Rochester Building and Damp recently conducted an inspection in a modern four bedroom Bluebell hill property.
Advanced stachybotrys growth was present within the lounge internal bay and along the party wall. The hallway stud partition had also been afflicted with mould growth, but more importantly saturation-level ingress was evident 350mm above skirting height and encompassing the length of the stud partition wall.
An online search of the property revealed it had been built in 2010; which is still considered new-build.
The inspection provided confirmation that the property was essentially hermetically sealed. A low-level ingress due to elevated external ground-level two years before had resulted in an incremental ingress affecting the lounge. This ingress was further exacerbated as a result of restricted ventilated; hence the advanced stage of stacybotrys growth.
The external ground-level was lowered and the stud-wall removed and replaced. When the stud-wall was removed, it was so thoroughly sodden that 12.5mm plasterboard partially disintegrated on contact. It should be noted that 50mm Kingspan insulation had been installed within the timber framework.
We located one louvered 100mm core-drilled vent in the kitchen as the only means of passive ventilation; this however, had evidently been blocked since construction, as empty discarded bags once containing bonding plaster had been pushed into the duct behind the louvered vent.
Following completion of works at this particular property, we were contacted by two neighbours. Apparently, a similar pattern of ingress and mould growth was evident in the two neighbouring properties. In both instances the elevated external ground-level had again caused substantial damage to the hallway stud partition. In addition to this, the 100mm kitchen vents were in actuality just the vent-covers screwed to the wall without a core-drilled duct exiting outside.
It’s quite disturbing to think all three of these properties had been so affected by damp in such a short space of time. It’s also worth considering if the properties had been built to older perhaps Victorian era specifications they would have befell such deterioration in just seven years.