WHAT IS ASBESTOS?
It is a naturally occurring mineral fibre and used to be added to other materials because of its strengthening, heat insulating and fire resisting qualities. There are a number of different types, some more dangerous than others, although, all asbestos can be dangerous if the fibres are inhaled, particularly for prolonged periods. However, small amounts are unlikely to be a health hazard.
WHERE IS IT LIKELY TO BE FOUND?
It was widely used in sheet form (asbestos cement) for example, in central heating boiler cupboards, on integral garage ceilings and at roof soffitts. Asbestos cement garage roofs, asbestos cement boiler flues and asbestos pipe lagging were also common. Other materials include older type floor and ceiling tiles and ‘Artex’ type wall and ceiling finishes. However, dangerous types of asbestos have not been used for some time in similar modern products.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU FIND IT OR THINK THERE IS SOME.
Don’t be alarmed! It is only dangerous if the fibres are inhaled. So, if it is left undisturbed or undamaged, it is unlikely to be a problem and is best left alone. However, if it is damaged or crumbling, or you intend to carry out work which will disturb it, then specialist assistance is essential.
WHAT ACTION MAY BE REQUIRED?
REPAIR – usually the least expensive and disruptive, which will involve either SEALING or COVERING. SEALING or ENCAPSULATION This involves either applying a sealant to bind the fibres together or coat the asbestos to prevent the release of fibres. COVERING or ENCLOSURE This involves placing something over or around the asbestos to prevent the release of fibres. REMOVAL – usually the most expensive option and, if possible, a last resort because of the risk of fibre release, particularly if the material is badly damaged or cannot be repaired. Removal is a complex operation and should only be done by specially trained contractors. INCORRECT REMOVAL CAN INCREASE THE HEALTH RISKS. IMPROPER DISPOSAL IS AN OFFENCE AND COULD ATTRACT A FINE.
PLEASE NOTE: The information provided is for guidance only and should NOT be used as a substitute for essential professional assistance.
Every property has two ‘boundaries’ – a legal boundary and a physical boundary.
- The legal boundary indicates the extent of legal ownership and, usually, who is responsible for which boundary. It does not necessarily correspond with the physical boundary because legal ownership often extends, for example, to the middle of a road or drive.
- The physical boundary is the wall, fence, hedge or other object which marks the separation between one property and another.
WHY BOUNDARY DISPUTES USUALLY ARISE
Over time, a physical boundary can be knocked down, replaced, decay, disintegrate, become overgrown or otherwise generally unclear. It can also be regularly renewed and move slightly each time without anyone noticing. All these situations can lead to the ‘actual’ boundary being disputed. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to prove, one way or the other, precisely and categorically where the boundary should be.
HOW CAN THE TRUE BOUNDARY BE CONFIRMED?
All the evidence available should be studied carefully and an educated and considered assessment of the boundary position made having regard to that evidence. The evidence to consider should include:
- The title plan held by the Land Registry if the title or ownership of the property is registered.
- Physical evidence, i.e. is there any sign of a ditch or banking?, are there any remnants of fence posts or walling?
- Historical plans – these often show things which have long since disappeared.
- Ordnance Survey plans
- Aerial photos– these can be very useful depending on the age of the photo, the scale and the angle from which it was taken.
- Old planning applications can be of help because they would usually include a site plan.
- The memories of residents or previous owners. The neighbours or older local residents will often remember useful details.
HOW CAN A DISPUTE BE RESOLVED?
The key factors to achieving the successful resolution of a boundary dispute are reasonableness and compromise. After all, it’s hardly worth arguing about or falling out over what is usually a few inches of land. In any case, the legal costs often far exceed any gain in land ownership or value. Because of the difficulty in establishing exactly where a boundary should be, mutual agreement is the cheapest, quickest and least stressful way of solving a problem, otherwise you will need a Specialist Surveyor. Once you have agreed the boundary, have a proper plan drawn up and submitted to the Land Registry.
There are numerous Acts of Parliament under which Government departments, local/public authorities or statutory undertakings (gas, water, electricity etc) may carry out schemes for the general benefit of the community and which involve the purchase of land or interference with owners’ proprietary rights.
WHAT HAPPENS IF YOUR PROPERTY IS AFFECTED?
