Volume 11 (2022-23)

Each volume of Journal of Building Survey, Appraisal & Valuation consists of four 100-page issues in both print and online. Articles scheduled for Volume 11 are available to view on the 'Forthcoming content' page.

The articles published in Volume 11 are listed below. 

Volume 11 Number 1

  • Editorial
    Simon Beckett, Publisher
  • Papers:
    Plaster beetle (psocid) infestation in buildings; environmental management and control — a pragmatic approach
    Jagjit Singh, Managing Director, Environmental Building Solutions

    Plaster beetles (psocids) are active stocky and soft-bodied insects that are commonly found in new-build apartments, flats and housing blocks. They are also commonly called barklice or booklice because of their superficial resemblance to certain species of lice, and because they are found, sometimes in very large numbers, on mouldy books and papers in damp buildings or their basements and under loose, damp bark. Plaster beetles are either pale grey or pale brown in colour and may or may not have wings. They are common but harmless, unpleasant nuisance pests. Many live on bark and leaf surfaces feeding on algae, fungi or lichens. Others are found in leaf litter or in caves. A small number have extended their range to include buildings and building materials such as thatch, stored food stocks and museum exhibits. Plaster beetle infestation is mainly caused by damp and residual moisture, resulting in high levels of relative humidity (> 65–75 per cent) in the structural voids, ducting and insulation thereby allowing mould infestation. Psocids primarily feed on fungi and moulds for a few months in newly built houses after the completion of a building. Spraying with chemical treatments will deal with the symptoms of the problem but will not deal with the underlying causes of the infestation, namely damp, residual moisture and moulds. Heating treatment offered by some companies, whereby the building is heated to 45°C, should kill off psocids in the building; however, this does not address the underlying cause(s) of the problem and there is a risk of reinfestation. The author has advocated non-destructive investigations of buildings combined with correct diagnosis and identification of type and viability of both plaster beetle and mould infestation, as not all mould infestations are equally toxic or pathogenic. The author strongly believes, based on scientific, practical experience and successful case studies over the last 35 years, that environmental control of plaster beetle infestation and preventative maintenance are preferable to remedial conventional chemical spraying treatments. Rectifying building defects combined with drying out the building fabric and preventative maintenance should in most cases forestall the need for major interventions, and it is beyond doubt that these steps reduce the risk of reinfestation in buildings. The environmentally sustainable approach and the ongoing monitoring of the environmental conditions in buildings ensures the long-term health of building materials, health of the occupants and structures.
    Keywords: plaster beetles, psocids infestation, environmental monitoring, non-destructive inspection, mould risk assessment, psocids management and control

  • Property flood resilience: Insights into the CIRIA code of practice
    Phil Emonson, Technical Director, Head of Flood Resilience, JBA Consulting

    Flooding is one of the UK’s biggest risks, and changes to our climate with predictions of warmer, wetter and stormier winters will increase the risk further. The Environment Agency’s National Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Strategy for England (2020) sets out ambitions to create climate resilience places and infrastructure for today’s and tomorrow’s climate. It works to the vision of ‘a nation ready for, and resilient to, flooding and coastal change — today, tomorrow and to the year 2100’. Among many objectives set out, the strategy commits risk management authorities to mainstream the use and take-up of property flood resilience (PFR) — that is, those measures that aim to reduce the amount of water entering a property, and those adaptations that can be made to reduce damage if it does enter. The PFR sector has evolved over the last decade with varying success, limited uptake and perceptions of ‘failure’ through poor workmanship and an absence of guidance. In 2021 a new Code of Practice (CoP) was published, providing guidance on six standards: hazard assessment, property survey, options development, construction, commissioning and handover, and operation and maintenance. This paper explores the objective of the Code, its benefits and limitation, highlighting that while the Code remains voluntary, growing awareness and application by risk management authorities such as the Environment Agency (EA) and lead local flood authorities will help drive up standards. Consistent delivery to acceptable standards will meet homeowner and insurer needs, thereby building a body of evidence of successful delivery and outcomes.
    Keywords: flood, resilience, property flood resilience (PFR), Code of Practice, standards, resilience

  • Be a good expert: Tell the truth
    Paul Beckett, Director and Co-founder, Phlorum

