Volume 12 (2023-24)

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 12 are listed below. 

Volume 12 Number 2

  • Editorial
    Simon Beckett, Publisher
  • The impact of high inflation and rising interest rates on real estate values and valuation approach
    Christian Luft, Director, JLL

    Following on from the COVID-19 pandemic and the challenges faced during that period, valuers now have new issues to consider, as rapidly rising inflation and volatile interest rates not witnessed for a generation have had an effect on markets during 2022 — especially in the final quarter and going into 2023, as we see far reduced investment volumes and ongoing price discovery across European markets. This paper looks at how rising inflation and interest rates affect values and also how valuers need to develop new skills and understanding in valuing real estate assets in increasingly interconnected global financial markets.
    Keywords: valuation; inflation; cost of capital; debt; sentiment; discount rates

  • Case study: The refurbishment of Lady Haig’s Poppy Factory
    Nicola Hall, Michael Doherty and Patrick Harris, Lee Boyd Architects

    By 2017 Lady Haig’s Poppy Factory was in a poor state of repair and in need of significant investment to bring it up to modern standards. It provided neither a suitable working environment for the ex-service men and women who worked in the building, nor was it fully accessible for visitors. Prior to this date a full range of options had been considered for the future of the factory, including potential relocation to another site outside of the city. The Grade C listing of the building in 2019 focused attention on the opportunities for improvement rather than demolition and a scope of works was put in place to refurbish the building. This case study describes the refurbishment programme and the scale of works which were required to bring it up to standard. It includes a particular focus on asbestos removal, replacement of roof coverings and rooflights, upgrading rainwater goods, repairs to walls and accessibility improvements to allow the building to meet the needs of both employees and visitors.
    Keywords: Edinburgh; Poppy Factory; refurbishment; damp; asbestos; rooflights; roof; accessibility

  • Can a party wall surveyor determine the location of a boundary under the Party Wall etc. Act 1996?
    Mike Harry, Planning & Party Wall Specialists

    The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 is an important piece of legislation which adjudicates in the midst of what are often the competing needs of neighbouring parties. Party wall surveyors are charged with the role of facilitating the exercise of the building owner’s rights while simultaneously safeguarding the interests of the adjoining owner. The Act confers upon the party wall surveyor the power and jurisdiction to properly discharge this role and laid out within the Act are a set of rules and directions that guide the surveyor as to the execution of that role. Nowhere within the four corners of the Act, however, is the party wall surveyor guided as to how to address the discharging of their role in the throes of a dispute between the parties as to the location of the boundary that separates their properties. The difficulty that arises is that much of the Act is predicated upon the location of the boundary being of settled knowledge or agreement. Indeed, knowledge of where the boundary lies goes in many instances to the heart of the operation of the Act. In his roles as third surveyor, the author is often met with referrals from appointed surveyors with differing views as to how to address a party wall matter in an instance in which there is disagreement between the parties as to the location of the boundary. This paper examines the arguments often put by surveyors in such circumstances, examines the extent of the surveyor’s powers in this regard under the Act, considers industry and judicial treatment of the matter, and sets out what is in the author’s view the conclusive position.
    Keywords: jurisdiction; Party Wall etc. Act 1996; quasi-judicial; matters of law; Loost v Kremer; power to determine the location of the boundary; legal opinion

  • A room with a view: The Supreme Court and the law of nuisance
    Kate Andrews, Hamlins

    The Supreme Court has provided a landmark judgment in the law of private nuisance, overturning the decisions of the High Court and Court of Appeal, and being decided by a narrow 3:2 majority to create one of the most captivating judgments handed down in recent times for property litigation. This case concerned the appeal to the Supreme Court from the residents of luxury flats overlooked by the Tate Modern Gallery viewing platform. The viewing platform was once considered one of London’s best free viewpoints; indeed, the Supreme Court Justices describe it as a ‘striking view of London’. It has, however, caused a great deal of controversy with its neighbours over the last six years and their story has generated a remarkable amount of publicity. While it had previously been acknowledged that nuisance need not amount to physical interference, the question of whether there was, or should be, a right to prevent public overlooking had never been considered within the scope of private nuisance before.
    Keywords: law; property; litigation; tort; nuisance; planning; privacy

