Volume 9 (2020-21)

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 9 are listed below. 

Volume 9 Number 4

  • Editorial
    Simon Beckett, Publisher
  • Papers:
    Retrofitting traditional buildings for improved energy performance in the context of BSI PAS 2035
    John Edwards, Director, Edwards Hart Consultants

    The key document directing the way in which homes of all types and ages in the UK are retrofitted is PAS 2035. This document provides a major step forward in the way the retrofit of homes is conducted and while many great efforts have been made to ensure that traditional buildings are properly understood and retrofitted, there are some improvements in the way in which this could be approached. By comparing PAS 2035 with other guidance and standards which have been specifically developed for traditional and historic buildings, we can see where improvements in the next version of PAS 2035 can be made. PAS 2035 covers a broad range of areas with the process and risk analysis being a key part as well as roles with specific responsibilities and stipulated competency, qualification and membership requirements.
    Keywords: retrofit, energy efficiency, traditional buildings, PAS 2035, climate change

  • The valuation of high-risk residential buildings and the role of EWS1
    Steve Phillips, Chartered Building Surveyor and Senior Lecturer, Northumbria University

    In response to the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower in June 2017, the UK Government proposed regulatory reform with the purpose of ensuring residents feel safe and are safe in their own homes. This paper examines the advice that has been given by the government and traces how this advice has had disastrous consequences for the mortgage lending market for flats located in high-risk residential buildings. This has been compounded by the unfortunate effect that the EWS1 form has had on the same market. The paper opens with a review of the independent expert advisory panel set up to provide advice and make recommendations to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government on urgent building safety measures that should be carried out to high-risk residential buildings with aluminium composite material (ACM) external wall cladding. The panel formulated the much criticised advice note 14 which provided guidance to building owners to take general fire precautions with non-aluminium composite Material (non-ACM) cladding in their external wall systems to ensure that the systems are safe. Although advice note 14 was superseded in January 2020 by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s consolidated advice document, the binary approach to defining safe external wall systems is still adopted. This has caused unintended consequences for the valuation of flats in high-risk residential buildings as many valuation surveyors take the position that if compliance with the consolidated advice document cannot be demonstrated, then the flats within that building will have a valuation of £nil. The industry’s response has been to produce the EWS1 form which was intended to unblock the market. This aim has not been achieved, however, and the paper details why the EWS1 form has, to date, failed and suggests ways of restoring confidence within the market.
    Keywords: valuation, Grenfell Tower, fire safety, cladding, EWS1

  • RICS Home Survey Standards and a Victorian house case study
    Ian Rock, Director, Zennor Consultants

    The case study featured in this paper provides a clear example of the difficulties faced by clients who are poorly advised by the surveying profession with substandard home survey reports. It also raises questions about the fundamentals of carrying out home survey inspections particularly in relation to property types which commonly suffer from inherent design defects or where structural alterations have been carried out. To improve the quality of survey reports going forward and address a wide range of consumer concerns, new Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Home Survey Standards have recently been adopted by the profession. It is therefore an opportune time to reflect upon the extent to which the new standards are likely to improve the quality of the client experience in practice.
    Keywords: Victorian house, defects, claims, redress system, home survey standards

  • Preparing a Red Book valuation
    Anthony Banfield, Chartered Surveyor, Banfield Real Estate Solutions

    The ‘RICS Valuation – Global Standards, effective from 31st January 2020’, or ‘Red Book’ as it is colloquially known, sets out the procedures that must be followed by RICS registered valuers when carrying out valuations. Although there is no formal definition of a ‘Red Book valuation’, it is generally accepted to refer to a valuation in compliance with the current Red Book mandatory requirements. This paper sets out the basic requirements for producing a ‘Red Book valuation’. The reader should also refer to the Red Book, both global and national standards, for further details of requirements.
    Keywords: RICS Valuation – Global Standards, Red Book, RICS registered valuers, Red Book valuation, global and national standards

  • Independent expert determination in dilapidations cases
    Allan M. Robertson, Chartered Building Surveyor, Allan Robertson Consulting

    Parties are increasingly looking beyond traditional litigation to resolve their disputes and the world of dilapidations is no different. Independent expert determination (IED) is a method of alternative dispute resolution. It has gained a certain amount of traction in dealing with dilapidations claims. This paper will examine the process of IED from a dilapidations perspective, explore the advantages and disadvantages of IED, compare it with other forms of dispute resolution, look at the processes involved and highlight some of the pitfalls for the unwary.
    Keywords: independent, expert, determination, dilapidations, landlord, tenant

