Obituary: David Ormandy, Beloved Artist And Educator 2024

David Ormandy: Activist Who Revolutionized Housing Health Standards

David Ormandy: Championing Healthy Housing for All


The passing of David Ormandy at the age of 78 marks a profound loss for the housing and public health communities. As a tireless activist, Ormandy’s legacy will endure through the transformative impact he made on housing standards.

Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS)

Ormandy’s most significant contribution was the co-design and introduction of the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) through the 2004 Housing Act. This groundbreaking legal framework shifted the focus of housing assessments from the mere condition of the property to the tangible effects it had on the health and well-being of its occupants.

By recognizing the critical link between poor housing and health problems, the HHSRS paved the way for addressing the root causes of health disparities. It mandated local authorities to evaluate housing conditions based on 29 hazards, including dampness, poor ventilation, and overcrowding. These assessments empowered tenants and landlords to hold each other accountable for maintaining healthy living environments.

Impact on Public Health

The implementation of the HHSRS has had a profound impact on public health. Prior to its introduction, the NHS bore the brunt of the costs associated with housing-related health issues, spending an estimated £1.4 billion annually. By addressing the underlying causes of these health problems, the HHSRS has significantly reduced the burden on the healthcare system.

Research has demonstrated that the HHSRS has led to a decline in respiratory and cardiovascular illnesses, particularly among vulnerable populations. It has also contributed to improvements in mental health and overall well-being, as safe and healthy housing provides a stable foundation for individuals and families to thrive.

Legacy and Recognition

David Ormandy’s dedication to improving housing conditions has left an indelible mark on society. His pioneering work has been recognized through numerous awards, including the Gold Medal of the Institution of Environmental Health Officers and an Honorary Fellowship from the Royal Institute of British Architects.

Ormandy’s legacy extends beyond the HHSRS. He played a key role in raising awareness about the social determinants of health and advocating for policies that promote equitable access to safe and affordable housing for all.


David Ormandy was a visionary activist whose unwavering commitment to improving housing conditions has made a lasting impact on the health and well-being of millions of people. His pioneering work through the HHSRS will continue to shape housing policy and practice for generations to come. As we remember and honor his legacy, let us strive to build upon his efforts to ensure that everyone has access to a safe and healthy place to call home.