By adopting a planned approach to
maintenance an occupier can help to avoid the need for unplanned emergency
repairs. This will also help to maintain the value of the building and in some
cases even help to add value
|Source: Google Images|
As a Chartered Building Surveyor it never ceased to amaze me when I would see significant defects or damage, which had resulted from what would have originally been a very simple thing to fix. On occasions this was down to lack of knowledge or awareness on behalf of the occupier, however it can also be said that laziness was also a common cause. This is because many see and are aware of problems in their building but do not see any urgency as the building is still ‘functioning’. Basically, the issue is ignored! Going back to the example of the car, it would be the same as hearing a rattling noise in your car as you drive along and instead of getting this rectified you turn the radio up, because the car is still 'functioning'. Eventually however the car will break down and the cost of repair is likely to be much more expensive than if you had dealt with the problem in the first place. The old adage ‘prevention is better than cure’, is something that immediately comes to mind and this is particularly relevant in respect of buildings.
By adopting a planned approach to maintenance an occupier can help to avoid the need for unplanned emergency repairs. This will also help to maintain the value of the building and in some cases even help to add value. The value of a building can be significantly affected by it’s condition, in fact there are many examples of properties of similar size and type, in very close proximity that can vary by many thousands of pounds as a result of the difference in their conditions. If regular un-costly maintenance can add significant value to a property, then you would have to ask why so many people fail to do it!
There are a number of routine basic maintenance tasks that can be undertaken in a building (both externally and internally) in order to increase the serviceable life of various components and to prevent more serious, often costly problems occurring in the future. As you can see from my suggestions below, in most cases you do not need any specialist knowledge or training and you will only need to engage the services of a building contractor for the more risky or complicated activities or possibly where it may be more physically challenging than you are able.
Clear rainwater gutters - Blocked gutters will allow rainwater, sometimes in high volume, to discharge onto external surfaces. Over a period of time this can result in problems such as penetrating damp, condensation and timber decay to occur. Large volumes of water discharging into the ground can also affect the ground bearing capacity of certain types of ground under foundations, sometimes resulting in very serious problems such as subsidence. Therefore regularly checking that gutters are clear can prevent some very significant defects occurring in the future.
Cut back trees, shrubs and vegetation - Trees, shrubs and vegetation provide a much softer appearance than buildings and structures and are an important feature for many when considering purchasing or occupying a building. Whereas they have many positive qualities, if not maintained they can prove to be extremely detrimental to a building. Trees and particularly tree roots, can undermine foundations and damage drains and are often found to be the cause or significant contributing factor to ground movement. Therefore, trees need to be monitored and maintained when they are located within a distance that could affect a building. If trees become an issue, specialist advice is likely to be necessary from an Arboriculturist in order to provide accurate remedial measures to address the problem.
|Source: Google Images|
Wash down UPVC - Over the last thirty years UPVC has become increasingly popular as a material used for external building components, particularly for guttering and downpipes and window frames. UPVC external cladding, soffits and fascia boards are also now commonly used in place of timber due to the perceived reduction in maintenance and improved life expectancy. To a point this is correct, however it is a complete misconception that once UPVC is installed that it can be left forever and does not need any maintenance. Have you ever noticed that when first installed that UPVC has a ‘shiny gloss’ finish. However over a period of time once exposed to external elements, the surface will dull down. This can be due to photo-oxidation which causes bleaching (staining) and loss of pigmentation of the UPVC. Once this occurs the UPVC will pick up dirt, dust and other particles and become discoloured. Simply washing down UPVC surfaces every six months with warm soapy water will significantly reduce the risk of this occurring.
Next week, In part 2 I will discuss some further routine maintenance tasks that can be undertaken in a building (both externally and internally) in order to increase the serviceable life of various components and to prevent more serious, often costly problems occurring in the future.
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