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Report shows need for revised post-flood dehumidification strategies

Following warnings from government advisers on the need to ensure building resilience against changing climates, a humidity expert is warning of the risks ‘invisible water’ may have on premises as flood events increase.

The independent and influential Climate Change Committee (CCC) cited the need to ‘climate-proof’ the country in a new report, cautioning that global warming could cause billions in damage and criticising Government inaction. According to Ryan Stanley, Moisture Control Product Manager at Aggreko Northern Europe, ensuring effective post-flooding humidity strategies will be key to ensuring these sums do not rise further still.

“The CCC’s most recent report definitely makes for sobering reading, not just for facilities and site managers, but all sectors in the UK,” said Mr Stanley. “It goes without saying that climate change is the existential threat of our age, and action must be taken accordingly to combat its effects. However, the fact the CCC has highlighted we are even less prepared than we were five years ago is clearly concerning, especially as action can already be taken to mitigate damage.

“Specifically, though flooding may become more of an issue in the coming years due to climate change, by carefully considering the recovery and drying-out process, its after-effects can be markedly reduced. This, in turn, will help safeguard facilities and help owners and operators avoid heightened repair costs.”

Facility and site personnel often use heaters to dry out premises following flooding, removing moisture as quickly as possible. According to Mr Stanley, the rush to put things ‘back to normal’ may result in key steps being missed that could threaten the integrity of building materials and even occupant health. Specifically, he cites the issue of ‘invisible water’ that can soak into substances like wood, plaster and paint, and the negative, long-term effects it can have if not properly addressed.

He explained: “When it comes to drying out buildings and construction sites after flooding events, the quickest approach is not always the best. Though it is understandable may stakeholders wish to take swift action to remove water from their premises, simply blasting affected areas with heat can warp building materials.

“This increases the risk of failure in the long-term, leading to extra costs that could otherwise have been avoided. Furthermore, mould can grow during the heating process, placing the health of building professionals and occupants at risk.”

The use of dehumidifiers can help ensure optimum climate conditions during the drying-out process. Combined with a carefully considered moisture control strategy, building and site owners can ensure a controlled environment and help premises swiftly recovery without further long-term issues.

“Flooding is clearly a worst-case scenario for building and site owners alike, but as the CCC’s report makes clear, we should expect it to become more common in the future,” Mr Stanley concluded. “As such, it is crucial that key stakeholders are aware of the threat of ‘invisible water’ and best practice for safely drying out sites and facilities.

“By ensuring moisture levels are tightly controlled throughout this process, operations can continue as normal without compromising the integrity of building structures and materials. Hiring dehumidifier equipment on a temporary basis is key to addressing serious but intermittent events like flooding, allowing for a swift response without the financial barriers associated with purchasing permanent solutions.”

 

23 June 2021

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