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 3

  • Editorial
    Simon Beckett, Publisher
  • Papers:
    The modern use of data in a property risk context
    Michael Lawson, Chief Executive and Graeme Winser, Director of Strategy, Property Risk Inspection

    The increased use of aggregated data in property risk processing builds on the rapidly evolving economic benefits of automated ‘big property’ solutions in land and property assessment. This trend shadows the evolution of personal credit files as open banking trends making aggregation of people with property far easier in the 1/10thsecond ranges that drive many of today’s ‘decision in principle’ consumer solutions. The organisation of property with known geolocational parameters, unique property identifiers and associated property data attributes has been an accelerating phenomenon over the last decade. Chartered surveyors have not, however, benefitted substantially from these innovations and emerging trends in data organisation and aggregation. Legacy processes in the corporate environment and ‘cost of change’ in the private client sector have combined to stifle real progress in integrating modern data systems, machine learning (ML) and data capture and retention. Existing and new technologies, data availability, data aggregation, data storage and geospatial referencing should significantly improve reporting and recommendations relating to property condition and risk profiling; however, the nature of legacy systems, the differing requirements of large corporate clients versus private clients and the discontinuities in data are all hampering modernisation of approach. This paper looks at the evolution and convergence of big property data and provides a roadmap for the surveying profession and the sectors instructing clients to benefit from modern data processing and innovation in property risk.
    Keywords: data, property risk, supported desktop, automated valuation, data curation, data storage, data vendors, property surveys, triage

  • A methodical approach to assessing if an existing dwelling has ‘Adequate Ventilation’
    John Bradley, Managing Director, Homevent

    Every year, especially during what has become colloquially referred to as ‘condensation season’, thousands of dwellings around the UK have their ventilation assessed. This Ventilation Assessment is sometimes referred to as a ‘Ventilation Survey’. The assessment is frequently in response to occupants’ concerns over living in homes suffering from condensation and mould growth. Ventilation assessments are carried out by a variety of ‘specialists’ including independent surveyors, ventilation equipment manufacturers/suppliers and contractors. Very often, following the assessment, the specialist will recommend that additional ventilation equipment be installed to contribute towards providing Adequate Ventilation in the dwelling. In many cases, the primary function of the additional ventilation measures proposed will be to control high internal atmospheric moisture levels that can be associated with condensation and mould, while neglecting indoor air pollutants commonly found in homes, which also have to be controlled if a healthy internal environment is to be provided for the occupants. It is the author’s view that there will often be an unintentional lack of appropriate methodology used in the Ventilation Assessment and the subsequent recommendations such specialists make may not therefore be appropriate for the dwelling. This is not surprising given that there is limited industry guidance on the subject in relation to existing dwellings and the fact that even the term ‘Adequate Ventilation’ can mean different things to different people. This paper discusses all of the aforementioned and proposes benchmarks against which Adequate Ventilation in existing dwellings can be measured, along with an overview of a methodology that could be used to assess the existing purpose-provided ventilation measures in a home to determine if they are adequate or not.
    Keywords: Ventilation Assessment, Adequate Ventilation, condensation, mould, indoor air pollutants

  • The impact of COVID-19 on values and valuation
    Christian Luft, EMEA Head of Retail, Jones Lang LaSalle

    Valuation is at the core of every investor decision, especially in times of uncertainty. In this paper the author moves from the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic when global markets were in turmoil, through the period when sentiment became clearer in the market and the role that this should play, how valuation methodology evolved as we entered into a period where investor activity returned with the wider economy going through periods of lockdown and restriction easing and then further periods of restrictions. We appear to be in an increasingly polarised marketplace and valuation methodology is increasingly important to ensure a consistent approach is taken. The pandemic has given valuers new tools and refocused the valuation community on how best to value in times of uncertainty — lessons learned that will remain relevant in the future.
    Keywords: valuation, uncertainty, sentiment, pooling intelligence, discounted cash flow, new normal

  • Integrating non-destructive techniques into the scientifically robust assessment of vulnerable historic masonry: Case studies on Reigate Stone at the Tower of London
    Martin Michette, Researcher, University of Oxford