    This paper is aimed at surveyors and other property professionals who currently undertake, or who are considering undertaking, expert witness work. Many technical specialists can rightly consider themselves ‘experts’; however, it is quite another thing to be a competent and useful ‘expert witness’. What is the difference, and how can an expert properly transfer their qualifications and experience from their day-to-day work to the provision of expert evidence that will be scrutinised by lawyers? This paper aims to answer such questions and to provide guidance on how experts can improve their delivery of expert evidence in line with the rules. Tips are provided on how to produce good written reports and effective oral evidence. Examples of recent case law demonstrate that the courts are clamping down on poor-quality experts by serving painful sanctions, ranging from scathing criticisms in judgments to custodial sentences. It is hoped that this paper will assist property professionals to better understand their role and what is required of them when they accept expert instructions from solicitors.
    Keywords: expert witness, expert evidence, litigation, civil procedure rules, case law

  • The relocation and restoration of the Dorothy Annan telecommunications mural
    Andrew O’Donnell, Director, Allford Hall Monaghan Morris

    This paper details the story of Dorothy Annan’s telecommunications murals and how they came to find a new home at the Barbican. Born circa 1900, Annan was a prolific artist and in the latter part of her career took on many public mural commissions as part of the post-war rebuilding effort. Her work encapsulated the incredible optimism and creativity of the time, but sadly only three of her murals exist today. One of these is her 1960 telecommunications ceramic tile murals commissioned by the Ministry of Works for the Farringdon Road Fleet Building — home to the world’s first international telex when it opened in 1961. The building itself fell into disrepair due to fast-moving technologies, but Annan’s murals remained well-loved by locals and passers-by. In 2011 the murals were awarded Grade II listing, thanks to a high-profile campaign by the 20th Century Society to save them from destruction when the building itself was scheduled for demolition. The City of London decided the Barbican estate would be the most appropriate new location for the murals, less than one mile from their original location and itself a Grade II listed example of post-war Brutalist architecture. In 2012 the removal, restoration and installation project began. Led by Jackfield Conservation Studios, C’ART and Cathedral Works Organisation (CWO) carried out a delicate operation to safely remove the tiles for restoration, while AHMM architects and C’ART devised a new mounting and lighting system that rose to the challenge of taking a listed artwork and installing it within a listed architectural space. In 2013 Annan’s beautifully restored murals were successfully installed in their new home, where they are enjoyed and celebrated by a new audience and will hopefully remain for many years to come.
    Keywords: Dorothy Annan, Barbican, ceramic tile murals, post-war art and architecture, tile conservation, art restoration, Modernism

  • The mediation of property and valuation disputes
    Nicholas Gould, Partner and Roma Patel, Trainee Solicitor, Fenwick Elliott

    Over the years alternative dispute resolution (ADR) systems have progressed, the pre-action protocols often require parties to consider ADR before using adjudicative procedures. As a result trends and rises in mediation in recent years are unfounded. Notably there has been an increase in the use of mediation in the construction and property sector. The combination of new technologies and COVID-19 has led to an increase in online mediation. This paper investigates research findings that shows the benefits of mediation in construction and property related disputes, namely its cost benefits and maintenance of working relationships and assesses the findings from Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution’s Ninth Mediation Audit. The process of mediation is an important one and choosing the right mediator should not be overlooked.
    Keywords: mediation, alternative dispute resolution, construction disputes, property disputes, conciliation

  • Design features and best practice in podium deck waterproofing: Examples and perspectives from UK industry
    Benjamin Hickman, Technical Director, CSSW London Waterproofing

    Podium decks — a basement roof at, or around, ground level which is not covered by superstructure — are an increasingly common feature in the modern built environment. This increase may be partly attributed to growing awareness of the need for sustainability. Green roofs, sustainable urban drainage, water attenuation and even parks and farms are being located on top of podium decks. Waterproofing of these podium decks is vital in order to use the space created beneath and also to prolong the life expectancy of the structure. This research analyses the available best practice guidance and then compares the key waterproofing design features with opinions from industry. Opinions are gathered first through 78 questionnaire respondents and then interviews with four experienced respondents with unusual views. These findings are then compared with case studies of podium decks with waterproofing failures. This research suggests that robust podium deck waterproofing design comes from the following choices in the fundamental features of waterproofing design for podium decks: a) reinforced concrete structural deck; b) fully bonded waterproofing membrane; c) waterproofing laid to a gradient to falls; and d) provision of a drainage void over the waterproofing layer. As a result of these findings, this paper calls for more authoritative best practice guidance on podium deck waterproofing design in a bid to reduce pressures in procurement that lead to weaker waterproofing design choices. This research may be of interest to built environment professionals because it identifies some fundamental features of podium deck waterproofing design and clarifies which design choices are perceived to deliver more robust waterproofing than others.
    Keywords: podium deck, buried deck, structural waterproofing, plaza waterproofing, BS 8102, BS 6229, waterproofing design