  • Lessons not learned: How did we arrive at the need for the Hackitt Review?
    Ian Laurie, Director, Watts Group

    The term ‘unprecedented’ is often wrongly used in respect of catastrophic events, and while the Grenfell disaster has highlighted significant shortcomings in both our regulation and construction regimes, sadly history tells us that far from being unprecedented, this was a disaster not only waiting to happen, but which has been repeated at intervals throughout history. From the Great Fire of London to the Woolworths Manchester fire, the drivers behind Grenfell are well-known — cost pressures, lack of expertise and ineffective legislation all playing their part, as stated in the Hackitt Review. What is perhaps unprecedented is the extent to which Grenfell has highlighted what can only be described as endemic failings in our modern construction practises that show we have not simply forgotten the lessons history should have taught us, but have knowingly disregarded them. Before looking at the recommendations of the Hackitt enquiry and the proposed changes to the construction industry, this paper will look at the history of fire safety and the lessons that we were already taught, asking ourselves: ‘How did we end up at Grenfell?’
    Keywords: Grenfell, Hackitt, golden thread, review, inquiry, fire


Volume 9 Number 3

  • Editorial
    Simon Beckett, Publisher
  • Practice Papers:
    Party walls: When it goes wrong for surveyors and how they can deal with awkward situations
    Michael Cooper, Head of Neighbourly Matters and Building Surveying, Cooper’s Building Surveyors

    This paper is designed to assist surveyors in handling awkward party wall matters and understanding the limits of their own knowledge — the key message is: ‘Know what you know, know what you don’t know.’ Some of the complexities of recent case law are explained and it is the author’s suggestion that the administration of the Party Wall Etc. Act 1996 (the Act) is becoming far more complex and surveyors need to keep up to date with case decisions in all courts. Changes to the legislation itself are limited; however, case law is driving changes in the way the Act is interpreted and administered. This paper does demonstrate some of the recent cases and the decisions of judges that have had a more significant recent impact on the administration of the Act by surveyors; it also highlights the increasing complexity of judgments and findings within the courts. The need to keep abreast of these decisions is making the party wall surveyors’ role increasingly more complex. A good party wall surveyor will most likely be dedicated to this service exclusively and will have time to allocate to keep abreast of the case law. Members of the public would be well advised to seek these individuals when instructing.
    Keywords: party wall surveyors, neighbourly matters, problems with party walls, party wall award, party wall case law

  • Fire safety legislation: A multi-billion-pound opportunity to improve our industry
    Fiona Fletcher-Smith, Group Director and Johnny Furlong, BIM Strategy Lead, L&Q

    This paper details the billions of pounds involved in complying with the building safety legislation that is passing through the parliamentary process. This legislation is designed to deliver a radically new building safety system for the future. While examining what will be required from the legislation, we future discuss the opportunities that a radically new system brings. We focus on the Building Safety Bill that will bring the 53 recommendations from Dame Judith Hackitt’s report ‘Building a Safer Future’ into law. We consider how the ‘golden thread’ way of working, as outlined in Dame Hackitt’s report, will be central to complying with the new legislation and how BIM using the ISO standards is the framework for the golden thread. We make the case that there are opportunities to use this new way of working, which is being developed for building safety, to simultaneously achieve operational excellence by significantly improving how we understand and manage buildings, so we are in control of design, build and operate phases. We further set out how being in control of buildings’ information can improve the quality of new builds, reduce maintenance and operations costs, and ultimately lead to whole life cycle building cost reductions, as well as delivering a better service for residents.
    Keywords: building safety case, legislation, residential, BIM, digital, golden thread, opportunity

  • Stabilising the round tower at Windsor Castle
    Clive Dawson, Managing Director, Hockley & Dawson

    This paper endeavours to describe the causes, investigations and remedial works carried out to stabilise the Round Tower at Windsor Castle following the significant structural movement in 1987. The nature of the tower, designed to keep soldiers out, meant that significant logistical and practical problems had to be considered, overcome and designed out before the technical hurdles could be surmounted. These obstacles resulted in what would normally be a conservation project becoming a large civil engineering project using plant, equipment and skills rather alien to the conservation world. The project overcame the obstacles and differing approaches to construction work, with both ends of the spectrum learning from each other to produce a successful outcome: to stabilise the iconic symbol of British monarchy for another 900 years. The project was carried out in full view of the public, as the castle remained open throughout, with work interrupted for official and state occasions and site meetings disrupted by the Band of the Guards marching past, making it a unique experience for all concerned.
    Keywords: conservation, stabilisation, Windsor Castle, Round Tower, underpinning

