With the devastating impacts of mould currently high on the media agenda, property owners are redoubling their efforts to monitor and tackle damp and mould. Ross McQueen, senior surveyor at MGM Construction, explains how we can help.

The cost-of-living crisis has left many vulnerable people unable to properly heat and ventilate their homes, leading to increasing issues with condensation. This was hammered home by the recent tragedy of Awaab Ishak – the toddler whose death was attributed to mould in his family flat. However, owners of large property portfolios have moved fast to boost their efforts in damp prevention and treatment.

I have worked for MGM Construction for over 30 years, carrying out surveys across the North-East for local authorities, housing associations and private landlords. MGM is also proud to provide preservation services to some of the region’s most treasured stately homes and listed buildings. We have never been busier as the industry responds to the current challenge.

Why surveys are important

Regular surveys of your housing stock are vital if you want to catch problems early and eradicate them before they become extremely expensive. For example, a broken gutter on the front elevation of a property will lead to rainwater soaking through the bricks. This will result in plaster damage and can lead to wet rot or dry rot, which can be horrendous in terms of the scale of work required to remedy it. Therefore, spotting the first signs of damp and acting accordingly can result in relatively low costs compared to the much higher expense of fixing a longer-term issue.

Main issues

Some of the main issues that we address are damp, timber preservation and repointing.

Damp can have a number of causes such as water ingress which we call penetrating damp, and condensation. Some of the key signs of damp are wet or damaged plaster, peeling wallpaper, and wet or damp interior walls. Black mould can also form on walls and windowsills, and rooms may start to smell musty. Condensation in particular creates an ideal breeding ground for black mould.

Penetrating damp often requires repairing the area where water is leaking into the property, along with areas damaged by water ingress. Condensation can be treated by lifestyle changes to improve humidity but also by installing ventilation systems or covering walls in anti-condensation paint.

Timber is impacted by either dry rot or wet rot. Dry rot in particular can very quickly spread through the timber, brickwork and masonry of your property, but both forms can be costly if you do not catch them quickly enough. We identify where the water is coming into the property and fix it, then remove all the affected timber, and sterilise the area to prevent rot from returning. 

Methodical approach

At MGM we have a tried and tested process, making it clear and easy for the customer to understand:

  1. Site survey 

We comprehensively survey the properties, identifying issues and root causes. We then make appropriate recommendations that are clearly laid out in a report to the client.

  1. Work commissioned

The client commissions the work at the agreed price.

  1. Project management

We will oversee every aspect of the remedial work to ensure that they are carried out with minimal disruption to the client and their tenants, as well as on budget.

  1. Site inspection

We revisit the site and only sign off the work once we are completely satisfied.

Trust the experts

We have been working in preservation for more than 35 years and have a highly experienced team. We are also accredited by the Property Care Association, which promotes best practice in our industry.