Volume 9 (2020-21)

Each volume of Journal of Building Survey, Appraisal & Valuation consists of four 100-page issues in both print and online. Articles scheduled for Volume 9 are available to view on the 'Forthcoming content' page. The articles published in Volume 9 so far are listed below. 

Volume 9 Number 2

  • Editorial
    Simon Beckett, Publisher
  • Practice Papers:
    Preventing water penetration in traditional masonry using injection mortar and micro-grouting conservation techniques
    Kinlay Laidlaw, Director, Laidlaw Associates Building Surveying

    Repointing is a universal repair technique applied to traditional masonry of historic buildings and, in particular, to ashlar masonry. Despite such long established practices, on the British west coast at least, water penetration quite often recurs a few years after repointing has been carried out. These unfortunate statistics arise because repointing work, even when carried out well, is unable to fill open or deeply voided joints in ashlar masonry. New pointing is not always sufficient to restore the ability of a wall to shed water and prevent water ingress. At Burns Monument, Alloway, Ayrshire, longstanding water penetration caused the masonry to become saturated throughout and several repointing projects over previous decades had not stopped the ingress. Recent investigative surveys identified severe and persistent water penetration from deeply voided and open ashlar masonry joints. A comprehensive repair strategy was developed to robustly address these issues, which involved developing a new method of injecting hydraulic lime grout through its narrow mortar joints. This technique, known as micro-grouting, is able to reach and fully fill deeply voided ashlar joints in a way that has hitherto simply not been possible. During 2018–19 the monument was successfully micro-grouted and has begun to dry out. This paper aims to explain the issue of voiding in traditional solid wall masonry and the new conservation technique of micro-grouting and repointing by injection mortar by examining the case study of Burns Monument conservation project. Now developed, tested and successfully implemented, this new methodology can make an important contribution to improving the future conservation of other historic buildings across the UK and beyond, to restore the ability of many deeply voided masonry structures to shed water in a way that works with traditional lime mortar-based construction technology.
    Keywords: conservation, lime, grouting, stonemasonry, water penetration

  • Environmental due diligence: Beyond land contamination
    Graham Duffield, Unit Director, Environmental Due Diligence

    The objective of the paper is to provide insight into the changing focus of environmental due diligence (EDD) assessments for real estate transactions, and how the effects of significant environmental factors such as climate change have had an impact on investment strategies. The paper details how the scope of EDD assessments has changed from the traditional focus of land contamination, to areas including environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG), air quality and sustainability. Ultimately, investors are seeking to maximise asset value from real estate investments, and this paper highlights the areas where investors will need to focus, in order to realise an increase on their returns.
    Keywords: environmental due diligence, land contamination, climate change, sustainability, air quality, environmental planning, ESG

  • Tenants’ alterations made to UK office property in the age of net zero carbon and of minimised waste: The end of the ‘single-use fit-out’?
    Jon Rowling, Technical Partner, TFT

    This paper is an opinion piece relating to current practice and precedents associated with tenant alterations, which hopes to progress the debate about the energy efficiency of commercial office property. The law and practice associated with the dilapidations process at the end of a tenant’s office lease is inherently wasteful. The legal precedents take no account of construction waste and appear to encourage landlords to waste physical resources rather than cherish them. The design of modern offices also encourages removal and replacement rather than reuse. The received wisdom during the letting of office premises is that open-plan offices, with previous tenants’ fit-out entirely removed, are preferable. This adds to the amount of construction waste generated. Potential tenants are often not given the opportunity to consider reusing a previous tenant’s fit-out and therefore they repeat the installation of a new office fit-out, where a previous one has recently been removed. If this wasteful process is to be addressed, legal precedents associated with the measures of loss and associated with landlord’s consent to tenant’s fit-out proposals would need to develop, or regulation would need to be introduced, or, most likely, the demands of the market need to discourage ‘single-use fit-outs’.
    Keywords: tenant alterations, energy efficiency, commercial office property, dilapidations process, physical resources, modern offices, single-use fit-outs

  • Flooding risk and resilience for traditionally constructed solid wall buildings
    James Innerdale, Architect and Historic Buildings Consultant

    This paper offers advice on minimising the impact of flooding in traditionally constructed buildings and how best to implement the recovery process. The paper looks at the importance of understanding the risk, fabric performance, options for flood resilience and resistance, as well as how best to manage the event for a speedy recovery.
    Keywords: flood, resilience, resistance, limecrete, traditional

  • Visualisation to save cost, carbon and casualties: Looking at how visual communication tools have come of age
    Nick Blenkarn, Managing Director, Seeable

