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Damaged Buildings by Design

The intent and purpose of our buildings to provide shelter and security, is often undermined by ignoring air.

condensate, mould, consulting engineer

Mosture causes mould and rots the fabric of the building, and designers take great steps to avoid ingress of rainwater, but that is half the story.

To understand the root cause requires a deep understanding of the air around us, air may not seem be an exciting topic, yet air can hide vast quantities of moisture.

One of the many properties of air is the dew point temperature, when air flows over a surface that has a temperature lower than the air dewpoint temperature, the moisture in the air is released as condensate over that surface.

condensate, mould, risk, consulting engineer

It is a common sight in air conditioned shops, for example, where the high humidity outdoor air will condense on the colder surfaces inside air conditioned rooms.

But condensation can also occur within the building structure itself, we term it Interstitial Condensation. Since it occurs inside the wall it is hidden, and only becomes apparent when damp and mould results.

Conducting a risk assessment at the design stage mitigates you risk, avoiding long term damage to the fabric of the building.

About the Author

John A. Herbert is a veteran engineer with more than 30 years engineering experience, educated in the United Kingdom he has worked across Asia for the last two decades engaged by international and local companies. He is a Hong Kong Registered Energy Assessor (REA) and BEAM Professional.

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