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Examining indoor mould and moisture damage in Victorian residential buildings (in progress)

What we did and why

Mould in buildings is an indicator of the presence of an underlying moisture problem, which can occur because of water ingress through defective cladding, a plumbing failure or due to a lack of management of water vapour. Condensation in buildings is linked to negative impacts on human health and amenity, as well as building structural integrity.

Water damage routinely tops the list of defects encountered in buildings and in complaints to the VBA, claims to the Victorian Managed Insurance Agency (VMIA) and disputes to the Domestic Building Dispute Resolution Victoria. Wet areas and water proofing and drainage issues are commonly occurring areas of compliance risk we identify through the VBA’s proactive inspections.

To help the VBA understand the scope and causes of this problem and to identify opportunities for improvement or reform, we commenced a scoping study to obtain baseline data on indoor mould and moisture damage in residential buildings in Victoria.

What we have achieved so far

The VBA partnered with the VMIA and Victoria University to undertake this research. The research examines VMIA’s accepted claims against domestic building insurance, overlaid with building information from the VBA.

Due for completion in 2021-22, the research has provided early indicators, patterns and clusters of problematic building work that could result in indoor mould. Further analysis of these patterns and clusters will provide insight into practitioner (and tradesperson) competency or skills gaps and identify other potential underlying causes to this problem.

We have used these early insights to inform our proactive inspections and other regulatory interventions. Further insights from this research will present improvement opportunities for building design, construction, certification, legislation and regulatory oversight, and inform future research activity on indoor mould.