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Residential Surveys Home buyer reports and valuations carried out throughout the South West area including boundary wall disputes and party wall negotiations.

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Commercial Surveys, If you require any advice on government legislation regarding commercial property please contact Peter Maksymuk personally at
Or phone directly on: 07834 349777

"...We would certainly recommend you to anyone who asked...."
Mr and Mrs Herne

"...We wouldn't hesitate to recommend Peter to anyone considering a property purchase...."
Mr Monks

"... work and advice.... undertaken in a professional and pleasant manner and has allowed Chippenham Town Council to make substantial savings on future maintenance requirements..."
Victoria Lowkis, Chippenham Town Council

“... Peter has saved us thousands of pounds  and a lot of heartache in the purchase of our home...”
Graham McCallion, Swindon

Professional surveying in Wiltshire, Bath, Cirencester and the South West from a local company and highly qualified chartered surveyor Peter Maksymuk. Many companies already know Peter as he has worked locally for many years saving companies and local home owners many hundreds of thousands of pounds with his professionalism and technical knowledge.

Surveying News

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                                                                                                      Date:   July 2013

Flooding Insurance.

The current scheme for flood insurance has run out although insurers appear to be honouring existing customers. The Government have reached an agreement known as Flood RE which comes into force in 2015 where the Government will back an insurance scheme and insurers will enter the scheme providing the Government continues to undertaken flood defence works.

The current scheme is variable and legal advisers and Surveyors are advised to seek assurances that adequate cover is available for properties at risk from flooding. Flooding will include both high water tables and the risk of costal and river flooding. There will be an issue with new customers undertaking new insurance policies and care should be taken on any purchase.

See Spring Survey News.

Building Regulations to Change.

There are important changes to the Building Regulations whereby October 2013 the following onerous changes are to take place:

1. 25% increase on the 2010 Part L Building Regulations which is an increase of 44% on the 2006 regulations in readiness for 2016 when new homes have to be zero carbon rated. Effectively roofs are reduced from 0.2 to 0.16 W/m²K, walls from 0.3 to 0.2, floors from 0.25 to 0.18, party walls remain unchanged, and windows are to be reduced from 2 to 1.6.

2. The number of inspections carried out by approved or building Local Authority inspectors are to be reduced from 6 to 2 to include commencement and completion where certificates have to be issued within 8 weeks of notification. Further inspections are at the discretion of the Inspector and could reduce the site inspection process which could cause an increase in hidden defects. Surveyors and Legal Advisers can no longer rely on a Building Control Certificate to indicate full compliance and are advised to undertake a survey and carry out inspection to confirm necessary requirements. As you may be aware Approved Inspectors are often instructed by the local builder who may not have a design insurance policy to cover works. Often works are now carried out without Building Regulation approved drawings or structural calculations which are now legally acceptable. Quite often works are undertaken on a building notice issues with the issue of a Final Building Control Certificate.

3. Approved document M Access Statements has now been removed as a requirements for extensions and new builds.

4. The Building Control process has removed the warranty link rule.

5. Local regulations and acts have now been repealed and removed.

6. Guidance to stairs and ramps are now totally in Part K.

7. Special considerations may be applicable to historic and traditional buildings.

The increase in U values would make it difficult to fully comply and would make the use of solar panels mandatory to comply with new insulation standards.

structural survey
Recent survey of Listed Rose Cottage Avebury

RICS Home Surveys in The News.

The results from the RICS surveying of home buying showed that many home buyers did not take out a home survey and are left with a property they regret buying with an average of £5,750 in repair bills. This included a survey of 1,017 buyers across the UK and also found the following:

  • Consumers are clearly aware of the need for independent advice, although nearly a third failed to do so.

  • 89% of respondents did not commission a survey; however now think it is important to take independent advice.

  • 73% of people who did commission a survey said it provided them with peace of mind, and over 50% thought it was value for money.

  • 60% of respondents incorrectly identified an estate agents primary responsibility with 1 in 10 mistakenly believing agents act for the buyer, whilst nearly 1 in 5 think they act equally for the buyer and seller.

