Volume 10 (2021-22)

Each volume of Journal of Building Survey, Appraisal & Valuation consists of four 100-page issues in both print and online. Articles scheduled for Volume 10 are available to view on the 'Forthcoming content' page.

The articles published in Volume 10 are listed below. 

Volume 10 Number 2

  • Editorial
    Simon Beckett, Publisher
  • Papers:
    Damp, its causes and the implication in leasehold property
    Malcolm Hollis, Chartered Surveyor, Hollis

    There is a wide variety of methods of resolving damp within buildings that seems to vary between opening a window to installing vertical and horizontal membranes together with replacing wall plaster that has been damaged by the water penetration. How successful each of these various methods have been is not easy to establish. To gather evidence, the judgments of the Court of Appeal in landlord and tenant cases does reveal what did not work and sometimes why. Not every type of damp-proof treatment has been shown to have been tested. The repairing method selected is often set out in the calculation of damages. In order to catalogue the evidence presented to the various courts, the dampness has been divided into three groups: that caused by condensation, that resulting from ground water, and squeezing in a case where the external cladding had failed. The remedy to the damp entry varies from knocking the building down and starting again, replacing the wall plaster and the damp course, to expecting better management of the conditions to reduce their effect upon the property. Each judgment has been made in reliance upon expert evidence put before the court. In some cases it can be seen that incorrect evidence has misled a judge and the outcome is flawed. ‘Our adversarial system depends heavily on the independence of expert witnesses, on the primacy of their duty to the court over any other loyalty or obligation, and on the rigour with which experts make known any associations or loyalties which might give rise to a conflict.’
    Keywords: condensation, damp-proof course (DPC), damp-proof membrane (DPM)

  • Interim repairs: Remedies and relief
    Michael Duncan, Associate, Burges Salmon

    Repair covenants are fertile ground for disputes, both during the term of the lease and on termination. This paper examines the significance of repair covenants in commercial leases during the lease term, and the allocation of responsibility to carry out works to a property in the event of disrepair. The primary focus is on the extent of a tenant’s repairing obligations under the terms of the lease. Relevant case law is considered, albeit, when considering the extent of a tenant’s contractual obligations, the question is usually fact-specific and can only be answered by taking into account all of the surrounding circumstances. If a tenant fails to comply with their covenants, the landlord has a number of potential remedies, ie to enforce compliance with the lease. This paper explores the range of options available and the circumstances in which they might be exercised. Some remedies (for example, forfeiture) require the taking of strict procedural steps, which can prove to be traps for the unwary. The paper also considers the ways in which a tenant could potentially obtain relief, ie in circumstances where the landlord takes action against them. These options, as well as a number of areas that are commonly contested and ripe for negotiation, are explored to provide guidance for both landlords and tenants.
    Keywords: leases, interim repair covenants, remedies, forfeiture, self-help

  • Bath Abbey Footprint Project: An architect’s view of the project objectives and the works
    Alex Morris, Associate, FCB Studios

    Bath Abbey is the largest and arguably the most significant building in the World Heritage City of Bath, recognised by UNESCO as a site of international importance. The Footprint Project sought to prepare the Abbey and its associated buildings for the next century of occupation, to ensure that the fabric of the Abbey is properly looked after and appreciated, as well as providing the kind of facilities that a contemporary church and visitor attraction requires. The Footprint Project not only repaired a failing floor but has taken the opportunity to document and research the carved gravestones that made up the floor, record the archaeology beneath the stones and install an innovative sustainable heating system to provide comfort to parishioners. New spaces have been created in the adjacent buildings that will serve the Abbey and those who work in it, repairing the Georgian buildings, but also creating unexpected spaces within them for learning, administration and for the 60-strong Abbey choir. Over ten years in development, and now close to completion, the Footprint Project has tackled major historic damage to the Abbey floor, while also creating a range of new facilities. This paper discusses the Footprint Project, during which the Abbey sought to put its buildings in a condition that will enable them to serve the mission of the church for the next 100 years. It analyses how the removal of the nave pews at Bath Abbey and the repair of its historic floor enhances the significance of the Grade I Listed Building and the outstanding universal value of the city of Bath World Heritage Site.
    Keywords: heritage architecture, conservation, ecclesiastical architecture, sustainability, creative reuse