  • History, survey, conservation and repair of the Royal Naval Magazine of Cole Island, Esquimalt Harbour, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
    Nigel Copsey, The Earth, Stone & Lime Company

    This paper is a brief summary of the history of the evolution of the magazine in Esquimalt Harbour that served the Royal Navy’s Pacific Squadron, based in the same harbour after 1862 and which was intimately entwined with the development of the British colony of Vancouver Island after its foundation by the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) during the 1840s. It also chronicles the conservation, repair and informed restoration of the magazine site over the last ten years, in which latter endeavour the author became periodically involved after 2014, culminating in a five-month stay upon the island, as resident mason-conservator and default caretaker, between July and November 2021. The paper draws upon the author’s original 2014 condition survey, and upon a paper ‘Lime in Canada’ written by the author for the Building Limes Forum Journal in 2020, while incorporating subsequent research and additional material and correcting some of the errors and omissions in both earlier accounts. The project was driven by the deployment of traditional skills and like-for-like materials within the modern western Canadian context, within which such skills and such an approach are scarce, seeking to demonstrate the benefits of these to the built heritage across the province of British Columbia and to encourage their widespread use for the conservation and repair of traditional buildings in the province.
    Keywords: lime; Cole Island; Pacific Northwest; Royal Navy architecture

  • Levelling up the high street?
    Michael Duncan, Burges Salmon

    The decline in high-street retail over recent years has prompted the UK Government to introduce the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill, which at time of writing is making its way through Parliament. It aims, among other things, to reduce the number of vacant units on high streets in England and Wales by giving local authorities the power to put vacant high-street properties into rental auctions. This paper examines the key provisions of Part 10 of the Bill, as currently drafted, and the effect it is likely to have on the market for high-street properties.
    Keywords: high street; town centres; regeneration; retail; hospitality; auctions; vacancy rates

Volume 12 Number 1

  • Editorial
    Simon Beckett, Publisher
  • Saving a 15th-century nave roof from structural collapse at the Abbey Church of St Mary and St Melor, Amesbury, Wiltshire
    Emma Mullen, Associate Architect, St Ann’s Gate Architects Ltd, UK

    This paper looks at the technical and practical challenges faced during the conservation repair of a large 15th-century trussed roof structure of a Grade I listed church building. Urgent repairs were required after a section of ceiling plaster fell, after years of water ingress, resulting in tight programme and budget constraints, with the added pressure of a global pandemic. The paper describes the early stages of the contract, with surprising discoveries such as a hive of over 40,000 honeybees, bat roosts, a secondary roof structure, concrete and extensive deathwatch beetle decay. The engineer’s economic solutions to complex structural problems are explained, as well as architect designed details to address ongoing causes of decay, such as new ventilated eaves and ridge details. This paper sets out to describe how technical challenges were overcome, but also explains how opportunities were taken to introduce new oak carvings and lead details, to leave a legacy and add to the historic narrative of the building. This paper will be of particular interest to anyone working on ecclesiastical or listed building structures, where there has been a history of poor maintenance or previous repairs. It should offer technical information relating to a wide range of traditional building trades, but particularly structural repairs of historic timber structures.
    Keywords: roof; structural repairs; carvings; lead; timber decay; conservation

  • Ground water assessment and the design of basement waterproofing
    Steve Wilson, Technical Director, The Environmental Protection Group, UK and Alwyn Hughes, Structural Waterproofing Manager, The Environmental Protection Group, UK