You will be served with a ‘Notice to treat’. This will include how much of your property is required and indicate that the acquiring authority are willing to enter negotiations as to price and any compensation to which you may be entitled.
THE MOST COMMON SITUATIONS
- The acquiring authority require your entire property. This is probably the most straightforward and will entitle you to the full market value plus removal costs, Solicitors/Surveyors fees etc.
- The acquiring authority only want part of your property, for example, a strip off the end of your garden to widen a road. This will entitle you to:
- * the market value of the land to be purchased,
- * compensation for any depreciation in value of the remaining property,
- * works to reinstate your property after the scheme is finished, i.e. a new boundary wall or fence or resurfacing part of your drive. These are called ‘accommodation works’.
- None of your property is required to be purchased but the carrying out of the scheme may depreciate the value of your property i.e. interference with a right of light. This is difficult to quantify and needs expert advice. Note also that, in cases like this, you will NOT be served with a ‘Notice to treat’, so it is up to you to make a claim.
WHAT TO DO NEXT
The correct identification of EVERYTHING you are entitled to and the proper assessment of the full amount of your claim are complex matters and require specialist knowledge to make sure you don’t miss anything. So, if you are served with a ‘Notice to treat’, or you think a scheme will affect your property, it is essential to find an expert as soon as possible.
Condensation is the process by which water vapour changes into liquid form. It is a natural occurrence that happens when the air becomes saturated with moisture, and the temperature drops to the point where the air can no longer hold the water vapor. As a result, the excess moisture condenses onto surfaces as droplets or frost. While condensation is a normal part of our daily lives, it can also cause damage to buildings, appliances, and furniture. In this article, we will explore the causes and remedies of condensation.
Causes of Condensation:
There are many causes of condensation, including temperature fluctuations, high humidity levels, and poor ventilation. Some of the most common causes of condensation include:
- Temperature Fluctuations: Condensation occurs when warm, moist air comes into contact with a cool surface. When the air temperature drops, it can no longer hold the moisture, and the excess water vapor turns into droplets on the surface.
- High Humidity Levels: The more moisture there is in the air, the greater the likelihood of condensation occurring. High humidity levels can be caused by a variety of factors, including cooking, bathing, and washing clothes.
- Poor Ventilation: Poor ventilation is another major cause of condensation. When there is not enough fresh air circulating, moisture can build up in the air, leading to condensation on surfaces.
- Cold Surfaces: Cold surfaces, such as windows and walls, can also cause condensation. When warm, moist air comes into contact with these surfaces, the temperature drops, and the excess moisture condenses onto the surface.
Remedies for Condensation:
There are several remedies for condensation, including improving ventilation, reducing humidity levels, and using insulation. Here are some of the most effective ways to deal with condensation:
- Increase Ventilation: Improving ventilation is one of the best ways to reduce condensation. This can be done by opening windows and doors or installing mechanical ventilation systems, such as extractor fans.
- Reduce Humidity: Reducing humidity levels can also help to prevent condensation. This can be achieved by using dehumidifiers, avoiding activities that generate moisture, such as boiling water or drying clothes indoors, and ensuring that bathrooms and kitchens are well ventilated.
- Use Insulation: Insulation can help to reduce the occurrence of condensation by keeping surfaces warm and preventing them from becoming cold. This can be achieved by using double-glazed windows, insulating walls and ceilings, and using draught excluders.
- Use Condensation Products: There are a range of condensation products available on the market, such as moisture traps and desiccants, which can help to absorb excess moisture and reduce the occurrence of condensation.
Condensation is a natural process that occurs when the air becomes saturated with moisture and the temperature drops. While it is a normal part of our daily lives, it can also cause damage to buildings, appliances, and furniture. Fortunately, there are several remedies for condensation, including improving ventilation, reducing humidity levels, using insulation, and using condensation products. By implementing these solutions, it is possible to reduce the occurrence of condensation and prevent damage to your home.
Dampness is a common problem that affects many homes, particularly those in areas with high humidity or a damp climate. Dampness can occur for several reasons, including rising damp, leaks, and penetrating damp. In this article, we will explore each of these types of dampness and provide tips on how to prevent and treat them.