    This paper summarises the current tried and tested visualisation technology and looks forward to new technological advances in ‘visual’ communication. Secondly, outlining the driving forces that are steering the emerging immersive economy by highlighting the benefits over conventional working practices and how ‘reality capture’ hardware is speeding up the ability to 3D model the built environment. The key acronyms are explained to differentiate augmented reality (AR), virtual reality) (VR), interactive 3D (i3D) and Internet of Things (IoT) and the link to digital twins. Lastly, these are put in context by reviewing some practical examples and case studies to show visual communication in action with a fire safety facilities management visualisation.
    Keywords: visualisation, innovation, communication, safety, augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), 360, apps

  • The evolution of damp control
    James Berry, Technical Manager, Property Care Association

    Deterioration of the built environment as a result of dampness has long been considered, with evidence of this dating back to Roman times. Much of the way in which our buildings have evolved is associated with the control of moisture. In this paper we review methods to prevent issues of moisture rising into walls by capillary action, both at the construction phase and also the evolution of methods post-construction.
    Keywords: dampness, damp-proof course (DPC), damp-proofing, moisture, buildings

  • Landlords and tenants must work together to meet net zero carbon targets
    Anne Johnstone, Partner and Head of Environment, Energy and Sustainability and Clare Holyoake, Associate and Landlord and Tenant Matters Specialist, Hollis

    Almost one-third of the UK’s total emissions relate to the energy used in existing buildings. This paper discusses how it is clear that improvements in the energy efficiency performance of buildings (and the way in which occupiers use them) are absolutely central to the UK Government’s 2050 net zero carbon emissions target. It analyses how some of the impetus towards driving down operational energy usage is statute-led (such as the Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting [SERC] regulations) but so too is the upshift in demand for greener buildings from occupiers and investors. The paper discusses the numerous ways in which improvements can be made to a building and its services that may well improve its energy performance certificate (EPC), but also argues that it is vitally important to educate occupiers on ways in which their actions can have a huge impact on the building’s in-use performance. The paper discusses a significant hurdle to implementing energy efficiency improvements: currently, most commercial leases do not adequately address the issues involved, including often highly contentious areas such as consent for alterations, whether it is the landlord or the tenant that pays, and whether or not changes need to be reinstated at lease end. The paper analyses ways to address this: by moving the way in which leases are drafted towards the green lease model, such as that set out in the Better Building Partnership Green Lease Toolkit. Such leases include clauses which provide for environmental performance improvements, management and monitoring as well as the way reinstatement at least end is dealt with. In the paper concludes that, alongside implementing physical energy efficiency improvements, monitoring energy use and educating building users, landlords and tenants must forge a new, collaborative approach in order to reach net zero by 2050.
    Keywords: net zero, carbon, refurbishment, green lease, dilapidations, landlord and tenant

  • Electronic communications apparatus and property: Surveyors beware
    Michael Watson, Partner, Knights

    The introduction of the Digital Economy Act 2017 followed by the New Electronic Communications Code are legislation changes that property owners, investors and developers should be aware of. In particular, the ability of electronic communications network operators to take property owners to court to seek to impose rights over their property assets and the restrictions on removing phone masts without a court order are having a fundamental impact on how the property sector perceives mobile phone masts and other electronic communications infrastructure. This paper reviews some of the issues that are causing difficulty between the property sector and network operators, particularly issues that professionals advising property owners should be alive to and upon which early specialist advice may be prudent before engaging with network operators.
    Keywords: phone masts, electronic communications, redevelopment, commercial property, mast removal, electronic communications code, solicitors, surveyors

  • Research paper:
    Energy pathology: Measuring a dwelling’s energy performance using smart meter and IoT data
    Richard Fitton, Reader in Energy Performance of Buildings, University of Salford

    This paper aims to introduce and give an understanding of the process of determining a building’s energy performance using smart meters and ‘onboard’ equipment such as sensors found in smart thermostats or even low-cost sensing equipment. The rationale for this type of examination of a dwelling is given, alongside figures around accuracy, cost and timescale. These are compared with the current and more complex methods of measuring this type of performance indicator.
    Keywords: energy pathology, smart meters, energy efficiency, heat loss


Volume 9 Number 1

  • Editorial
    Simon Beckett, Publisher
  • Assessing and addressing moisture vapour problems in new and old concrete floors with and without a functioning vapour barrier
    Mike Carberry, Technical Adviser, Koster Aquatecnic

    This paper analyses the cause of failures in resin, vinyl and other resilient floor finishes and build-ups attributed to vapour drive. First, it examines the constituents and formation of concrete and why it contains a high quantity of moisture (vapour) and the damage it can cause to the floor build-up, finish and the concrete itself. Secondly, it outlines the analysis and diagnosis of the problem and thirdly, describes the preparation and prevention in line with current technical guidelines. It concludes that an appropriate system should be included in the design on new or problematic floors to prevent future failures.
    Keywords: moisture mitigation, vapour control, moisture control, concrete floors

  • The stabilisation and repair of heritage structures and listed buildings
    John Brooks, Cintec International

