, to help ensure a minimum standard for installations.

It recently launched a new qualification, the Certificated Specialist in Dwelling Ventilation (CSDV), offering a benchmark for installers and building control professionals to provide better understanding of compliant ventilation systems.

Sarah Garry added: “The current mechanism for maintaining compliance isn’t working. Our research in 2020 among members revealed that they believed less than 30% of installations complied with Building Regulations, yet the health, safety and wellbeing of occupants should be the highest priority at all times.

“Trying to reside in a home affected by excessive moisture can exacerbate respiratory illness, affect mental health, diminish comfort and increase the cost of heating.

“As we live in increasingly airtight homes, the need for adequate ventilation has never been more crucial.

“We hope that Future Homes Standard will provide the catalyst for a complete overhaul of the current system and ultimately deliver better quality homes, now and in the future.”