Listed Building Survey
Concrete floor defect in Swindon

Listed Building Survey
Recent survey in Henrietta Street Bath

Standard Regulations.

One of the most significant changes to the construction industry comes into force on 1 July. A new set of rules with standardised construction products across Europe. This relates to the Construction Products Regulations (CPR) which will cover a wide range of products with many visible changes. This will standardise the European products performance of materials across 7 basic requirements.

1. Mechanical resistance and stability

2. Safety in case of fire

3. Hygiene, health and environment

4. Safety and accessibility in use

5. Protection against noise

6. Energy economy and heat retention

7. Sustainable use of natural resources

The CPR replaces the former Construction Product Directive (CPD) which requires manufacturers and distributors of products to declare the performance of the product. On 1 July more products will bear the CE marking which has not been mandatory up to this point. A product CE marking demonstrates that it has been established and declaration of performance (DoP) which indicates it meets the relevant regulations. All manufacturers and distributors have to make DoPs available.

Dilapidations Protocol (Almost) 1 year in.

Nearly a year has passed since the adoption by the Courts of the pre-action protocol for claims of damage in relation to the physical state of commercial properties. The protocol applies under the Civil Procedural Rules (CPR).

Conduct of the parties
Parties are expected to act reasonably, setting out their respective positions.
Surveyor's Endorsements
Schedule of Dilapidations must be endorsed by a surveyor's signature. There must be a statement by the surveyor indicating a fair and reasonable assessment.
Quantified Demand
The Protocol requires a quantified demand for a Terminal Schedule of Dilapidations.
Recovery of Costs
Section 4 of the new guidance notes makes it clear that the recovery of professional fees under the terms of the Lease.
Quantification of Landlord's Loss
Section 8 of the guidance notes explores the issues with regard to the landlord's intentions, in particular: Section 18 Diminution Valuation could be provided, it has to be taken into account the intention of the landlord, whether to refurbish and whether any of the work is superseded and whether he intends to carry out the works.
Courts Proceedings with Non Compliance of the Protocol
Where the Court considers non compliance it will, amongst other things, be concerned about whether the parties have complied in substance with the relevant principles. The Protocol does not intend to implement minor technical shortcomings, for instance, failing to serve a Schedule within a recommended timescale does not invalid a landlord's claim.

Very few dilapidation claims ever reach the Courts but in complying with the Protocols, provisions of the property, a professional can acknowledge that in doing so he has not put their client at risk at of any costs.


From:              Peter Maksymuk

For further advice please contact Peter Maksymuk, Peter Maksymuk Surveying Ltd.
Contact on 07834349777  



                                                                                                      Date:   February 2013

Flooding Insurance.

The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) are concerned that the Government and insurance industry do not appear to be reaching agreement with regard to the principles of the Government covering flood insurance which was established in 2000 as a temporary measure. The current agreement is due to expire at the end of June 2013 and there have been few tangible signs of progress – and an "impasse" has been referred by the Association of British Insurers who have put forward proposals for a non-profit fund to the Government.

The worry is that should suitable insurance not be in place to cover new residential sales by June 2013 that there is likely to be a substantial devaluation in properties previously and new dwelling affected by flooding.

Due to the recent substantial rainfall an increasing proportion of insurance claims are caused by "pluvial" flooding or water running across the surface, or from over flowing drains. Neither of these are shown on Environmental Agency flood maps.

Once a property is flooding it is always difficult and expensive to obtain further insurance. In assessing and reporting on flooding a surveyor and prospective purchaser should
1) Always check the Environment Agency flood map, although this does not show pluvial flooding.
2) Ask the vendor or their agent if the property has flooded before and try to get an acknowledgement response.
3) Look at local topography, does the adjacent land fall towards the property, is any part of the site low lying.
4) Are there are obvious drains, ditches closeby that could block during wet weather.
5) Is there any evidence of localised flooding such as piles of sandbanks, evidence of passive flooding measures such as air brick covers, slots or barriers across doors, mud or other "pluvial" deposits on the ground around the site.

