UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering


A Holistic Approach to Moisture Management in Buildings

30 November 2016

A Holistic Approach to Moisture Management in Buildings

By Valentina Marincioni


Dr Hector Altamirano-Medina

Prof Michael Davies

Industrial Supervisor/Sponsor:

Natural Building Technologies


Building professionals that want to approach moisture risk analysis encounter a plethora of heat and moisture transfer simulation methods that are already available in the market. Those methods have various degrees of accuracy, and there is little information to help decide what method is applicable to the scenario that the designer wants to simulate. There are no conventions in place for the harmonised use of the simulation methods and little clarity on the consequences of the use of inappropriate methods. Let alone the accuracy of the method itself, the outcome of heat and moisture transfer simulations depends highly on the selection of inputs, such as climate file and material properties. 

It is argued that analysis methods that present a mix of numerical modelling, experimental work and in situ monitoring represent better the complex reality of buildings. However, there is a tension between accuracy of the analysis method and computational time. Designers need to perform a quick assessment of the moisture performance of the building fabric, so that they can have a feel for the robustness of building fabric solutions.

The aim of this EngD project is to design a user-friendly visualisation tool for moisture analysis that helps understand the principles of moisture design and assists building professionals in decision-making during building design. The research focuses on the UK climate and building stock and it includes information from a mix of modelling, experimental work and in situ monitoring.