The World Health Organisation states that somewhere up to 50% of spaces in which people spend prolonged period of times, are damp. This includes office space and working environments. It is immoral to force employees to work in this kind of environment, as it can be extremely damaging to employee health. However, damp proofing your office space and tackling the cause of a moisture problem could help your business save a lot of money for two reasons.
Firstly, damage from damp can become quite costly to repair, if it is left unchecked for an extended period of time. This is especially true for penetrating and lateral damp concerns, which can be the most destructive especially to the exterior of the building.
Secondly, and this is perhaps the more overlooked problem, is the cost of sick pay and leave allowance taken as a result of damp. Mould can release toxic substances into the air that weaken the immune system and have their own set of symptoms:
- Eye, nose and throat irritation
- Coughing and wheezing
- Asthma attacks
- Allergic reactions
It is important for the health of your employees and the future of your business that your workspace is watertight and secured from moisture.
Before you move into a new office space, make sure you have a damp survey. A specialist can investigate the property and outline any concerning patches and areas within the property. This could help you prevent all types of damp and will ensure that your employees are never put at risk. Most damp surveys are free and will give you peace of mind and a comprehensive outline of any work that is required in your office space.
Many offices, particularly those in high rises or industrial blocks do not have windows that open. For efficiency, they also have double or triple glazing to help make the space more efficient and comfortable working environment. However, this can cause damp issues because it limits the ventilation within the space. Air needs to circulate to avoid rising damp and condensation from accumulating. If you are unable to install opening windows because of health and safety, you should investigate condensation control units. These are designed for commercial and domestic properties to help limit the amount of water in the air that will contribute to damp growth in your office.
Dry Your Clothes
In the winter months or during the rainy season, wet outwear, shoes and umbrellas are brought into the office space. Without proper ventilation and drying methods, this can cause condensation which can contribute to the development of mould. Consider getting a heated drying rack to treat your team and look after your office space.
Caring for Risky Areas
Damp is more likely to occur in kitchens, bathrooms and basements. One of the easiest ways to keep your office free of damp is to make sure these spaces are damp proof. For example, insulate cold surfaces, pipes, and windows. If there are no fans or ventilation directly linking to the outside, this should be addressed at the first sign of condensation.
If you are worried about damp at your office or business site, it is imperative you address the concern immediately. Not all mould is easy to identify, but for rising damp (the most common), you are likely to see discoloration or spots on the walls and floors as well as a musty smell in the air. Consistent condensation is also an indication that damp is silently developing. Take these measures to protect your business and staff before it becomes an extreme health and safety concern.