    This paper summarises a scientific methodology for assessing masonry decay, developed over the course of a four-year research project on Reigate Stone at the Tower of London and Hampton Court Palace. Reigate Stone is a vulnerable building stone with a complex history of use, high cultural value and poorly understood decay processes. The Tower of London and Hampton Court Palace, managed by Historic Royal Palaces, contain a large amount of Reigate Stone masonry. As such, these important historic sites provided a range of different case studies for investigating Reigate Stone decay. Masonry decay is increasingly being understood in terms of complex system dynamics, in which the interactions between primary building stone, replacement stones, mortar and invasive agents of anthropogenic or environmental origin are as important as the nature of the building stones themselves in controlling non-linear response to environmental mechanisms. Integrating this diverse set of variables significantly increases the complexity of scientifically robust stone conservation. Non-destructive techniques (NDT) play an important role in addressing this complexity, but in order to make sense of the data they capture, it is vital to appreciate different scales of investigation and distinguish between rapid and in-depth protocols.
    Keywords: heritage, historic building survey, stone decay, non-destructive techniques (NDT), conservation, moisture meter

  • The restoration of the Temperate House at the Royal Botanic Gardens
    Francis Maude, Director, Donald Insall Associates

    At the time of its construction, the Temperate House within the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew (RBG Kew) was the largest glasshouse in the world, and it remains the largest extant example from the Victorian period. The restoration project, finished in 2018, called upon the skills of the UK’s top experts. To be able to execute such a project, and to justify a major National Heritage Lottery Fund grant, the project team needed to show why the Temperate House was significant, and that it could be restored to enable the continuing cultivation and presentation of rare botanic specimens. This paper describes the restoration programme, covering work to the composite iron, steel, timber, masonry and glass structure, its consolidation and redecoration, and improvements to make it both more sustainable and better able to serve the community.
    Keywords: World Heritage Site, construction, significance, conservation, restoration, improvement

  • Dilapidations update: The effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on insolvency claims and landlord and tenant disputes
    Kate Andrews, Partner, Hamlins

    This paper addresses the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on insolvency claims and real estate disputes between landlords and tenants. In particular, focus is given to the effect on, and changing consumer patterns in relation to, the retail and hospitality sectors and the knock-on effect this has had on landlords of business tenants. The number of company voluntary arrangements (CVAs) has grown significantly and is likely to remain high throughout 2021 and into 2022. While the Government tried to reduce the number by the introduction of the CIGA 2020 Restructuring Plan, which has several benefits over the usual CVA route, this is but one of various pieces of legislation brought in by the Government in an attempt to address the issues raised by COVID-19. There have been many restrictions introduced which limit landlords and their ability to bring insolvency claims, to seek forfeiture of a lease or to pursue rent arrears which are being phased out as of 1st October, 2021, with some landlord restrictions being wholly removed by 30th March, 2022. From recent government announcements, it appears some of the restrictions are here to stay. While both tenants and landlords struggled to survive in the midst of the UK’s national lockdowns, the Government now seems to be making it clear the economy is open for business, not quite as usual, but heading in that direction. It remains the case that some are still struggling and that negotiation with regards to payment of rent and possible rent reductions are an important tool on both sides. It will also be important for landlords to consider their options with regards to seeking repayment from third parties should it prove unviable to recover from tenants directly. Overall, it is likely we will see a change in the relationship between landlords and tenants and the terms on which they are willing to engage in the future.
    Keywords: insolvency, landlord, tenant, company voluntary arrangement (CVA), administration, COVID-19, rent arrears, dilapidations

  • Getting to grips with the difficult issue of security for expenses under the Party Wall etc. Act 1996
    Mike Harry, Surveyor, Planning & Party Wall Specialists

    The topic of security for expenses is a matter that the author is increasingly having to address under referral as third surveyor. This paper briefly examines the roots of the security for expenses provision, noting how the provision has evolved since first introduction within the Metropolitan Building Act 1855 where the provision was less commonly applied; then making its way through the various Acts with subtle but meaningful changes that have resulted in much more common and (in the author’s view) over-use of the provision within the current Party Wall etc. Act 1996 (the Act). The paper highlights the lack of parliamentary guidance provided to support the use of the provision, which the paper suggests will have flowed from the limited parliamentary time that was allowed back in 1996 for the hearing of the Bill, which, in the event, caused the Bill to be rushed through Parliament with some rough edges, to say the least. The paper finds that added to the lack of legislative guidance within the current Act is a gulf that is yet to be filled by the usual (but in this case lacking) onslaught of case law that tends to address the unanswered questions posed by parliamentary legislation. The article casts light upon some of the more contentious aspects of the provisions, unpacking those aspects and providing some practical ‘how to’ guidance to practitioners who have to deal with the matter on a regular basis.
    Keywords: security for expenses, the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 (the Act), damage, Kaye v Lawrence [2010], insurance, protection, risk

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