All buildings require regular inspection and maintenance as they obviously deteriorate over time. Regular and prompt action together with correct maintenance can considerably lengthen the life of a building and its components.


EXTERNAL ELEMENTS

Roof & Gutters

• Roof slopes and coverings, for example tiles, slates - particularly after severe weather conditions check for slipped, cracked or badly damaged tiles and replace immediately.

• Cement pointing at the roof edges. Make sure that this is kept in good condition.

• Remove lichen and other moss growth from tiles/slates if this becomes heavy.

• Flat roofs, normally covered in felt or metal are prone to defects. Felt in particular has a limited life. Whenever possible try to avoid walking or standing ladders on flat roofs as the covering can be very easily damaged.

• Check flashings and valley gutters or hidden gutters for blockages and leaks. Valley gutters are particularly prone to defects and should be cleaned out at regular intervals.

• Make sure that the chippings to your flat roof remain evenly laid and clear away any heavy moss or lichen growth as this can retain moisture. The chippings help to protect the coverings from solar and wind damage.

• Keep chimney pots and cowls in good order and ensure that the brickwork and cement joints are in good condition.

• Gutters often become blocked with leaves, weeds or debris and should be cleaned out on a regular basis. Replace or repair any missing or defective sections immediately in order to protect the property.

Loft

• Check for bird entry or wasp's nests. In very rare cases where you find bats, remember that they are a protected species so you will need specialist advice.

• Check condition of water storage tanks and pipework and ensure they are properly covered and lagged.

• Ensure the loft is well ventilated especially If upgrading insulation levels.

Walls

• Dampness can penetrate through defective mortar joints or hairline cracks in the rendering. Although very fine surface cracks may appear insignificant, it is always sensible to fill them to be on the safe side.

• Ensure that the cement mortar around the waste pipes is in good condition.

• Use a pliable waterproof mastic sealant to close any gaps around the window or doorframes.

• Never bridge a damp course by building up external paving levels or garden borders. A sensible guide is to keep external levels at two brick courses below the damp course level, or inside floor level

• Never render walls down to external ground level as this is likely to bridge any damp proof course. Always finish the rendering in a properly formed bell cast.

• Water may get behind poor rendering which could lead to dampness. Any cracked or loose areas of rendering should be repaired or replaced.

• Remove ivy or other climbing plants in particular from walls and gutters. Such plants can damage stone/brickwork and retain moisture in the wall.

• Do not allow any air bricks to the base of the walls to become blocked or obstructed. Failure to do so will prevent adequate air flow and could lead to rot in the floor timbers.

• Check rainwater downpipes for splits and leaking joints and repair promptly if defective.

External Woodwork

• Paint and/or restain window frames and other joinery at regular intervals.

• Periodically check window and door frames and repair any timbers affected by wet rot. Regular painting will help avoid the timber becoming rot affected.

• Replace broken or damaged sash cords or window latches.

• Renew cracked or broken panes of glass and replace missing or loose putties before redecoration.


SERVICES

Electrics, Heating, Plumbing and Drainage

• We strongly advise that you have the electrical installation checked by the electricity board at least every three years as the system can deteriorate with age and Regulations are being constantly updated.

• Ensure that you obtain qualified advice before making any alteration to the electrical wiring system.

• Ensure that you know how to get to internal and external stopcocks in the event of an emergency.

• Check your plumbing pipework and waste pipes for leaks and from time to time clean out bath, sink and washbasin traps. Reseal joints around shower bases and other appliances.

• Clean through overflow pipes from water tanks or cisterns.

• Arrange for central heating boilers, water heaters and heating appliances to be regularly serviced to maximise efficiency.

• Clear blocked soakaways or gulleys. Blockages in a drainage system may be cleared by rodding or pressure hosing. Periodically lift manhole covers to inspect the drains.


MISCELLANEOUS

In the Garden

• Shrubs and trees can be damaging to the fabric of the property and so their growth needs to be restricted. Keep soil, trees and shrubs away from outside walls wherever possible.

• Cut back any wall climbing plants as they can damage walls and can encourage damp penetration. Extensions and Alterations

• Before you start any structural alterations or extensions check with your local council as to whether Building Regulation or Planning Approval is necessary.

• If you live in a Listed Building remember that Listing Building Consent may be necessary even in the case of minor alterations to the appearance of the building. Similarly, if you live in a Conservation Area you will need to consult the relevant planning authority before starting any work.

Energy Conservation

• The thermal efficiency of your property can often be improved for a relatively modest cost. These measures can often result in an improved internal environment and reduce carbon dioxide emissions and produce lower fuel bills. Such measures include:

- Draught exclusion to windows and external doors.

- Proper insulation of hot water cylinders and lagging of water pipes.

- Check that your loft insulation is thick enough but make sure that gaps are left at the eaves to allow


These notes have been prepared for guidance only.

For any repair works or alterations that you plan to implement to your home you are strongly advised to seek professional advice and to seek estimates from firms recognized and qualified in the appropriate trade or profession and whose work will be supported by the relevant industry standard.

For further advice in all these circumstances please contact us.

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