A property that has substantially flooded may devalue in price by up to 60% or 70% should a suitable remedy for future flooding not be possible.

structural survey
Picture of The Heritage Museum, Chippenham where Peter Maksymuk Surveying Limited recently carried out a 6 year maintenance plan with costings to allow the Local Authority to adequately budget for future repairs

Japanese Knotweed.

Residential and commercial properties may not be able to obtain commercial lending if Japanese Knotweed is within 7 metres of the property..

Japanese Knotweed present within 7 metres of the boundary and situated on a neighbouring property's land will require to be risk assessed by a commercial lender before an advance is made.

If Japanese Knotweed is present within 7 metres then the property may not be readily saleable and will substantial devalue.

Knotweed which is greater than 7 metres distant and situated on the boundary will have to be commercial managed which normally involves an annual cost for a specialist company to treat knotweed. You should be aware that during the winter months the knotweed dies away to the underground stem and over winter it is not readily apparent forming a "rhizome" (retreated to within the root system) and as little at 0.7g, can regrow into a new plant.

Further specialist help and investigations could be required on purchasing the property particularly if there are water courses nearby, or external grounds have not be adequately maintained, or situated near contaminated land or infill sites.

structural survey
Recent Site Supervision for a games room extension to a Grade II Listed Building in Little Somerford

Residential Squatting.

Many people will remember the times when we would write to squatters to book an appointment to inspect their squat and was often welcomed with a nice cup of tea. This is not the case anymore, as from 1 September 2012 squatting is a criminal offence in a residential building in England and Wales.

The intention of the new legislation is to protect owners and lawful occupiers of any type of residential building. A person can only commit an offence when:

  • They are in a residential building as a trespasser, having entered the building as a trespasser.
  • They know or ought to have known they are a trespasser.
  • They are living in a building or intend to live there for any period of time.

UK Green Investment Bank Gets Green Light From Europe.

Plans by the UK Government to set up the world's first green investment bank (UKGIB) have been approved by the European Commission on 17 October 2012. The Bank is now set to begin operation with a fund of £3 billion of Government money and in addition mobilising private capital will make a significant contribution to the development of the green economy state.

Listed Building Consent.

The Government has introduced further proposals to simplify Listed Building Consent procedures. This includes a choice between Deeded Consent following prior notification of works, and local and national class consents which do not require Listed Building Consents (LBC). The justification is that a vast majority of LBC applications are for small works given consent. A third proposal introduces Certificates of Lawful Works for Listed Buildings where an owner or developer could apply for a certificate that works are lawful. The system could be used for proposed works but also retrospectively.

The consultation closed on 23 August and it is likely that further clauses to implement these proposals will be drafted for the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill currently going through Parliament.

Listed Building Survey
Survey of the Five Alls in Filkins providing advice to a client on a long lease.

Listed Building Survey
Survey of The Bell in Sutton Benger the client who carried out a purchase of the property.

Building Control Worries.

There are current issues brought to our attention that there is a possibility newly constructed extensions signed off under the Approved Inspectors'' Scheme to comply with Building Regulations have not complied with basic regulation requirements.

Prospective purchasers should have a survey carried out on a property which has been extended or altered and should be aware that merely the production of a Final Building Control Inspection Certificate does not guarantee the workmanship of the extension.

It has been legal for some time to carry out substantial building works without any drawings, structural engineer's details, or calculations allowing the builder to construct the building on an "ad hoc" manner with a view to design and build of the construction as progressing. The Approved Inspector is normally instructed on the recommendation of the builder and the Building Inspector is only responsible for Health & Safety issues and not providing certification that the works have been carried out in a good and workman like manner. The building contractor is ultimately responsible, we have come across issues where buildings have been signed off under Building Regulations although workmanship and fairly major basic works have not been carried out in a workmanlike manner, subsequently causing a substantial amount of remedial works and costs.

A surveyor undertaking a survey of a property should be aware of basic Building Regulation standards and should highlight any deficiencies in his opinion where a property does not comply with Building Regulation standards. Further recommendations should be made with regard to a structural engineer's report or calculations to be obtained, damp issues, means of escape for fire, etc.

Listed Building Survey
Brown Street, Salisbury, pre-dilapidations survey for the tenant to establish the future dilapidation costs and mitigate losses.