  • Investigation and assessment of decorative plaster ceilings
    Richard Ireland, Independent Consultant, Plaster & Paint

    Plaster ceilings are an intrinsic feature of historic buildings, from high-status palaces and public buildings with elaborate decorative ceilings to vernacular domestic interiors with plain flatwork. An appreciation of the stylistic development is the first visual evidence for assessing their cultural significance and intrinsic value. Periodic campaigns of decoration coupled with repair and restoration often serve to mask original materials, methods and condition, misleading the unwary and inexperienced observer. A comprehensive understanding of the materials and methods used for fabrication is essential in helping to form an appropriate conservation approach to minimise intervention and loss of original fabric in remedial works that may be necessitated by decay and deterioration, or even loss. The partial collapse of the Apollo Theatre auditorium ceiling in London in 2013 particularly highlighted and focused attention on the inspection and certification of historic plaster ceilings throughout the UK. This paper outlines some of the key materials, fabrication methods, agents of decay, investigation, and approaches to repair and conservation of historic plaster ceilings.
    Keywords: historic ceilings, ceiling fabrication, lime plaster, gypsum plaster, fibrous plaster, inspection, decay, conservation repair

  • Moulds and health implications: Building risk assessment in a litigious age
    Jagjit Singh, Managing Director, Environmental Building Solutions

    Mould growth in buildings, archives, museums, galleries and our cultural heritage can have detrimental effects on collections, decorative surfaces, materials and contents and can pose a threat to the health of the occupants. This paper is about interrelationships of the internal building environment created by the interactions of building architecture, materials, structures, services, contents and collections with their external environments and the resulting infestation and mould. Mould problems in both modern and historic buildings are mainly the result of defects in buildings, lack of maintenance and gross neglect. Rectifying these defects and ensuring proper maintenance can provide long-term sustainable, holistic solutions to these problems. The author has advocated that correct identification of the mould infestation by an independent scientist is the vital key to all such problems, as all infestation is not equally toxic, pathogenic and destructive. The environmental approach is beneficial to the building fabric, occupants and the wider environment, and the ongoing monitoring of the environmental conditions in buildings ensures the long-term health of building materials, health of the occupants and structures. The author strongly believes — based on scientific, practical experience and successful case studies over the last 33 years — that much damage has been inflicted in the last century by dealing with the symptoms of the problems and not with the cause(s). By proper understanding of the causes, their repetition should be avoided.
    Keywords: mould identification, toxic mould survey, moulds and health implications, environmental control, hidden moulds, non-destructive inspection, building mycology

  • The role of surveyors under the Party Wall etc. Act 1996
    Alistair Redler, Senior Partner, Delva Patman Redler

    The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 (the Act) is a unique piece of legislation, as it applies a dispute resolution process for works affecting neighbouring owners that is administered by surveyors and not by the courts or through formal arbitration procedures. This gives surveyors appointed under the Act a statutory role and it is therefore important that surveyors properly understand the extent of that role, the responsibilities that come with it and the limits of their jurisdiction. This paper examines case law to explain key issues of the surveyor’s role in detail. Much of that case law is from the County Court, which means that it is not binding on other courts, but as many of those judgments make reference to decisions of higher courts, they give valuable guidance to surveyors about how the courts understand the surveyor’s role. Many of the decisions result from courts deciding that actions of a surveyor were incorrect, which shows the importance of not taking for granted that the regular practice of other surveyors is necessarily correct. This article focuses on the role of surveyors when each owner appoints their own surveyor. Many of the points will of course also apply to agreed surveyors.
    Keywords: party wall, party wall surveyor, jurisdiction, third surveyor, rights of owners, fees

  • Daylight optimisation using parametric dynamic façades to improve energy efficiency
    Nicoleta Bocaneala, Architectural Technologist, Birmingham City University

    Buildings account for approximately a third of the total energy consumption in the world. A promising approach to achieve energy efficiency, daylight optimisation and end users’ comfort can be obtained by adopting dynamic façades into the design, utilising a parametric and environmental analysis approach. This paper provides a comprehensive literature review of the detailed analysis of the design patterns, research features, optimisation and techniques of the dynamic façades used to achieve energy efficiency through daylight optimisation. The paper represents the results of a cross-case analysis method of secondary data of diverse types of dynamic façades optimisation approaches, which helped to find that parametric design and environmental analysis of the dynamic façade systems used to optimise daylight is essential to achieve energy efficiency, leading to a proposed road map for implementing this methodology.
    Keywords: parametric design, daylight optimisation, energy simulation, dynamic façades, energy efficiency


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