  • Fire protection: Installation of fire sprinkler systems to residential and mixed-use buildings
    Alan Crichton, Director, Sprinktec

    This paper highlights the need for fire protection systems and why they should be installed, the selection of the correct system to suit the property style, layout, fire risk and also the type of system that meets the budget of the end user. The paper also outlines the requirements to install sprinkler systems throughout the UK, as they are not consistent due to the devolved administrations.
    Keywords: fire protection, sprinkler systems, water mist systems, high rise living, water supplies, building standards

  • Beaumont v Florala rights of light injunction case: A surveyor’s view
    Stuart Cobbold, Director, Schofield Surveyors

    This paper explores the case of Beaumont Business Centres Limited v Florala Properties Limited [2020] EWHC 550, the first full commercial right to light trial for some years. It discusses the High Court’s findings on the right to an injunction, how light may be assessed and how compensation should be considered.
    Keywords: Rights of light, injunction, case law, natural light, valuation, conduct

  • Observations of the asbestos industry: Perceptions of decline and a view to move forward
    Nicky Honing, Regional Manager, Allium Environmental

    The history of asbestos spans well over the 100 years that we are commonly aware of. It is known to be one of the most devastating workplace killers, with figures released by the HSE demonstrating a current trend of approximately 5,000 deaths annually attributed to diseases developed by exposure to asbestos fibres. In this paper we summarise some of that history and look at how the industry has stagnated over the past decade with little development in regulation or work practices, suggesting that the industry is in decline. This paper makes commentary on the position of the industry in the current economic climate and proposes change to attitudes and understanding to ensure the risk to human health posed by asbestos continues to be reduced and quality of service delivery improved.
    Keywords: asbestos, asbestos removal, asbestos consultancy, asbestos management, asbestos survey, awareness, training, education, quality

Volume 10 Number 1

  • Editorial
    Simon Beckett, Publisher
  • Papers:
    Surviving as a small surveying business during and after the COVID-19 pandemic
    Aileen Gomes, Chartered Building Surveyor and Project Manager, Melville Gomes Associates

    As a follow-on from a paper given at the RICS Scotland Virtual Conference on Thursday 12th November, 2020, this paper discusses the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on small surveying businesses. Setting out how small surveying firms have managed their businesses during the pandemic from the earliest stage at the start of 2020 to the first quarter of 2021, it details what steps firms took to protect their businesses through the various stages of the pandemic. Good early communication with clients and the wider business community, prudent financial management, taking advice in respect of the various forms of government support available and being flexible and adaptable were found to be key steps. The loss of life and the accompanying psychological and emotional effect on the world’s health have been devastating and will be the lasting legacy of the pandemic. History shows, however, that the pandemic should come to an end. The paper reflects on the outlook for small businesses post-COVID-19 by reference to current economic forecasts and thoughts on potential business opportunities. Anticipated structural changes in the workplace brought about by the pandemic, addressing climate change and the effects of government stimulus are thought to be contributing factors to creating a positive outlook for small businesses in the post-pandemic world.
    Keywords: survival, small business, pandemic, lockdown, outlook, COVID-19

  • Fire risk assessments for buildings of special architectural or historic interest
    Steve Emery, Fire Officer, Oxford University

    This paper looks at the additional factors that should be considered when a fire risk assessment is undertaken for a building of special architectural interest. The fire risk assessor should have a comprehensive understanding of fire dynamics and its effects on traditional materials and methods of construction. Recent disastrous fires such as those at the Glasgow School of Art, Clandon Park, Rio’s Museum Nacional and Paris’s Notre Dame momentarily attracted international attention for the loss of the building and contents, but there have been few constructive suggestions for improving the situation, beyond the usual panacea of fitting sprinkler systems. Risk-based legislation allows for some leeway in applying fire safety solutions, but guidance does not address property protection, which is usually left to owners, architects and contractors to think about. During the Notre Dame fire, two sections of the stone vaulted ceiling collapsed, the first due to the collapse of the tower, the second either from the weight of firefighting water or debris. This allowed ventilation beneath the fire, like a furnace, making it hot enough to vaporise the lead roof. Oxford University is currently investigating the loss of compressive strength to limestone when subjected to heat to see if this contributed to the collapse.
    Keywords: fire risk assessment, conservation, solutions, property protection, competency, balance of risk, Notre Dame