Rising damp occurs when moisture from the ground rises through the walls of a building, typically in older properties with solid walls. The moisture is carried upwards by capillary action, which is the ability of water to flow through small spaces, such as pores in building materials. Rising damp is characterized by a damp patch at the bottom of the wall, often accompanied by peeling wallpaper, paint, or plaster.
To prevent rising damp, it is important to ensure that the property has an effective damp-proof course (DPC) installed. A DPC is a barrier that prevents moisture from rising up the walls of a building. If a DPC is not present or is damaged, it can be installed or repaired by a qualified professional.
Leaks are another common cause of dampness in homes. They can occur in the roof, plumbing, or walls and can lead to mold growth, rot, and damage to furniture and appliances. Signs of a leak include water stains, musty smells, and damp patches on walls or ceilings.
To prevent leaks, it is important to regularly check for any signs of damage or wear and tear, such as cracked tiles or loose fittings. If you suspect a leak, it is important to act quickly to prevent further damage. A qualified plumber or roofer can identify and repair the source of the leak.
Penetrating damp occurs when water enters a building through the walls, typically due to external factors such as rain or snow. Penetrating damp is characterized by damp patches on the wall that are often in a horizontal pattern, as water flows downwards. It can also cause paint or wallpaper to bubble or peel.
To prevent penetrating damp, it is important to regularly check the external walls of the property for any signs of damage, such as cracked render or missing roof tiles. It is also important to ensure that gutters and downpipes are clear of debris, allowing rainwater to flow away from the property.
Treatment for Dampness:
If you suspect that your property has dampness, it is important to seek professional advice to determine the cause and extent of the problem. Treatment will depend on the type and severity of dampness, but may include installing a damp-proof course, repairing leaks, or applying a waterproofing solution.
In addition to treating the dampness itself, it is important to address any underlying issues, such as poor ventilation or high humidity levels. This may involve installing mechanical ventilation systems, such as extractor fans, or using dehumidifiers to reduce moisture in the air.
Dampness is a common problem that can cause damage to buildings and pose a risk to health. It can be caused by several factors, including rising damp, leaks, and penetrating damp. To prevent and treat dampness, it is important to identify the cause and seek professional advice. By taking steps to prevent dampness and addressing any underlying issues, you can help to ensure that your home remains dry and healthy.
Dry rot is a serious problem that can affect the structural integrity of a house. It is a type of fungal decay that can weaken and damage wood, and it can spread quickly if not treated promptly. In this information piece, we will discuss the causes of dry rot in houses and some remedies to prevent and treat it.
Causes of dry rot:
Moisture: The most common cause of dry rot is excess moisture. If wood is exposed to moisture for an extended period, it can create the perfect conditions for fungal growth, including dry rot.
Poor ventilation: Poor ventilation can lead to increased humidity and moisture in the air, which can contribute to the growth of dry rot.
Lack of sunlight: Sunlight helps to dry out damp areas and prevent the growth of fungi, including dry rot. Areas that are dark and damp are more prone to dry rot.
Poor maintenance: Failure to maintain a house properly can lead to dry rot. For example, if you have leaking pipes or gutters, water can seep into the wood and create a damp environment.
Remedies for dry rot:
Identify the source of moisture: If you have dry rot in your house, the first step is to identify the source of moisture. This could be a leaking pipe, roof, or gutter, or simply poor ventilation. Once you have identified the source, you can take steps to address it.
Remove affected wood: The next step is to remove any wood that has been affected by dry rot. This may involve cutting away the damaged area and replacing it with new wood.
Treat remaining wood with a fungicide: Once the affected wood has been removed, it is important to treat the remaining wood with a fungicide to prevent further growth of dry rot.
Improve ventilation: Improving ventilation in your house can help to prevent the growth of dry rot. This could involve adding vents or fans to improve air circulation.
Regular maintenance: Regular maintenance of your house can help to prevent dry rot from occurring. This includes fixing any leaks or damage as soon as they occur and ensuring that your house is properly ventilated.
In conclusion, dry rot is a serious problem that can affect the structural integrity of a house. It is important to identify the source of moisture and take steps to prevent and treat dry rot. By following the remedies outlined above, you can help to protect your house from the damaging effects of dry rot.
