Volume 13 (2024-25)

Each volume of Journal of Building Survey, Appraisal & Valuation consists of four 100-page issues in both print and online. 

The articles published in Volume 13 are listed below.

Volume 13 Number 1

  • Editorial
    Simon Beckett, Publisher
  • Practice Papers
    An investigation into the vapour permeability and durability of natural renders on an earthen wall system
    Jim Carfrae, Plymouth University, et al.

    This paper describes a novel methodology for establishing the relative moisture performance of renders used to protect a novel walling system combining traditional dense cob with a low-density thermal cob. A new method of enhancing the thermal insulation of cob walls has been developed by an European Union (EU)-funded joint UK and French project called CobBauge. The external surface of traditional cob walls (comprising subsoil, fibre and water) is normally protected from driving rain by placing the walls on a short wall called a plinth, a pronounced eaves overhang and a breathable exterior render. As the low-density fibre and clay insulating layer in the CobBauge system differs from traditional cob, a method of establishing the moisture-related performance of a range of renders needed to be instituted to aid the materials selection process. A series of test panels were constructed with the thermal cob infill, faced by a number of render types. The panels were hung in an open position in a high exposure zone and the moisture content monitored using wood-block sensors, electrical resistivity and gravimetric measurements over a period of six months. The wood-block and electrical resistivity moisture measurements showed a good level of agreement with gravimetric measurements and showed a clear differentiation between the various render choices.
    Keywords: earth walling; cob; render; lime; moisture

  • The Access to Neighbouring Land Act 1992: A useful tool or a blunt one?
    James Brenan, Spencer West

    This paper explains what the Access to Neighbouring Land Act 1992 does and how it fits into the legal landscape of issues for developers and property owners to be mindful over. It draws from case law learning and from the practical experience of the writer in dealing with site access, crane oversailing licences and Part 8 claims. Its aim is to give prospective parties to access licences and those advising them a full insight into the issues that arise, a warning as to the costs of litigation and the confidence to start negotiating within sensible limits.
    Keywords: access; neighbouring land; trespass; damages; injunctions

  • Invasive invaders: Japanese knotweed and non-native species in our homes
    Daniel Docking, Property Care Association

    This paper dives into the intriguing discussions of Japanese knotweed and other invasive non-native plants, how they affect our built environment, and the legal ramifications for allowing these plants to spread beyond the realms of confinement. The paper sheds light on historical misinformation and begin to establish a nuanced understanding towards a plant which is surrounded in hysteria. In an attempt to unravel the cause of this hysteria, the paper describes a well-known plant which is five times more likely to causes structural issues to a property. The paper also highlights the presence of another plant which has striking similarities to Japanese knotweed; however, the paper advises caution in avoiding exacerbating even more unnecessary hysteria. The paper highlights building professionals’ potential ignorance of other invasive species beyond Japanese knotweed and the impacts they could cause. The paper aims to equip readers with insights into legal complexities, debunk myths surrounding invasive non-native plants but bring to light new emerging threats. It advocates for a comprehensive risk assessment approach, fostering a nuanced understanding of the impacts of various invasive species.
    Keywords: Japanese knotweed; buddleia; bamboo; giant hogweed; structural damage; property surveying

  • How to play nicely: The current law of party wall surveyors’ duties, and what to do with it
    Richard Webber, RLS Law

    This paper aims to set out the current state of the law on the duties and responsibilities of party wall surveyors, in the context of historic and recent case law, with a particular focus on Welter v McKeeve (2018) and Walsh v PSB Management & others (2022), and based on that to give the reader a practical guide to dealing with the difficulties of being instructed by one party but having duties to that party jointly with others. It identifies a trend in case law on party wall surveyors’ duties of having particular regard to the rights and interests of the adjoining owner and notes a potential inconsistency with the client-facing duties owed by party wall surveyors appointed by building owners. It discusses the extent to which, and manner in which, party wall surveyors should include their appointing owners in their investigation and decision-making process. It concludes that these might best be resolved by acting as impartially as possible commensurate with the surveyor’s duties to their appointing owner, keeping the parties reasonably informed, but at all times retaining control over the decision-making process. The law is stated as at February 2024.
    Keywords: party wall surveyors; duties; duties to appointing owner; duty of impartiality

  • Impact protection using novel fibre reinforced concrete
    Alan Richardson, Michelle Littlemore, Northumbria University and Harry Toase, Balfour Beatty Vinci HS2

