March 12

Why A Building Survey Is Needed For UK Property

An architect going over blueprints on the jobsite. Steel frame construction.

For various reasons, it is necessary to estimate a property’s value, including taxation, investment, insurance, financing, and sales listing. However, the most common reason is for determining a property’s purchase price.

In this article, we will be providing an introduction to building surveys and why it is necessary to have one for property valuation purposes.

Building surveys involve extensive inspection that provides a thorough evaluation of a property.

It is the most common type of survey that is available, particularly for residential clients, although other types of surveys that are available too.

A survey provides property owners with a better understanding of a property’s condition.

The building survey details the potential risks as well as expenditures that might be necessary to help them create the right maintenance plans for their properties.

Surveys can be prepared for buyers and homeowners, as well as investors for their portfolios to provide them with information on investments they may make in the future.

Building surveys, which are also called condition surveys, usually are conducted by chartered surveyors and might be provided as a report that offers a view of a property at a specific point in time. They include all of the accessible elements along with recommendations for potential strategic plans to deal with issues that might have occurred.

To learn more about building surveys, you can visit sites such as www.woodwardsurveyors.co.uk/our-services/building-surveys.html

The following buildings are the ones that can benefit the most from this type of survey:

  • Buildings being purchased
  • Buildings that have unusual construction features and designs
  • Buildings that have been renovated, redeveloped or altered
  • Buildings that are 50 years old and older
  • Listed buildings

Due to the lack of standardisation among building surveys, it is critical that clients precisely and clearly describe what their requirements are.

Also, they need to voice any concerns they may have regarding certain elements of a building.

For example, they might want to have the floor structure, roof, heating equipment, or electrical checked.

Usually, these are not included as part of a standard building survey. However, a client can request them. The survey might not have access to some of these unless they are informed ahead of time so that the necessary arrangements can be made.

What objectives does a building survey have and what are some of the most common issues that are identified by surveyors?

The following are some of the most common objectives that might be included:

  • Providing an estimate of how much the required work will cost.
  • Providing conservation and maintenance recommendations.
  • Analysing enquiries to prevent future problems.
  • Analysing issues that need to be addressed to avoid severe damage from occurring.
  • Analysing both current and past causes of deterioration.
  • Detailing a property’s current condition and highlighting areas of failure or concern.

When conducting surveys surveyors need to be careful. Working in confined spaces, high places, or handling dangerous materials might be hazardous to their health. They need to very careful to identify buildings that show signs of deterioration, buildings that are being worked on, or unoccupied properties.

The following are the most common issues that are identified in a survey by building surveyors:

  • A property’s general condition.
  • Structural movement.
  • Signs of defects.
  • Signs of deterioration due to different kinds of condensation and damp
  • Deterioration due to infestation and rot.
  • Heating ventilation and air conditioning services.
  • Checking any alterations that have made to a property.
  • Drainage, plumbing, electrical and other types of building services.
  • Energy consumption.
  • Legal issues.
  • Other environmental issues.

Before renovating, building, or purchasing a property, it is essential to have a condition survey to detail any potential and immediate problem areas.

The surveyor looks for any structural failure, areas that need to be repaired, areas that need to be replaced, movement and deterioration. Surveyors are primarily looking for any problems that might occur before any construction work starts.

They also should identify areas of the property that were not possible to inspect previously or identify any issues that need specialists to make further investigations.

It may take one day to conduct and complete a detailed survey of a regular house. It may then take 2 weeks or more to complete the final report. More complex properties or larger building might take more time to complete.

Whether you are maintaining or renovating a property, selling a property, or are a potential owner, a building survey can provide you with a thorough understanding of the current condition of a property -the operating systems and structure.

It is helpful in obtaining evidence of any issues that may alert the owners to potential problems.

March 1

5 Cost-Effective Eco-Friendly Building Materials For Your Home

The modern concept of designing a sustainable home focused on having a property that not only runs on but also creates renewable power.

The use of solar panels is one of the best examples of this concept that allows for the construction of buildings that have zero net-energy consumption.

In keeping with the same objective, most modern properties are constructed using green building materials thus reduce their impact on the environment during the construction process.