Listed Building Survey
Recent party wall agreement in Swindon following extension by building owner.

Pre-survey Reduces Tenant's Dilapidations Claim.

It would be prudent for tenants who have under three years remaining on their lease to have a dilapidations survey carried out, ideally greater than 1 year prior to termination of the lease, in order to establish the extent of dilapidations in relation to their lease and to undertake the works in a cost efficient manner to reduce future consequential losses occurring following termination. The landlord's surveyor on entering the property after the tenant has vacated will not only cost the outstanding dilapidation works but also include for consequently losses which normally include up to 3 months of rent, solicitors fees, and additional surveyor fees incurred.

We have carried out a number of recent surveys for tenants to establish the extent of their liabilities so that this can be calculated in their accounts and to provide a cost efficient repair to reduce future substantial liabilities. Future considerations for new leases should include for upgrading energy requirements from 2018 where any building with a lower than grade E energy certificate will have to be upgraded.

Housing and Planning White Paper.

The Housing and Planning 2013 White Paper is a guide to the state of the market following extensive research in 2012. This paper proposes to reform the planning system affecting how house builders will do business and will include the following:

  • A ranking of every Local Authority in the UK.
  • Detail of Authority by Authority data on planning performance.
  • Reports informed by in-depth interviews.
  • Detailed round up of policy and planning.
  • An in-depth review of the state of the market.


From:              Peter Maksymuk

For further advice please contact Peter Maksymuk, Peter Maksymuk Surveying Ltd.
Contact on 07834349777  



                                                                                                      Date:   July 2012

New RICS Guidance Notes on Building Surveys of Residential Property.

Care should be taken on instructing Surveyors to carry out a Building Survey of a residential property. As prices become squeezed you should confirm that the Surveyor intends to carry out the mandatory requirements now under the new RICS Guidance Notes, Second Edition, which include providing a desk top study prior to inspection, commenting on specific elements to include structural movement, the structural weight, weight distribution and main supporting elements in a separate section, and also providing a new Surveyor's Overall Assessment with regard to the nature of the property, the adequacy of the structural framework, services and a comparison with similar properties. The Surveyor will also have to advise on conformity with modern requirements.

structural survey
Recent Structural Survey of 900 Square Metre White Hart Hotel, Calne

New Pre-action Protocol for Dilapidation Claims

A new protocol for claims for damages in relation to commercial property dilapidations has been introduced. There is now a requirement for a quantative demand which has to be accurate. The protocol indicates that the dilapidations should be considered to be a matter of litigation from the outset of the claim and has to be correctly set out without any spurious quantative demands.

The quantative demands should be restricted to the landlord's likely loss which is not necessarily the same as the cost of works to remedy the breaches. This should also include any likely work to be superseded and undertaken under the guidance notes on dilapidations which has just been released by the RICS. The tenant should respond to quantative demands within a reasonable time, usually within 56 days after the landlord sends out the quantified demand. The schedules will generally be within 56 days after the termination of the tenancy.

The traditional Summary of Claim will just not suffice anymore and either landlords need to ensure Solicitors are involved and/or Surveyors need to educate themselves better on the legal certification of claims. Given that the process of pursuing dilapidation claims is now generated by the CPR from day 1 then it seems that those advising on such claims will also need to ensure they provide their clients with comprehensive advice on the strategy for recovery of costs from the very outset.

Clients instructing a Surveyor or Legal Adviser should confirm with them that they propose to carry out the dilapidations with reference to the new protocol.

Get Ready For The Green Deal

Under plans being discussed by the Government anyone hoping to make improvements to their home from 2014 may have to carry out a lot of additional works to show their property is energy efficient. Installation of a new boiler or addition of a conservatory would require special planning permission granted on the condition that the house is fully insulated from top to bottom which could cost between £3,000 and £10,000 depending on the size of the property.

All this is part of the £14 billion Green Deal to insulate all homes in Britain within 20 years, a policy pushed through last year by Chris Hume and is only the beginning. The Green Deal comes into operation in October this year where the Golden Rule that the cost of improvements will be greater or equal to the cost of borrowing. The aim of the Green Deal is to achieve a massive reduction in the carbon dioxide (CO2) given off by by buildings. This is one of the countless measures inspired by the 2008 Climate Change Act.

