Brick By Brick

As a Chartered Building Surveyor, Chartered Engineer and a joiner by trade and having spent all of his life in the building industry and surveying industry, Jon Charters-Reid goes on to say: Almost 95% of the time it is because of human error that buildings go wrong, fail or malfunction. Progressively over the years buildings have a number of defects built in to them. As the construction industry reduces the amount of apprentices and skilled labour in the industry defects are becoming more and more prevalent in modern homes. A number of these defects are also brought about by ignorance of designers.

If you look at a Georgian house, a Victorian house or even just a common semi-detached house you will see there are a number of quirks, twists and turns by the designer that have all been brought about when defects were taking place. So for example literally for the last two thousand years we have been building houses in the world with an overhang at the roofs. This is for a particular reason. It shields the walls from getting completely wet as wet or moist walls emit heat.

Furthermore the overhang serves to protect the lower part of the house that is in contact with the ground and it prevents rainwater from running directly straight down onto the damp proof course which through a number of issues can ultimately lead to bridging. Overhanging roofs also prevent a type of shading which have a cooling effect in the winter. You will also see on much older properties windows are recessed back by at least 100mm. Part of the reason used to be to protect the timber, but also we have found when carrying out sound tests that it has a more positive effect on noise transmission from the external environment to the internal. The early builders knew this.

Like me, my Grandad was a time-served joiner and the pedigree of joiners and trades persons in houses over the years are set to serve a particular purpose. Older buildings tend to last much longer because quite frankly there is more care and attention gone into them and they are much better built. Nowadays it is decided that buildings are constructed for monetary value and really developers work out how many units they can get on a site and often have little disregard for the occupants of the buildings or indeed how they would use it