Our MD and chief surveyor Bryan Hindle was on hand to present our Sheffield damp and timber survey training event last week.
The CPD event, held at the Sheffield Mercure Hotel, was specifically designed to give surveyors more detailed and valuable information to improve their damp and timber surveys across the board. The event was at the special request of several Sheffield and South and West Yorkshire based surveyors, who had attended Bryan’s structural repairs CPD event at our Sheffield office last year.
Bryan specially wrote two sessions for this event:
Damp and timber surveying goes hand-in-hand, but these are two different if connected disciplines. Continuing Professional Development (CPD), is crucial to any professional surveyor’s success and our CPD events have always received great feedback from attendees.
With over 30 years experience Bryan has a deep well of knowledge to pass onto delegates, so how does he choose what to include and what to leave out? “These guys are busy professionals and have businesses to run and surveys to do. If they’ve taken time out to attend, I have to make sure that their time is well spent” says Bryan. “I tend to barely touch on what they can read-up on, via textbook or Internet. I try to make sure they get real in-depth gems of knowledge; the sort which comes from doing the surveys day-in day-out and trying out various methods.”
This Sheffield session included a detailed section on mould and condensation problems. The practical outcomes resulting from social and housing changes were a focal point for Bryan’s lecture. His extensive collection of images from actual damp surveys in Yorkshire was used to guide delegates through the diagnostic process. He shared his dampness assessment methodology and demonstrated the various bits of equipment and references he uses. What works and what doesn’t work, was explained and those attending were able to handle the equipment and ask questions.
Measuring the internal environment is a must where mould is concerned and Bryan chose a case study which demonstrated the use of psychrometric data logging and use of a psychrometric chart to model planned changes in heating and ventilation regimes. References are important and Bryan gave attendees the details on where these apply and explained the relevance and usefulness of each, along with a list to take away.
Of course different moisture meters were on hand and Bryan gave insight into the pros and cons of each type; practical applications, differences on site and when to quote numbers and more especially, when not to.
With many years talking and explaining problems to homeowners and tenants, Bryan has developed a successful approach, which can help inform them and help surveyors and landlords get their messages across. He spent time describing this approach to the delegates, so they could incorporate any useful additional methods into their own work. The increasing role of thermography in building pathology surveys was covered. Bryan demonstrated the use of a combined moisture meter/hygrometer, wirelessly linked with a thermal imaging camera. This shows surveyors and clients where areas were at risk and in one case, where condensate was actually forming, in real time.
Where condensation and mould is concerned, the importance of heating and ventilation cannot be overstated. Bryan demonstrated the effects that just a few degrees centigrade can make to Relative Humidity and he also explained the importance of differential vapour pressures, when investigating these problems.
Building regulations, approved document Part F – means of ventilation was introduced. It’s a big document, though Bryan condensed the facts down to the most relevant points a competent surveyor should know. These included another selection of epic ‘fails’ where ventilation equipment had been installed incorrectly, badly specified or sabotaged by tenants or inept/ill informed installers.
Naturally, talk turned to ventilation extract fans, heating ventilation and air conditioning systems (HVAC). Brick-Tie have partnered with Nuaire to bring clients the best quality equipment and commissioning service. Nuaire’s northern England senior sales engineer Lindsey Parker was on hand with technical advice and a display of Nuaire’s latest state of the art kit, for solving and preventing condensation and mould issues. We’ve mentioned how impressed we are with Nuaire’s range of products, their attention to detail and cutting edge research and development, all made here in the UK.
A Damp and timber survey must include Rising Damp and Penetrating Damp too. Once more the details were sifted to give delegates good core knowledge on diagnosis. Bryan is proud of the company’s in-house damp diagnosis laboratory. It has all the equipment required to take damp diagnosis to the next level. Bryan explained the details of BRE 245 ‘Rising damp, diagnosis and treatment’, covering when these invasive methods are justified and the best way of approaching BRE245 from a practical perspective.