THE NEW LEGISLATION
Until now, the law has not been of much help in providing a remedy in cases concerning ‘problem’ hedges. However, new legislation contained in The Anti-social Behaviour Act – Part 8, is designed to tackle the previous lack of legal guidance.
KEY POINTS OF THE NEW ACT
- A hedge is defined as 2 or more evergreens or semi-evergreens (NOT necessarily conifers) that form a barrier to light or access.
- The Act applies to domestic property only i.e. a dwelling or a garden/yard used wholly or mainly in connection with a dwelling.
- The Act does not apply to deciduous plants, single trees or hedges less than 2m high.
- The main thing to establish is whether the reasonable enjoyment of the adjoining property/s is affected by the height of a hedge.
WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU THINK YOU ARE AFFECTED
- You must contact your Local Authority who will decide if a nuisance is being caused by the hedge. A number of factors will be taken into account, including privacy, local features, daylight and sunlight.
- The Local Authority has rights of access to the hedge-owners land on 24 hours notice.
- If the hedge is considered to be a nuisance, the Local Authority will issue a Remedial Notice on the hedge owner stating what action is required to remedy the nuisance and by when it has to be done.
WHAT HAPPENS IF THE HEDGE-OWNER STILL DOES NOTHING?
- Failure to comply with the Remedial Notice is a criminal offence and may result in a fine of up to £1000.
- The Local Authority can access the land (after 7 days notice), carry out the work specified in the notice and recover the cost from the hedge owner.
TO ENSURE THAT YOU DEAL WITH A HEDGE PROBLEM CORRECTLY, GET PROFESSIONAL ADVICE OR CONTACT YOUR LOCAL AUTHORITY.
WHAT IS A PARTY WALL?
If you live in a semi-detached or terrace house you share a wall (or walls) with your neighbour – that is known as the party wall. It separates buildings belonging to different owners. Where a wall separates two different size buildings, only the part that is used by both properties is considered to be a party wall. The rest belongs to the person on whose land it stands. You must get your neighbour’s agreement before you can start any building work such as:
- – Extensions
- – Damp proofing works
- – Some internal refurbishment
- – Structural alterations.
In some cases, excavating or constructing foundations for a new building within three or six metres of neighbouring properties will also need written agreement.
THE PARTY WALL etc ACT?
Since the Party Wall etc Act 1996 came into force, homeowners in England and Wales have had a procedure to follow when building work involves a party wall or party fence wall. The Act is designed to minimise disputes by making sure property owners use a surveyor to determine the time and way in which work is carried out. You can use an ‘agreed surveyor’ to act for both property owners should problems arise. The Act allows you to carry out work on – or next to – a shared wall. At the same time protecting the interests of anyone else who might be affected by that work.
- What is covered by the Act? There are some things that you can only do to a party wall with the written agreement of the adjoining owner including:
- Cutting into a wall to take the bearing of a beam, e.g. a loft conversion
- Inserting a damp proof course all the way through a wall
- Raising the whole party wall and, if necessary, cutting off any objects stopping this from happening
- Demolishing and rebuilding the party wall
- Underpinning the whole or part of a wall
- Protecting adjoining walls by cutting a flashing into an adjoining building
- Building a new wall on the line of the junction between two properties
- Excavating foundations within three metres of an adjoining structure and lower than its foundations
- Excavating foundations within six metres of an adjoining structure and below a line drawn down at 45o from the bottom of its foundations.
- What doesn’t the Act cover The Act doesn’t cover everyday minor jobs that don’t affect the neighbours’ half of a party wall including:
- * Fixing plugs
- * Screwing in wall units or shelving
- * Adding or replacing some recessed electrical wiring or sockets
- * Replastering your walls.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I WANT TO CARRY OUT WORK COVERED BY THE ACT?
If you intend to do any of these things, you must give written notice to your neighbours at least two months before starting any party wall works. Or one month for ‘line of junction’ or excavation works. If a tenant or leaseholder is in the building next door, you will need to tell the landlord, as well as the person living in the property, that you want to carry out building work to the party wall. Where there is more than one owner of the property or more than one adjoining property, you must let them know too. Don’t forget to give written notice to the owners and occupiers living either above or below your property. If possible, talk to your neighbours in detail about the work you want to do before giving them an official written notice. If you can sort out any potential problems in advance, they should give you written agreement in response to your notice, which they must do within 14 days.
