Ventilation in social housing: NICE guidelines advise change

Vital ventilation changes in the social housing sector have been highlighted in the publication of the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence’s (NICE) draft Guidelines on Indoor Air Quality. The consultation document ‘Indoor Air Quality at Home’ calls on local authorities to adopt new indoor air quality (IAQ) strategies, urging them to be aware of the air quality in their residents’ homes in order to reduce exposure to indoor pollutants and so help protect tenant health.


The Guidelines highlight the negative impact of activities such as cooking, cleaning, showering, drying clothes and burning candles, which all significantly decrease IAQ. To combat this, NICE advises the use of mechanical ventilation, in addition to natural background ventilation, to improve air quality and fight against condensation and mould.

“With 65% of homes in the UK suffering from poor IAQ as a result of inadequate ventilation the NICE Guidelines come at a crucial time. Poor IAQ costs the UK over 204,000 healthy life years, with 45% lost to cardiovascular diseases, 23% to asthma and allergy and 15% to lung cancer1. It is therefore vital for Local Authorities to review the ventilation in all their properties to help protect resident health,” says Jenny Smith, Head of Marketing at Vent-Axia. “There are a wide range of options available to improve ventilation in the home but social housing has individual needs. At Vent-Axia we can offer expert advice through free site surveys to determine the ventilation required for a home, helping social housing providers select the right solution.”

The NICE document recommends other ways of improving IAQ in social housing too. The Guidelines suggest that identification of poor IAQ via local inspection protocols could be used to help other homes at risk. It also encourages local authorities to work with people such as housing officers, environmental health, midwives, social workers and care workers to use existing home visits to identify those at risk from poor IAQ in their home and to develop a referral process when poor IAQ is identified by these workers. In addition, local authorities should give general advice to their residents on how to improve IAQ and ventilation, as well as advising them on how to report inadequate ventilation in their homes.

Ventilation solutions from Vent-Axia

To help protect health in the home Vent-Axia has been working hard to provide ventilation solutions developed specifically to improve IAQ in social housing. Continuous ventilation systems are designed to work with the natural air infiltration, controlling the air path through the home, preventing the migration of damaging humidity and pollutants, such as VOCs. For new builds, Vent-Axia’s Sentinel Kinetic mechanical ventilation with heat recovery (MVHR) system boasts an impressive 94% thermal efficiency. For refurbishments, there are number of options including: Positive input Ventilation, such as Vent-Axia’s Lo-Carbon Pozidry Pro PIV and Lo-Carbon PoziDry Compact Pro; and the Lo-Carbon Revive, an intelligent filter-less fan.

As ventilation experts, Vent-Axia offers a raft of tools to help landlords meet the NICE Guidelines. This includes free no-obligation site surveys where ventilation consultants can provide landlords with advice to determine the ventilation required for a home, plus supply a report outlining recommendations. This is a valuable service since it can help landlords deal with condensation and mould complaints; provide due diligence in the form of a report; ensure the correct product is installed; and provide expert ‘know how’ on curing the property.

Vent-Axia also provides a supply and fit service, so whether landlords need planned maintenance of housing stock or require a rapid response to a disrepair case, qualified ventilation experts can carry out the ventilation installation. This gives landlords the peace of mind that a condensation and mould problem in their housing stock can be quickly and effectively solved.

Landlords looking to improve the ventilation in their properties can find out more by visiting the Vent-Axia website. Designed to offer ventilation information and solutions, the site contains a huge vault of free resources. Providing the social housing sector with vital guidance on how to avoid or combat condensation and mould by IAQ, the website offers visitors a route to their individual ventilation solution. It also has a section for private landlords which includes information on curing/preventing condensation and mould and creating healthy homes for residents.

Vent-Axia website