However, while this may not necessarily create renewable energy, it does boost the overall efforts of having a home with a near-insignificant carbon footprint.

But what is “green” building material?

Of the many definitions used for explaining what green building material is, the following are the best descriptions:

Energy Efficiency – Materials That Limit Heat Loss Or Heat Transfer

As such, a home with these materials will stay cool when cooled or warm when the heat is turned up because of the restricted energy loss.

Moreover, technological advancements have come up with cheap energy efficient building materials.

Sustainable Manufacturing – Materials With A Minimal Environmental Impact, Meaning They Are Made From Recycled Products

The more durable then they have a low probability of damage, repair and replacement, thus making a saving for your pocket and the environment.

Which products suffice to be considered as green building materials?
The following are five top solutions that fit this category:

Recycled Metal

Wooden beams are a common choice for most buildering when designing support frames for homes. However, there has been a shift to the use of metal beams as they are significantly durable and stronger than the timber.

The manufacture of metal beams is an energy-demanding process. As such, the manufacturers will look into eco-friendly options, such as the use of recycled scrap metal to make the metallic beams.

The scrap consumes 75% less energy during the manufacturing process, and for the recycling mess, there are fewer landfills of these materials.

Plastic Compost Logs

Compared to the traditional treated timber, the plastic compost posts are more durable. They are made from recycled plastic mixed with wooden fibres, which mean there are less discarded wood components and plastics in the environment.

The material may be slightly pricey than the standard lumber, but the plastic compost posts are a worthwhile investment since they are less prone to wear and tear, thus providing long-lasting solutions.

Passive Cooling And Heating Shades

The market has an array of options when it comes to construction materials that can help regulate heat and light coming into or escaping a building.

The use of such products means that a house can be made to be less energy-demanding since it can utilise natural light and regulate internal temperatures.

For instance, light management is possible through the use of tinted glass, mirror glass, and low-emissivity windows. They can be designed to block the penetration of UV rays into the house.

Double-paned windows can help with the regulation and management of internal heat. On the other hand, fabric sunshades and perforated blinds over the windows add to the overall gains of such solutions.

Overall, they are materials that offer more flexibility with the additional benefits of lower installation costs.

Structural Insulated Panels

Structural insulated panels are layered block made of insulated foam sandwiched between cement and board or plywood.

The structural insulated panels or SIPs are a top alternative to fibreglass. Many green builders consider them when they are looking for products with a high insulation rating because they offer a superior building envelope.

SIPs are fire-resistant and very useful in limiting air infiltration and blocking heat transfer.

If the SIPs are installed correctly, they can significantly lower the energy consumption of a home by 50%. They are eco-friendly since they are fewer resources and less energy to produce compared to many other construction solutions.

Tankless Water Heaters

The conventional furnace water heaters are designed to heat water and store to ensure there is a consistent supply around the clock.

Therefore, these tanks should regulate the temperature even when there is a low demand or use of water, and that translates to high energy consumption.

The tankless water heaters offer an energy-efficient alternative that uses a slightly different approach. They ensure there is a reliable delivery of hot water by only heating the water that flows through the system as and when needed.

Unfortunately, the flow rate of the traditional furnaces is better than that of the tankless water heater systems.

The tankless water heater systems can delivery around 2 – 5 gallons of water per minute, which can suffice to take a shower or do laundry. However, that rate may not suffice for doing the two things simultaneously.

On the bright side, the tankless water heaters are not that costly to buy or install. You can have one set up at each point of use. It will ensure that you have adequate delivery of hot water throughout the home without having to worry about the heating bills.

Furthermore, the tankless water heater systems are a cost-effective investment that pays for itself over time. They can last ten times longer than the furnace water heaters and require less maintenance or repairs.

Why Green Construction Is Gaining So Much Traction

Most of the environmentally friendly solutions mentioned above have been around over the last one or two decades, and more and more “green conscious” builders are now using these materials.

Cost is one of the factors behind the slow rate of adoption of these eco-friendly building materials. However, the economies of scale coupled with better manufacturing methods have seen most of the green building solutions take their place on the podium with most of the conventional solutions.

Furthermore, the green building materials are highly durable and have a smaller carbon footprint that makes them a cheaper and cleaner alternative in the long run.