Landlords will be expected to bring their property's up to the statutory standard but will be allowed to pass on the cost of doing so to their tenants, who allegedly will be able to afford these increased rents out of lower energy bills. This requirement is looming over commercial properties providing work places for millions of small businesses. Under proposed plans they will also find it illegal to rent out their premises from 2018 unless the properties are upgraded to GRADE 'E' or above, so it may be cheaper at this time to carry out minimum upgrades before the Part 'L' Building Regs are upgraded next year(2013) and in 2016,as the EPC Certificate lasts for 10 years.

Within 4 years it will only be legal to build what is called a Zero Carbon home and from 2016 no new homes will be permitted unless the energy use and emissions they give off is no CO2 emissions at all in net terms. The Building Regulations are intended to be changed in 2013 to ratchet up the existing requirements which were only improved upon last year. The Government has estimated that the cost of these additional requirements will add an average of £15,000 to each new home.

Listed Building Survey
Survey of Listed Building of Marr Green Farm
Advice on Potential Planning for Domestic/Commercial Use – March 2012

New Statutory Guidance on Contaminated Land

On 6 April 2012 the new Contaminated Land Statutory Guidance came into effect under the Environmental Protection Act of 1990. The guidance note is intended to explain how Local Authorities should implement the contaminated land regime established by the EPA, including how they should go about deciding whether land is contaminated land in a legal sense of the term.

The land will be categorised by introducing a banding from categories 1 (contaminated land) to 4 (not contaminated land), the aim is to make it easier for regulators to dismiss low risk sites.

Other useful amendments include radioactive contaminated land which is no longer covered and under separate guidance, acknowledgement of background levels of substances, and new sections on conducting risk assessments and land polluted ground with surface water causing "significant pollution".

For a copy of the guidance follow:

Red Book Revisions

Changes have been made to the Red Book which include definition of the word "property" being replaced by "asset" to differentiate an asset from a liability and would affect the non performance risk liability.

It is important to ensure that references to market value, investment value, or fair value definitions reflect the changes.

The definition of investment value has been extended to the owner or prospective owner for individual investment or operational objectives.

The new version also requires the valuer to provide an audit trail for compliance or monitoring purposes, a note of all conflicts of interest checks and the resolutions must be retained within the working papers.

Flood Risk and Impact on Value – Removal of Statement of Principles

In 2000 the Government and Insurance Industry agreed a Statement of Principles designed to ensure flood risk insurance was available for high risk homes. This agreement runs out in June 2013 and is unlikely to be renewed in the same form. This is likely to have a significant impact on affected homes when household insurance policies come up for renewal in 2012. As Valuers cannot anticipate the magnitude of this change we should be making our clients aware of the potential increased risk, particularly on future purchases.

Valuers are expected to have local knowledge and should know where the main flooding occurs in these areas, in the broad term at least, highlighting potential risks. Purchasers should be aware that there is limited information available in the public domain on river flooding.

The risk of premiums for "at risk" properties is currently unknown, but if they do risk it will be a tangible cost.

New Tree Preservation Order System

A new set of Tree Preservation Regulations came into force on 6 April 2012 known as the Town and Country Planning (Tree Preservation) (England) Regulations 2012. These will replace all existing Tree Preservation (TPO) regulations and arrangements. The new regulations will introduce a new model order in a slimmed down format and establish a unified system. A copy is available at

The legislation aims to replace dead or dying trees rather than complete removal and advice for residential practitioners.

New RICS guidance on Japanese Knotweed for Residential Properties.

The new guidance notes highlights the nature and description of Japanese Knotweed and is in consultation with the CML Building Societies Association.

The report indicates a commitment by the owner of the property to fund in advance a treatment programme effective against Japanese Knotweed which normally indicates a yearly expenditure on the prevention and spread of the Knotweed if present in an individual property. This can amount to an average cost of around £1,000 to £3,000 per annum and the most commonly affected areas includes drains, and buried services, patios, boundary retaining walls, outbuildings, conservatories and gardens.