Whilst the CPD was mainly about diagnosis and surveying, treatments are sometimes needed. We had Safeguard Europe’s senior sales manager Robert Deary on hand with his selection of DPC creams and Safeguard’s revolutionary DryRod system. We’ve been Safeguard customers for over 28 years and in fact, Bryan used them prior to that, in his fathers damp proofing business. DryRod really is a game changer, just as DryZone was prior to that. “It’s always Safeguard who bring great innovations to the consumer and it’s true, that whilst they are not the largest manufacturer in the preservation sector, they really are the people who drive change – that makes them the biggest in my eyes” says Bryan.
Robert’s display included StormDry cream, which they introduced only a few years back and is now the number 1 water repellent cream for use against penetrating damp and for adding insulation to solid wall houses ? It is exclusive in that it is the only such product with a British Board of Agrement certificate covering it’s 25 years effective life – brilliant.
It was back to basics first for this CPD session. A taste of the sort of training all aspiring timber surveyors go through, with a reminder of what a fantastic material timber is and how durable and effective it is, when cared for. A quick guide covering cell structure, heartwood, sapwood, durability and permeability. Bryan prepared a short table comparing the durability and permeability (treatability) of the most common timbers likely to be encountered during damp and timber surveying in Yorkshire.
Fungal decay; types, identification and treatment was covered along with those insect pests Yorkshire’s surveyors are most likely to come across in their daily work. Once more the ‘textbook’ approach was ignored and Bryan concentrated on passing on the tit bits and hints that only an experienced timber infestation surveyor can know. How to tell if infestations are active? Where the decay is most likely? Types of timber most at risk and where to look for beetle infestation when time is running out! All priceless stuff.
Timber with active common furniture beetle within was not only shown on slides but was handed out from Bryan ‘decay box , a joist with living Dry Rot, complete with fruiting body and mycelium was passed around and also an ornate skirting board, bent and convoluted from the decay. These allowed surveyors to touch, feel and smell real decay. A microscope was already set up so delegates could see microscopic details in timber samples and also Common Furniture Beetle, Wood boring weevil and biscuit beetle together, all on the same slide – they won’t get them mixed up in future.
A display included our Sibtec digital micro-probe – FlIR420bx thermal imaging camera, Testo anemometer and a ‘speedy’ chemical moisture meter.
Feedback has been great and the boss is chuffed “What floats my boat is seeing delegates getting something for the first time, you know when you see the light come on? One young surveyor took my arm in the coffee break and said ‘I have an MA and yet that’s the first time I’ve really understood how to use a psychrometric chart and how useful it is to do so. Thanks’.”
A repeat attendee from past Sheffield CPD’s was local RICS surveyor Mike Kidder “I never miss one of Brick-Tie Preservation’s events, Bryan always delivers great content and I find that I learn something valuable, which I can use to help my clients, every day – great”.
We’d like to thank all those who attended the Sheffield damp and timber survey CPD event. Our special thanks go to Safeguard Europe and Nuaire too. Robert and Lindsey, your presence really added to the value for our delegates – cheers.
Our CPD events are free for built environment professionals. We only do this a couple or three times a year, so if you’d like to attend contact our manager Katrina Jackson for details and a place on our mailing list. Watch a video from a previous CPD event here.
Smaller ‘in house’ CPD sessions are available too by appointment at a few weeks notice – get in touch if you’d like us to come along and provide you with high quality CPD in your premises. CPD that will change the way you work and, add value to your existing services.
Subjects available include:
Of course it goes without saying that this level of expertise is available to our customers on a day-to-day basis. Call us for free advice or to book a damp and timber survey. 0114 224 5121 or our Leeds or York numbers (see above) for West and North Yorkshire
For anyone with a thirst for more details of advanced damp and timber surveying why not visit Bryan’s blog at preservationexpert? Bryan is also a big fan of fellow Property Care Association member Ross Charters, who also blogs on preservation issues. here’s a link to Ross’s excellent post on damp diagnosis using? BRE 245 “Rising damp diagnosis and treatment”.
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