February 16

10 Eco-Friendly Tips To Warm Up Your House This Autumn

With the colder weather approaching, heating bills may start to slowly increase.

However, this doesn’t have to happen, so that is why we wanted to share our best 10 tips to help you warm up your house during the autumn.

Use Door Draughts Excluders

One of the main ways that a house loses heat during the winter and autumn is under the bottom of your doors. The gaps under the door allow heat to escape and lets the cold air inside the house.

Draughter excluders are an easy and quick way to retain heat and reduce your energy bills. Draught excluders are very affordable and can be purchased at most DIY stores.

Use Insulating Curtains On Your Windows

Even if you have double glazed windows, losing heat in the house still can be expensive, so use insulated curtains that are lined and thick to help to prevent heat from escaping or the cold getting inside of your house.

Insulate Keyholes And Letterboxes

If you use an eco-flap on a letterbox, it still allows letters in, but it prevents cold air from getting in. Insulating keyholes works in the same way.

Those seemingly insignificant, small spaces allow lots of heat to get out, so insulating them helps to lower your heating bills.

Add A Water Tank Jacket

Adding a new jacket to your cylinder this season is an excellent way to reduce your energy prices, but ensure that your house stays warm.

You can buy a boiler jacket for less than £20 at a majority of DIY shops and may help to prevent up to 75% of heat loss.

Loft And Internal Wall Insulation

Installing loft and internal wall insulation is an effective way to prevent heat from escaping out of your house and may save you as much as £2000 on your energy bills.

Government-backed grants, like the green deal, now have ended, but if you install loft and internal wall insulation can save you thousands by increasing the energy efficiency of your home and helping to reduce waste.

Use The Timer On Your Heater And Use Heat Reflective Material

Putting tin foil or other similar materials behind your radiator (particularly those that have external walls) helps to prevent heat from leaving your house via the walls and then reflects into the room.

There isn’t any point turning the heat on when you get up in the morning since by the time that it circulates it will most likely be time for you to leave. Instead, set up a heating timer so that it turns on 30 minutes before getting up, and then turn it off before leaving the house.

Let The Light In

By opening up your curtains during the day allow natural light in and free heat, then in the evening keep them closed to lock the heat and keep the cold out.

Cover Up Your Bare Floorboards

When you seal the gaps in on your floorboards, it prevents heat from escaping through gaps. Cover a wooden floor up with a rug as it will help to keep the cold out and give you something nice to put your feet on.

Close Rooms You Are Not Using

Keep the doors closed in the rooms that are not being used to prevent the heat from entering the room. Whenever you are at home, try to stay in one main room, as it saves your heating bill and you can spend more time with your family.

Buy A Hot Water Bottle!

When you put a hot water bottle inside your bed, before getting in, heats the bed without needing to turn the radiators on.

Hot water bottles are reasonably inexpensive and are an excellent way to save some energy, so fill them up with boiling water to keep you warm for many hours and help keep your energy bills down.

February 7

Eco-Friendly Buildings and How They Are Constructed

an eco-friendly building (or ecological) has been built to be beneficial to the environment, or at least non-harmful.

These eco-friendly buildings are otherwise known as green buildings, the efficient construction type uses local and renewable materials, along with using extremely low energy to maintain the building and during its construction.

Eco-friendly building types were developed due to the fact that many buildings today can be extremely detrimental to the natural sources and the environment, such as the materials that have been used for the build and having to transport these materials many miles across land to the final construction site destination.

There are many ecological structures that are used now for the construction of buildings. Surveyors, architects, engineers and builders across the globe are now very conscious of the environmental damage throughout history, and with pressure from local environmental agencies, are now using eco-friendly construction techniques.

These eco-friendly construction techniques include using a rammed earth construction that uses the typical clay base material and then mixed with water. This mixture is then rammed into either a solid wall for or individual bricks.

Other techniques are utilised, more in hot and dry climates, such as using bales of straw as the main central structure which provides great insulation and is breathable material to pass air through the wall, and contrary to belief, when compressed is fire resistant.

Other methods use recycled car tires that are filled with earth and are used as the building’s walls

These eco-friendly construction techniques are seen as progression to reduce impact on our environment today.