    This paper discusses the importance of groundwater risk assessment in basement waterproofing design. It discusses why it is required to allow the design of a cost-effective waterproofing system and also to determine whether the simple design approach in BS8485 can be used to assess risk from ground gases. It is also an important part of assessing the risk of vapour intrusion into basements from hydrocarbon contamination. External drainage for basements can be designed to be an effective and durable solution that lowers the hydrostatic pressure on the waterproofing system. It does require discharge to an outfall, however, and discharge to sewers is not appropriate, because water companies will not allow groundwater to be drained into public sewers. The rate of groundwater flow may also exceed the allowable discharge rates that are used in sustainable drainage (SuDS) design. This limits where external drainage can be provided to locations where a soakaway or a watercourse is available for discharge. The same constraints should also apply to cavity drain discharges. Where a basement is located in hydrocarbon contaminated groundwater or ground gas is present (such as methane or carbon dioxide) it is important to complete an appropriate risk assessment that considers whether flow into the basement will be via gas/vapour phase migration above the groundwater or dissolved phase below it. The simple screening and points system in BS8485 is not suitable where basements are below the groundwater table. The durability of materials (membranes, cavity drains, etc.) in contact with contaminants also needs consideration. Where contamination such as dissolved methane is present, cavity drains will require intrinsically safe pumps. Groundwater and contamination intrusion assessments are best completed by qualified ground engineering professionals and SoBRA accredited risk assessors for permanent gas and/or vapour intrusion respectively.
    Keywords: basement waterproofing; groundwater; ground gas; vapour intrusion

  • How to satisfy break option conditions
    Emma Humphreys, Partner, Charles Russell Speechlys LLP, UK and Emma Preece, Senior Associate, Charles Russell Speechlys LLP, UK

    This paper provides a detailed overview of how to validly exercise a break clause in a lease. While straightforward in theory, break notices frequently end up before the courts as the margin for error is small and implications high. There have been several high-profile cases in recent years where the validity of break notices has been challenged as the break clause has not been complied with ‘to the letter’. If successful, this will often result in the lease continuing (including obligations relating to payment of rent) until the lease expires or terminates for some other reason. This paper addresses some of those challenges, including ensuring valid service of a break notice and compliance with common conditions attached to the break (such as returning the property with vacant possession and complying with the lease covenants). There is a wealth of case law in each of these areas, with this paper providing an insight on the key issues to be aware of, and most notable reported cases.
    Keywords: service; conditions; vacant possession; Mannai; Capitol Park

  • Carbon reduction options for churches using oil for heating
    Dan Mcnaughton, Senior Building Services Engineer, Historic England, UK

    To limit global warming, a rapid reduction in the carbon emissions from our buildings is required. Heating buildings contributed to 17 per cent of the UK overall carbon emissions in 2018 which is why it is important we look to decarbonise the heating systems that serve our buildings. In 2020, only 7.9 per cent of the energy to heat our buildings came from renewable sources. In the UK, existing heating is predominantly by natural gas. The most significant challenge is the rural buildings that are not served by mains gas but have oil supplies, due to the high carbon content of this fuel. The Diocese of Gloucester was invited to participate in a research project carried out by Historic England into viable methods of low and zero carbon heating in churches and their associated buildings. The focus of this research explores oil-fired heating systems as this fuel produces more carbon dioxide emissions than other fuels used to heat buildings. The key finding from this research is that no single heating technology is recommended for either all historic buildings or even each historic building type. Across the six case studies, air source heat pumps, biomass and electric heating were recommended in an equal proportion of cases. It is not possible to determine the most viable heating technology without carrying out a detailed technical feasibility study at the early concept stage of a project. The recommended heating technology depends on many factors including the building’s site and location, the size and form of the buildings, the use and operation of the buildings, the condition of the existing heating system and the existing utility infrastructure. The wider background to this research includes the 2030 net zero carbon target set by the Church of England and the UK government’s 2050 net zero carbon target.
    Keywords: churches; decarbonisation; heating; oil; rural

  • Lime mortars and their use through history
    Bernie Smith, Managing Director, Smith Building Services, UK