  • Defects in dispute: Common modern construction-related defects and their context in construction disputes
    Matthew Fedigan, Co-Founder and Director, Domec Professional Services

    In this paper, the author considers the nature of construction-related defects identified from 59 of 307 reported decisions in cases from the England and Wales High Court Technology and Construction Court (TCC) between 15th January, 2016 and 11th November, 2019. The paper explores what surveyors, dispute resolvers and legal representatives can learn about the nature of construction-related defects from the identified cases. Defects cases over the last three to four years indicate that approximately 19 per cent of cases heard by the TCC relate to construction and building defects and remain a central part of TCC business. Current indications are that this trend will continue despite recent advances in methods of construction and technology.
    Keywords: construction defects, alternative dispute resolution, litigation, Technology and Construction Courts (TCC), party wall, building pathology

  • Understanding thatched buildings
    Jessica Hunnisett, District Surveyor, Historic Environment Scotland

    Thatched buildings are found throughout the UK but are in decline in some areas, particularly in Scotland. There is a wide range of thatching traditions and materials which are locally distinctive in terms of the roof construction, profile, materials, methods and fixing details. Understanding the construction and materials found in thatched-roofed buildings is essential when undertaking inspection, repairs or renovation projects. Thatched roofs are subject to deterioration through lack of maintenance and are particularly susceptible to damp, vermin attack and fire, if not detailed correctly and maintained. Thatched roofs offer challenges to the surveyor, who must understand the historic construction methods, regional variations, appropriate materials and what to include in a specification. Ensuring that building professionals and clients understand these unique buildings, the materials and the risks will help ensure that good quality repair and conservation projects are carried out.
    Keywords: thatch, thatching, roofs, vernacular, conservation

  • The impact of COVID-19 on service charges in commercial properties
    Lorna Richardson, Senior Lecturer in Commercial Law, University of Edinburgh

    The COVID-19 pandemic, and the resulting legislative measures and government guidance, have significantly affected all of our lives. This paper considers the implications of the financial difficulties faced by commercial tenants on the landlord/tenant relationship. The paper highlights issues in the practice of landlords, and surveyors advising them, in relation to works and services that come within the service charge provisions of a commercial lease, as well as examining how recent legislative interventions have limited recovery options for landlords faced with service charge arrears. The paper investigates the need for communication between parties to try to resolve difficulties the tenant may have meeting its financial obligations under the lease, as well as the need for any agreements reached to be properly documented in order to provide clarity and certainty for both landlords and tenants going forward.
    Keywords: COVID-19, coronavirus, commercial lease, service charge, arrears, concessions

  • The repair and conservation of Capel Peniel, Tremadog
    Gethin Roberts, Architect, Cymdeithion Donald Insall Associates

    The roof of Capel Peniel, a Grade I listed chapel in Tremadog, north-west Wales, had succumbed to leakages and falling masonry for the best part of a decade following its closure in 2010. The chapel’s exterior fabric had badly deteriorated and was subsequently placed on the local authority’s buildings at risk register. The roof had to be repaired in its entirety, which was carried out alongside specialist local contractors, featured like-for-like repairs, random diminishing Ffestiniog slate courses, brand-new cut slate copings along the front gable end, repair and replacement of structural timber members and replacement of cast-iron rainwater goods. This paper seeks to explain the thinking behind the steps taken to make the chapel weathertight while preserving and sympathetically altering historic details that give its unique character. It examines the identification and assessment of problems with the original historic detailing and some more recent interventions, which were the root cause of the roof’s demise, before executing concepts that could be perceived as pushing the boundaries of conservation practices.
    Keywords: preserve, conservation, historic fabric, heritage roofing, significance, historic detail