Neglecting Window Maintenance: The Risks For Care Homes And Social Housing

Well-cared-for windows and doors play a prominent role in the health and safety of care homes and social housing. A regular maintenance and cleaning regime will help extend the life of these important assets and deliver a positive quality of life for residents. However, regular window maintenance isn’t simply an exercise in sound financial management and customer service but can also help mitigate the risk of two potentially serious hazards, which we will explore in this article.

1. Mould And Damp

Preventing the growth of mould in care homes and social housing should be a priority for all property managers. A mould problem, while posing a serious risk to the health of residents, does not mean that complete replacement of windows is necessary, in fact, window and door repair is often all that is needed, and it’s a much cheaper and less intrusive option yet will deliver effective results.

Inadequate window maintenance can have serious consequences, including the build-up of condensation and humidity, both of which stimulate mould growth and dampness. If windows are not properly maintained, they may also develop structural problems, such as gaps, cracks, or degraded seals which allow moisture to enter.

Excessive condensation and increased humidity levels provide an ideal environment for mould to flourish. Mould growth not only compromises the appearance of your windows but also poses significant health risks, especially for vulnerable individuals, such as children and the elderly or those with pre-existing respiratory illnesses. Continual exposure to mould can trigger allergies, respiratory problems, and other health issues, so it’s crucial to address the root cause by properly maintaining your building’s windows.

The impact of mould extends beyond aesthetics and health. If left untreated, mould can cause damage to the window frames, seals, and surrounding structures which, over time, can lead to rot, decay, and even structural failure. The infiltration of moisture can weaken the integrity of the windows, compromising their functionality and potentially necessitating expensive repairs or replacements.

Preventing Mould Around Windows: What You Can Do

To prevent these issues, regular window maintenance is essential, including:

  • Cleaning windows regularly to remove dirt, dust, and potential mould spores.
  • Periodically inspecting the seals and frames for any signs of damage, such as cracks or gaps, and addressing them promptly to prevent moisture infiltration.
  • Ensuring adequate ventilation in the affected areas to allow moisture-heavy air to escape, thereby reducing the likelihood of mould growth and dampness.

By prioritising window maintenance, you can mitigate the risks associated with condensation, mould growth, and damp problems and ensure that your social housing or care home complies with Building Regulations. Regular cleaning, inspection, and necessary repairs or upgrades, will help to maintain the integrity of the windows, preserve indoor air quality, and protect the overall structure of the property.

2. Falls From Height

In high-rise, social housing and care homes, defined as any building more than 7 storeys or 18 m in height, the personal injury risk arising from falls from height can be significant. Even a fall from a lower-storey window can easily result in serious life-changing injuries or death, and the chance of a fatality increases in line with the height of the window.

People most at risk from a fall from height in housing stock are children, especially toddlers and babies, and vulnerable older adults, especially people suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Many adults with mental health problems are also considered at risk, regardless of their age, and anyone could face a fall from height if a window fails unexpectedly due to neglected maintenance.

To avoid a tragic accident, therefore, social housing managers should take special precautions to guarantee the safety of all outward-facing windows in social housing and care homes. This includes fitting windows with a high-quality window restrictor, such as Jack Loc, to limit the opening angle of large windows while still allowing sufficient fresh air and ventilation.

Regular inspections and maintenance will also underwrite the long-term safety and security of your window stock, by identifying potentially dangerous faulty components and replacing them before they become a safety hazard.

Contact Mila Maintenance For Professional Advice

If you’re concerned about the health risks posed by damp and mould or falls from height in social housing or your care home, please contact Mila Maintenance today to find out how our cost-effective solutions can improve living conditions for your residents.

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