    The first part of this paper offers a brief overview of the history and use of lime mortars through time, from early history up to the present day. It describes the uses and methods of various intermixtures to ensure best results in building practices. It gives examples of the use of lime mortars in important historic buildings, and explains their advantages and disadvantages. The second part of the paper features two case studies that document and discuss the use of lime mortar in the repair of two historic buildings in Norfolk, England..
    Keywords: lime; hot lime; conservation; slaked; hydraulic

  • Effecting culture change in attitudes to maintenance and repair : The Traditional Buildings Health Check scheme in Stirling, Scotland
    Lindsay Lennie, Trust Manager, Stirling City Heritage Trust, UK

    The Traditional Buildings Health Check (TBHC) scheme in Stirling was set up in 2013 as a fiveyear pilot to support owners of older buildings to tackle repairs. It also aimed to effect culture change in attitudes to proactive maintenance, encouraging owners to undertake repairs regularly. The scheme has been very successful and continues to be delivered by the Stirling City Heritage Trust, recently expanding beyond the city boundary. With increasing concerns over the impact of climate change, the TBHC has a role to play is supporting owners to ensure that their buildings are in good repair and dry before installing appropriate measures to improve their energy efficiency. The scheme is currently unique in Scotland but there is potential for expansion elsewhere to support tackling disrepair and the climate emergency.
    Keywords: proactive maintenance; conservation; repair; Stirling; energy efficiency

  • The Bats in Churches project : What building professionals need to know about working with bats in English churches
    Cathy Wallace, Communications Officer, Bats in Churches, UK

    With one quarter of Britain’s mammals in serious decline and one-third of those most under threat being our more elusive bats, people who own, manage or access a variety of buildings are playing an ever more vital role in helping to conserve wildlife, often without even realising it. Buildings have become important roosting sites for bats, including houses, bridges, barns, mines, and historic buildings and churches. As older structures that have escaped modernisation, churches can provide ideal habitats for bats. In small numbers, bats in churches often go unnoticed, but where they roost in large numbers, or where multiple species use the same church, a conflict can arise between the wildlife and the community using the building and caring for the artefacts inside. In contrast to residential and commercial buildings, where bats and people are separated by a ceiling, churches often have open-roof architecture. This means that bat droppings and urine can damage historic items, the fabric and interior of the church, and create an unmanageable cleaning burden for the church community. This is why the Bats in Churches project is so important. This partnership between the Church of England, Historic England, Natural England, Bat Conservation Trust and Churches Conservation Trust was granted funding by the National Lottery Heritage Fund in 2018 and runs through 2023. The project brings together ecologists, church architects and heritage experts to trial and implement systems to manage the issues created by bats in churches, through a specially designed licence. The UK has 17 breeding bat species. Sadly, the loss of natural roosting sites coupled with factors such as intensive agriculture and urbanisation, including increasing levels of light pollution, have all had a dramatic impact on bat populations, which have seen serious declines in the last century. As well as making up a significant proportion of Britain’s mammal biodiversity, bats are indicator species. This means changes to our bat populations can reveal wider changes to local wildlife populations signalling the health of the environment upon which we all ultimately depend. This is why all species of bat in the UK and their roosts are protected by law. This means it is illegal to damage, destroy or disturb any bats or their roosts without having taken the necessary precautions and sought the correct advice from the Statutory Nature Conservation Organisation (SNCO) for your country. In England, this is Natural England, via the Bat Conservation Trust. This does not mean, however, that building work, roof repairs and other maintenance works cannot take place. It is entirely possible to carry out works alongside resident bats, but it requires careful planning and consideration of timings. This paper will discuss the law relating to bats and building works. It will cover how bats use churches and other buildings, and the impact they can have on church interiors and communities. It will consider the practicalities of surveys and licensing and will describe some interventions and mitigation solutions created by the Bats in Churches project.
    Keywords: bats; churches; heritage; buildings; wildlife; biodiversity; ecology