    This paper addresses the delicate issues of structural repair and stabilisation of heritage structures and the importance of establishing the cause of the defects prior to any intervention work being carried out. Particular methods of intervention will be examined and the paper also identifies some methods to be avoided which time has revealed to be inappropriate. Modern techniques, now proven to be effective and acceptable by conservationists and other bodies around the world, are described. It is hoped that this paper will facilitate a greater understanding of the approach to this highly specialist field and offer those faced with such projects a suitable pathway to success. Some particularly interesting examples are presented to illustrate these points.
    Keywords: conservation, heritage, structural stabilisation, repair, masonry, minimal intervention, anchoring

  • Dry rot and timber decay: Don’t panic and poison yourself
    Jagjit Singh, Managing Director, Environmental Building Solutions

    This paper first shows that timber decay in buildings is primarily due to lack of maintenance and building defects, allowing water penetration into the building fabric providing ideal environmental conditions for fungal and beetle infestation. Secondly, the paper sets out how it is very important that investigations are non-destructive, and result in the correct diagnosis and identification of type and viability of decay. Thirdly the paper discusses the author’s belief that the remedial chemical timber treatments stem from fear and a lack of knowledge of dry rot, and that the demand for 30 year guarantees for treatment results in ‘overkill’. The paper advocates that the environmental control of dry rot and timber decay and preventative maintenance are preferable to conventional remedial treatments. This approach is based on scientific, practical experience and successful case studies carried out over the last 33 years, and provides not only environmentally sustainable holistic conservation solutions, but also ensures the long-term health of building materials, health of the occupants and structures.
    Keywords: timber decay survey, dry rot identification, environmental control of dry rot, non-destructive inspection

  • Creating a safe and dry basement by overcoming the conflict between waterproofing and gas proofing
    Rebecca Coates, Head of Radon Projects, propertECO

    Basement living and working is frequent in the UK, with barely a week going past without a ‘superbasement’ or ‘billionaire’s bunker’. All basements are at risk of containing high levels of radon, the naturally occurring radioactive gas, regardless of their geographic location. Since 1999, designers and contractors have been steered towards the use of internally fitted cavity drain membrane systems for basement waterproofing. Such systems are based on air gap technology, however, and are not appropriate for gas proofing, rather they may inadvertently increase radon concentrations in the property. This paper explores the conflict between best practice waterproofing and effective gas proofing, and a process that was developed to solve the dilemma, along with case studies of successful installations.
    Keywords: basement, cellar conversion, below ground waterproofing, radon, cavity drain membranes, positive pressure, BS8102:2009

  • Methods to safely reduce the costs of managing asbestos
    Fergus McCloskey, Managing Director, Global Environmental

    Estimates suggest that 10 per cent of the cost of demolition and as much as 5 per cent of spend on refurbishment can be allocated to the management of asbestos, which is still present in 2.4m homes and three-quarters of commercial, municipal and industrial premises — typically located within the fabric of these buildings. These costs can be significant when applied to a large property portfolio or construction project. This paper provides a number of suggestions whereby this spend can be reduced without compromising safety. Financial savings can be made throughout the life cycle of the asbestos management process from survey planning and methodology to limiting damage, avoiding out-of-hours working, accurately predicting asbestos risk, targeting analytical works and making use of a government scheme to claim tax relief on all costs of decontaminating property assets.
    Keywords: asbestos management, cost savings, tax relief, removal specification, risk assessment, pilot studies

  • Last man standing: Potential absurdities in the Party Wall etc. Act 1996
    James McAllister, Director, The Party Wall Consultancy

    This paper analyses the potential absurdities in the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 arising out of a recent party wall case, along with the practical implications for practising party wall surveyors. The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 came into force on 1st July, 1997 and is law in England and Wales. The Act provides a statutory mechanism for resolving disputes where the implementation of ‘notifiable’ works by one property owner (the building owner) has an impact on an adjoining property owner (the adjoining owner). Notifiable works generally comprise adjacent foundation excavations, works to repair, rebuild or modify a shared ‘party’ wall and the construction of walls at, or astride, the ‘line of junction’, being the legal boundary between the lands of two or more owners. In the event a ‘dispute’ arises between the respective property owners over the notifiable works, the Act requires both parties to appoint their own party wall surveyor, whereby the two surveyors then select a third surveyor to adjudicate any dispute they may have. Alternatively, the parties may elect to jointly appoint a single ‘agreed surveyor’ as a neutral arbiter. The agreed surveyor or the three surveyors, as the case may be, then resolve the dispute by way of an ‘award’ which is legally binding unless rendered invalid through procedural defect or where successfully appealed by either party in the county court within 14 days of service.
    Keywords: Party Wall etc. Act 1996, ex parte awards, party wall surveyors, third surveyor, rescission of appointments, replacement of party wall surveyors