    The research described in this paper identifies how the use of three-dimensional (3D) unwelded fibre reinforcement can provide protection against back-face spalling in the case of damage caused by impact, and contributes to understanding how such material specification can carry significant long-term benefits. When subjected to ballistic impact or explosion, reinforced concrete suffers back-face spalling caused by compressive stress waves, resulting in projectiles that can cause injury and collateral damage. This conceptual study seeks to reduce concrete projectiles and subsequent damage using 3D unwelded fibre-reinforcement. Conventional two-dimensional (2D) straight fibres rely on orientation and positioning for effective bridging of rupture planes, whereas 3D fibres benefit from inherent superiority of their orientation across a rupture plane. Twenty-five kilograms of 3D unwelded fibres (3DUWBL) and 2D fibres per m3 of concrete were used in the mix designs. Samples were tested for compressive strength, fibre pull-out, three-point and four-point flexural testing and ballistic impact. There was significant improvement in toughness and post-fracture control within the 3DUWBL specimens. The 3DUWBL fibres exceeded EN 14889 standards, outperforming the 2D fibre specimens, and controlled back-face spalling and reduced airborne projectiles in comparison to the 2D fibres. The study is limited to demonstrating proof of concept. The implication of these results will inform future research studies in this area. The results identify a current gap in research associated with 3D unwelded fibre use and the reduction of back-face spalling. 3D fibres overcome the significant failings of even dispersion and bond pull-out strength ordinarily associated with 2D fibres. This is due to the x y z orientation and omission of the welded connection. The implications are a reduction in manufacturing time and costs, making 3DUWBL fibres a more viable industry application. This research shows that 3D unwelded fibre reinforcement provides good resistance to back-face spalling of concrete elements when they are subjected to ballistic stresses. Such fibres are not currently commercially available, but they would be cheaper to produce, and their novel fibre shape provides enhanced post-crack toughness performance with the addition of lower variability, providing a lower-risk form of crack control.
    Keywords: impact; ballistic; toughness; fibres; concrete

  • Professional indemnity insurance for architects: Not so ‘professional’ after all?
    Anthony Le, Smooth Commercial Law

    This paper provides an insight that opens up systemic flaws with regulatory bodies and a considerable blind spot in professional indemnity insurance. This is an eye-opening analysis of an industry that is closely tied to building surveyors, structural engineers, valuers, architects and — by extension — lawyers.
    Keywords: architects; professional indemnity insurance; Professional Consultants Certificate; insurance; professional negligence; negligent misstatement; defective premises; litigation

  • Research Paper
    Hygrothermal risk assessment of external wall insulation (EWI) retrofit to non-traditional wall types in an Irish context, using the Glaser method and a heat, air and moisture transient model
    Gareth Mc Donnell, O’Shaughnessy & Associates and Joseph Little, Technological University Dublin

    The Climate Action Plan 2019 targets the low-energy retrofit of 500,000 existing Irish homes before 2030.1 Up to 80 per cent of building failures can be attributed to moisture risks.2 The literature indicated that external wall insulation (EWI, ETICS) failures are mostly due to moisture ingress at junctions and interfaces. A hygrothermal risk assessment of EWI on three walls with rendered concrete/concrete blockwork/cavity walls in Dublin, Belfast and Belmullet was undertaken using transient numerical simulation and the Glaser method. The guidance, common practice indicates a preference for Glaser. The initial simulation results were compared to assess the appropriateness of Glaser. Material measurements were undertaken and this data was used in the transient numerical simulations. A parametric study was undertaken using a selection of the initial transient numerical simulations stressed with parameters of 1–2 per cent driving rain at different window positions. The results of the initial transient numerical simulations indicate that most retrofit cases, except on cavity walls, are low risk. All cases assessed using Glaser pass the assessments. The parametric study indicated between 40–67 per cent were high risk depending on the wall types. All cases with mineral wool/mineral render were low risk, while most cases with acrylic render were high risk. The research described in this paper indicates that using the Glaser method for hygrothermal assessment of EWI cannot capture the extent of the risk when buildings are leaking.
    Keywords: hygrothermal risk assessment; EWI; ETICS; failure

  • Book Review
    Termites and heritage buildings: A study in integrated pest management
    Reviewed by Dr Jagjit Singh, Environmental Building Solutions