Japanese Knotweed excavated from site has to be carefully disposed of as it is termed as a contaminated material and effective treatments include biological control, chemical control, removal or encapsulation.

The impact on value is likely to be depend on the cost of the remedial treatments on a yearly basis and can have an impact on the value of a property.

Table 1 of the guidance note provides category 1 to 4 for the risk of Japanese Knotweed indicating category 4 as a high risk where Japanese Knotweed is within 7 metres of habitable space and category 1 where Japanese Knotweed is not seen on the property. This provides a risk assessment to take into account when purchasing a property and should be highlighted by surveyors.

Properties previously affected by Japanese Knotweed have to have a management programme in place and this should be highlighted to purchasers and surveyors respectively. Owners of neighbouring properties will have to co-operate with regard to treatment to prevent the possibility of outbreak on other neighbouring land and property.

New Target Levels for Radon Gas

Many new purchases have highlighted an increase in radon gas emissions, principally due to new target levels of 100 Bq/m2 introduced by the HPA in July 2010. This indicated consideration for remediation when over 100 Bq/m2 an applies to all homes, schools, and public buildings. The effect of this is that saleability of properties are affected. There is currently no radon regulations to test for radon, however there are test kits which allow a 10 day and a 3 month test to provide an easy assessment for the sale of the property.

New property which is situated in a radon area will have to effect remedial measures should the test prove positive, which can include installing a fan assisted external vent from a sump near to or under the building, and any prospective extensions will have to be fully sealed with a impermeable membrane. You should be made aware that a number of building which are not in a radon area can also be affected by radon, particularly where basements are dug or are present underneath residential properties where there is a substantial increase in the possibility of radon gas. There are remedial measures which can be implemented with regard to relieving the radon.

The Building Regulation for radon protection is covered under Section C1 and Radon Regulations In The Work Place under management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 "every employer shall make suitable and sufficient assessment of the risk to the health and safety of the employees to which they are exposed while they are at work". Any commercial properties which have a lower basement should ideally have a radon test carried out as a precautionary measure.

Radon 10 day and 3 monthly test kits can be obtained from

RICS New Guidance Notes on Reinstatement Cost

The RICS have now provided a new guidance note on reinstatement cost assessment in order to provide a more accurate rebuilding cost for insurance purposes and to prevent the potential of under insuring.

CML certificates
Peter Maksymuk Surveying is currently providing CML certificates for flat conversion from offices in compliance with Building Regulation approval.

From:              Peter Maksymuk

For further advice please contact Peter Maksymuk, Peter Maksymuk Surveying Ltd.
Contact on 07834349777  





                                                                                                      Date:   February 2012

Get Ready for Green Deal

The Government intend to implement The Green Deal this year which involves implementation in October 2012. The Government appears keen to nudge the residential and commercial sector into action to upgrade the existing and new residential properties to meet new energy standards. It is intended for Green Deal Advisers to be trained from February 2012. The Green Deal has "a golden rule" where the cost of finance of improvements must be less than the saving in energy bills.

The Government intends to set up green investment financing The Green Deal borrowing.

Phase 1 comes into effect with an incubation period in April 2012, with establishment of the Green Investment Banking in phase 2, possibly from October 2012.

From April 2016 landlords will not be able to refuse reasonable requests from tenants or Local Authorities acting on behalf of tenants to improve their properties.

From April 2018 the Government will make it unlawful to rent out a house or business premises which has an "E" energy efficiency rating ensuring at least 682,000 properties will have to be improved.

Any refurbishment work where at least 25% of the element area is extended or replaced will have to be upgraded to current Part L Building Regulation standards.

If you require any help with regard to future refurbishment improvements to meet future minimum standards please do not hesitate to contact Peter Maksymuk

St Johns House
Recent survey-St Johns House Devizes

Get a Move On

When landlords need to get tenants into properties quickly, what contractual options do Building Surveyors managing projects have at their disposal?

Sectional completion opposes logistical complications and risks with sharing the site with others in terms of insurance and health & safety obligations. The contractors consent is required before an employer may take partial possession and contractors can refuse.

