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Improving Housing Conditions in the UK and Beyond

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Image courtesy of Nico Hogg

Professor David Ormandy’s research into housing conditions in the UK led to a fundamental change in policy that shapes housing standards today. Professor Ormandy’s research findings demonstrated that housing conditions have a significant effect on health, in particular on the health of the most susceptible, such as the very young and the elderly.

Commissioned by the Department of the Environment, Professor Ormandy and his project team, in collaboration with the UK Building Research Establishment and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, proposed a major reform of the way in which conditions in existing housing were assessed and controlled. The project culminated in the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS), made law in 2006. This system is used by local councils across England and Wales to ensure basic standards of housing, benefiting the lives of inhabitants.

The HHSRS recommendations have formed the basis of policy changes across the globe. Professor Ormandy was asked by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development to collaborate with them to adapt the HHSRS for the United States, culminating in the Healthy Home Rating System, adopted in 2010. The UK Building Research Establishment (BRE) has also sought Professor Ormandy’s expertise to develop guidance and assessment procedure on overheating in dwellings. These have been published by the BRE and have informed the national Heat Wave Plan issued by Public Health England. More recently, Professor Ormandy has been working with the World Health Organisation, contributing to the development of International Healthy Housing Guidelines to be published in 2017.

In addition, Professor Ormandy’s work has informed research programmes in a range of organisations. He has worked with the New Zealand Building Research Association (BRANZ) and the University of Otago, the Medical Studies and Research Development Departments of EDF in France, and Sheffield Hallam University to inform and shape their research and recommendations.

The work of Professor Ormandy and his team has had international influence, putting health at the heart of building and housing policy across the world.