CONSTRUCTION DEFECTS BASIC INFORMATION AND TUTORIALS


Correct application of materials produced to the recommendations of British, European and International Standards authorities, in accordance with local building regulations, by-laws and the rules of building guarantee companies, i.e. National House Building Council (NHBC) and MD Insurance

Services, should ensure a sound and functional structure. However, these controls can be seriously undermined if the human factor of quality workmanship is not fulfilled. The following guidance is designed to promote quality controls:

BS 8000: Workmanship on building sites.
Building Regulations, Approved Document to support Regulation 7
† materials and workmanship.

No matter how good the materials, the workmanship and supervision, the unforeseen may still affect a building. This may materialise several years after construction. Some examples of these latent defects include: woodworm emerging from untreated timber, electrolytic decomposition of dissimilar metals inadvertently in contact, and chemical decomposition of concrete.

Generally, the older a building the more opportunity there is for its components and systems to have deteriorated and malfunctioned.

Hence the need for regular inspection and maintenance. The profession of facilities management has evolved for this purpose and is represented by the British Institute of Facilities Management (BIFM).

Property values, repairs and replacements are of sufficient magnitude for potential purchasers to engage the professional services of a building surveyor. Surveyors are usually members of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

The extent of survey can vary, depending on a client's requirements. This may be no more than a market valuation to secure financial backing, to a full structural survey incorporating specialist reports on electrical installations, drains, heating systems, etc.

Further reading: BRE Digest No. 268 † Common defects in low-rise traditional housing. Available from Building Research Establishment Bookshop † www.brebookshop.com.

Note: This reading is highly applicable in constructions in the United Kingdom

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