A holistic survey of dampness in a six bedroom residential apartment
As one of the most damaging failures that occur in buildings, dampness in all its forms affects both old and modern types of buildings. As an important function, buildings should seek to prevent water penetrations and give envelop to their occupants. This study adopted a holistic approach to dampness surveying to identify and document the areas in a six bedroom residential building severely affected by dampness. A case study approach which involves a three-stage protocol of damp investigation, thus visual inspection, non-destructive tests using a moisture meter and destructive testing was used in the study to identify and document areas in the building severely affected by dampness. The results from the visual investigation showed that dampness was seen on the external and internal walls of the building and was accompanied by symptoms such as damp patches in horizontal bands, blistering of paint, surface efflorescence, stains and in some portions mould growth. A further investigation with the moisture meter showed that the problem was very pronounced in the walls located in the western orientation. Also, destructive tests revealed that the dampness in the bathrooms and kitchen were due to plumbing leakages and rain water penetration respectively. Further research on affected buildings situated in different ground conditions is recommended. This study should serve as a platform for further studies to be conducted on the building in order to trace the visible evidence back to the actual seat of the problem. In so doing, it should provide a platform for all stakeholders in the construction industry to come together to address this common but dangerous problem.
Keywords: Dampness, residential buildings, plumbing leakage, rising damp, water penetration
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