Chief Executive outlines robust damp and mould process

Nicholas Harris has written to local authority leaders.

The Chief Executive of Stonewater Group outlined Stonewater's robust damp and mould process and offered assurance that the housing association responded in a full and transparent manner to the Regulator’s request for information in the wake of the coroner’s findings into the appalling death of Awaab Ishak last month.

Stonewater has already done a great deal of work in response to damp and mould cases. Following the events in Rochdale, it is critical that processes are scrutinised and refined to prevent a similar tragedy happening again.

Proactive reviews and audits

In August 2021, Stonewater launched a new Damp and Mould Process, embedded throughout the organisation, to support customers who may be experiencing, or be at risk of experiencing, damp and mould in their home through a four-stage framework.

Each stage of the framework features a range of targeted, effective and proportionate interventions that Stonewater colleagues and contracting partners are empowered to implement to ensure all customers are supported in the most appropriate ways to address or avoid damp and mould in their homes. These range from general guidance and minor repairs to large scale remedial works where required. To ensure full visibility is maintained, we have introduced Power BI reporting and have regular meetings with contracting partners to ensure priority cases are addressed as quickly as possible.

Piloting new approaches

Stonewater has also put in place proactive measures to identify homes likely to be susceptible to damp and mould. The installation of humidity monitors provides data-driven insight into how homes are used and the root causes of damp, mould and condensation. In new build homes, it is introducing Switchee sensors to improve data and customer communications and, where appropriate, installing Wondrwall technology to drive energy efficiency. 

Dedicated Damp and Mould Taskforce

Stonewater has created a cross-directorate taskforce to tackle the inevitable increase in damp and mould queries since the events in Rochdale. In addition to the taskforce, Stonewater has introduced a Special Projects team within the Homes (asset management) directorate and procured a specialist damp and mould contractor (QEST).

All Stonewater frontline colleagues have already received intensive damp and mould training and its wider colleague base are encouraged to undertake specialist e-learning on the issue.  

Stonewater realises customer engagement is key to tackling damp and mould and as such speaks to customers on a regular basis through live social media discussions, works collaboratively with its Customer Scrutiny Panel and, most recently, conducted a survey to increase its insight of customer perceptions relating to damp and mould.

Commenting on the Regulator’s request for information from all housing providers to demonstrate their response to damp and mould is appropriate Nicholas Harris, Chief Executive of Stonewater Group said:

“It’s a fundamental role of all housing associations is to provide affordable, safe and warm homes to customers. The social housing sector is facing increased scrutiny into its damp and mould track record and it’s important it receives thorough scrutiny to ensure Awabb Ishak’s tragic death was not in vain and something like this doesn’t happen again."

Our website has information on how damp and mould can occur and advice on how to prevent it. If customers are experiencing damp and mould in their home, please get in touch with us at customers@stonewater.org.