Damp and mould are a perfect storm and have always caused a headache for housing associations. Produced by excess moisture, they get progressively worse the longer they are left, having a serious impact on residents’ health and wellbeing. This often leaves tenants struggling with the conditions and in serious cases can lead to loss of life.

As residents spent more time indoors during and after COVID-19, the awareness surrounding mould issues has risen significantly. Coupled with the ongoing cost of living crisis, where tenants are struggling to heat their homes and create conditions that prevent mould growth, it’s more important now than ever that this issue is taken seriously.

The government and regulators are now planning to require higher standards of care from landlords in relation to dampness and mould. This means that all reported dampness and mould problems will need to be properly assessed and remedied, as well as ensuring that new buildings are developed with proper ventilation in mind.

What are ROCC and Purrmetrix doing to help?

At ROCC, we recognised the need to provide an automated solution that enables housing associations to proactively combat dampness and mould through the use of environmental monitoring, coupled with human-free work planning and management. This is why we chose to partner with Purrmetrix, a dynamic company that makes smart monitoring tools to help landlords better understand the performance of their housing stock.

Purrmetrix uses humidity, temperature, CO2 and energy sensors to deliver actionable information on issues such as heat loss, condensation/mould remediation and how effective heating systems are. Using their Warmscore toolset of sensors and web analytics to benchmark the performance of homes, housing associations are able to understand where investment and support are most needed.

Relying on real measurements of conditions in the home, landlords and tenants are able to get a better understanding of any problems and gain more confidence that they have got good solutions to remedy those issues.

Commenting on the partnership, Peter Luck, Business Operations Director, ROCC, said: “I was immediately impressed by the Purrmetrix monitoring solution when I came across them several years ago, and later spending time with the CEO Hermione really confirmed to me that they were an organisation that closely matched our values and commitment to providing outstanding solutions and service to the housing industry.

“We began trialling how our solutions could complement each other and what challenges we could help our customers meet, and early signs were extremely positive. Fast forward to today and the ROCC Purrmetrix solution combination is a perfect fit to enable housing associations and local authorities to really proactively tackle the challenge of dampness and mould.

“What we have is a completely hands-off, human-free monitoring, diagnosing and reaction solution. The benefits to landlords and more importantly to their tenants are huge.”

Hermione Crease, CEO, Purrmetrix, commented: “Our data is often used to inform decisions around repairs and ROCC is a natural partner for us. Their platform is already the best end-to-end solution for managing housing repairs and maintenance, plus they have always been innovators.

“We think that extending what they do to incorporate monitoring and housing diagnostics offers rich potential for streamlining operations and driving better returns from investment in repairs and retrofit.”

How does the integration work?

Damp conditions encourage mould growth. This is why Purrmetrix sensors benchmark where and when in the home dampness is occurring, which helps diagnose the source of the issue and demonstrate where solutions have been successful.

However, these are not the only clues that are helpful. There are a number of issues that might make a home more vulnerable to dampness – for example, high heat loss can result in cold fabric which will cause more water vapour to condense. If there are low levels of ventilation, then this means that wet air is not removed from the home quickly enough.

A full Purrmetrix deployment looks at issues such as heat loss and ventilation, alongside condensation risk, to give a rounded picture of the risks in the home and what the nature of the problems may be.

When talking about the Purrmetrix home sensors, Hermione Crease, said: “We provide a set of temperature and humidity sensors that can be deployed across the home, including in obvious damp troublespots like bathrooms and kitchens.

“These report data on a uniquely high resolution – every 30 seconds – and the combination of multiple points of measurement and high-resolution data give us significant insights into localised problems such as condensation risk.

“Because our tools are very flexible and can be deployed anywhere in the home for as long as needed, they can be used to investigate specific problems and integrations of other data feeds.”

How this integrates with ROCC is that we then install the sensors in the homes our customers manage and tolerances/trigger points would be set up in advance to capture a range of information – from heat levels to humidity and mould detection.

Purmetrix is able to know which alerts have been raised and ROCC would then in real time diagnose what the issue is, who is needed to inspect or carry out remedial action, when they are free to visit and then handle the communication out to the tenant to confirm a visit is needed.

Real-time monitoring of the issues found and works needed means the solution can fully manage the works until they are completed to everyone’s satisfaction and the risk of future problems has been eradicated.

What does the future hold?

Since partnering with Purrmetrix, we have been delighted with the progress we have already made and how our expertise has come together to offer a market-leading solution for housing associations looking to combat dampness and mould effectively.

When discussing the future, Ronni Patel, Head of Products, ROCC, stated: “We will continue to expand our usage of and integration to all things IoT and look at further sensors that would improve and enrich the lives of residents who live in the homes of our customers.

“We could develop check-in systems which ensure the safety of the vulnerable. For example, if the bathroom sensor light has not been triggered in a given timeframe, then this could trigger a call or home visit to ensure everyone is ok. We could also link to a medical device. The world is our oyster really!”

For more information about our damp and mould prevention measures or any other housing maintenance software solution needs, make sure you get in touch with a member of our team today.