A Statement of Parts of Possession should be issues on behalf of the employer and should contain the date when all relevant parts of the works are to be taken into possession.

Landlords are advised to phase the works to provide early occupation and to ensure continuation of toilet facilities and refurbishment of the common parts. Providing greater control over the contractors performance by limiting the amount of works will also help to release areas at a greater rate.

It is best practice to provide the contractor with as much information as possible is useful.

St Johns House
Peter Maksymuk Surveying has recently reduced the tenant's dilapidations liability from £35,000 to £7,000.

Surveyors Beware Of Pipes

The transfer of public sewers is now in place and this new legislation came into effect on 1 October 2011. This was implemented under the Water Industry Regulations. The change will allow small pipework serving domestic dwellings from being private to become public sewers and many private household sewers will transfer to the Local Authority and will now be classified as public sewers.

Surveyors and lawyers should be aware that any extension or building constructed over a pipe may now require what would be termed an old Section 18 or H4 Agreement and the Water Authority are now taking a greater interest where any building is constructed over a drain and details of the sectional construction, the nature of the soil, and a plan of the drains will have to be supplied to the Water Authority in order to obtain approval to build over a sewer. Where the Water Authority have a right of access they can carry out any works necessary to undertake repairs needed. The implications will also include where buildings are built close to pipework and matters will also affect the insurance history to some degree where claims for damage to buildings (caused by fire, flood, subsidence, and other causes) which extend over a reclassified public sewer or laterals may require a foundation design variation. This could increase the fees, but there is also the possibility that the Water Authority could put in place some form of restriction in respect of the planning consent, or worse refuse the application to repair or rebuild.

St Johns House
Recent supervision of a new dwelling incorporating building over a main sewer.

Japanese Knotweed

This weed is causing a lot of surveyors and lawyers to "tie themselves in knots" (pardon the pun). The RICS are currently working with a number of other organisations on this invasive plant with a view to providing guidance on the impact of valuation and methods of treatment. Quite often the presence of knotweed in a garden, or near a property, requires a yearly treatment which is an intrusive long term cost and can effect the value of the property.

Conservation – Rooms To Breathe

The Scottish Historic Society and SPAB have recently brought out guidance with regard to upgrading and insulating Listed and old buildings. The use of internal insulation is only recommended with using materials which have been tested and provide a moisture model to prevent condensation occurring. Quite often internal walls to old properties are insulated causing interstitial condensation to occur approximately 50-100 mm within the solid wall causing extensive damp and possible dry rot and wet rot repairs.

The use of external insulation can be very effective but on historic buildings can aesthetically affect the appearance and will include planning implications for its use.

The Historic Scotland Society have come up with a histolic approach and can reduce the carbon footprint of an old building by up to 20% using the correct management procedure.

Other areas where a non intrusive approach could include providing heat at the source and allowing buildings and areas to be used at a temperature of under 20 degrees centigrade.

The provision of direct heating at source by various methods are also a useful method to reduce the carbon footprint. The present energy surveys, including an EPC, are very restrictive and it is proposed to bring into use a new energy certificate which will incorporate the use, in kilowatt hours, of energy and to balance this with the construction and use of the building. The easiest way to reduce the energy requirement of an old building is to use it correctly, to the specific needs of the business or residential use at that time.

Using bio fuels and boilers and also an internal heat recovery ventilation system can substantially reduce the EPC rating to a building. Other intrinsic measures with regard to improved services, fabric insulation, and general design also help to substantially reduce energy usage. There is presently a large drive towards permeability and to reduce heat loss through openings although this will have a limited use on historic buildings.

JCT 2011 Contracts Are Now In Force

The JCT 2011 Suite of Contracts came into effect on 1 October 2011 and are applicable to all contracts entered into after this date. The JCT 2011 Contract has been updated to include new payment legislation, revised terrorism cover provisions, statutory reference to The Bribery Act 2011, and entries in respect of PI insurance relating to asbestos and fungal mould have been removed.

St Johns House

From:              Peter Maksymuk

For further advice please contact Peter Maksymuk, Peter Maksymuk Surveying Ltd.
Contact on 07834349777


See previous articles: Surveying News 2011

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