WHAT IF THERE’S A DISPUTE?
The solution the Act provides is for both parties to each appoint a surveyor or ‘agreed surveyor’ who will act impartially. The surveyor will draw up a document called an ‘Award’. This details the work to be carried out, when and how it will be done and records the condition of the adjoining property before work begins. It may also grant access to both properties so the surveyor can inspect work in progress. The Award will determine who pays for the work if this is in dispute. Generally, the building owner who started the work pays for all expenses.
RIGHTS OF LIGHT
WHAT IS A RIGHT OF LIGHT?
A right of light is an ‘easement’ or ‘right’ over someone else’s property and is the right to receive sufficient natural light through defined openings i.e. windows, so as to allow the ordinary use of the building.
HOW IS A RIGHT OF LIGHT CREATED?
It can be created by ‘express grant’, ‘reservation’ or may be ‘implied by law’. Usually, a right of light is acquired by long use or prescription.
- * under Common Law – this arises if it can be shown that the building has enjoyed continuous access of light since time immemorial (1189)
- * under the doctrine of ‘lost modern grant’ – it is acquired by proving enjoyment over any 20 year period.
- * under the Prescription Act 1832 – it is acquired by proving 20 years continuous enjoyment.
WHEN IS A RIGHT OF LIGHT INFRINGED?
The beneficiary of a right of light is entitled to a level of light sufficient for the comfortable use and enjoyment of the particular building. An actionable common law nuisance occurs if it falls below this level.
HOW IS THE LOSS OF LIGHT ASSESSED AND WHAT STEPS CAN BE TAKEN?
The loss is assessed by measuring the light which remains and NOT the amount removed or lost. Here, the 50-50 rule is usually applied whereby an owner cannot complain if at least half of a room remains adequately lit – this is called the ‘grumble point’. Measurement is very technical and requires expert advise. If the reduction is sufficiently great, the affected owner may seek an injunction to –
- prevent the development
- have it reduced
- demolish the offending part, if already built.
- seek damages to compensate for the loss/reduction.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SUBSIDENCE AND SETTLEMENT?
SETTLEMENT – is caused by the weight of a new building/structure or part of it. Buildings are heavy things and, as their weight is taken up by the ground, a little movement caused by this adjustment sometimes occurs as the ground consolidates under the new load- this is settlement. It usually occurs early in the life of a building and rarely recurs, although, there are exceptions, for example, in soft clay soils. Settlement rarely causes problems, although differential settlement (differing degrees of settlement between connected parts of the same structure) can cause damage.
SUBSIDENCE – results from external factors which cause the disruption, displacement, contraction or distortion of the ground under or around a building. Some of the more common causes include:
- TREES – trees extract moisture from the ground which then contracts, particularly in shrinkable clay soils, causing buildings above to move (subside).
- DRAINS – leaking drains can wash away or erode the adjacent ground which then partially collapses reducing the lateral (sideways) strength of the ground. The support provided by this ground will then be reduced causing any building above to move (subside).
- MINING – mining removes part of the ground below the surface (leaving shafts and tunnels) and which reduces its ability to support the ground above. If these shafts or tunnels collapse, the ground above drops as well, causing damage to any buildings.
- BIODEGRADATION – domestic refuse disposed of in the ground usually breaks down and consolidates at a steady rate. However, the apparent soundness of the ground can be misjudged and further decay/compaction occur resulting in movement (subsidence) of the ground and any buildings above.
- COLLAPSE – the collapse of a sewer, for example, can cause the ground/buildings above to drop (subside).
HOW CAN I TELL IF MY HOUSE IS SUBSIDING?
There could be movement in the ground beneath your home if you find:
- * New or expanding cracks in plasterwork
- * New or expanding cracks in outside brickwork or rendering
- * Sticking doors or windows
- * Rippling wallpaper with no other apparent cause e.g. damp
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO SORT OUT?
First of all, it is vital to establish that there is, in fact, a significant problem and then to correctly identify its cause. Only then can the correct way of solving the problem be specified. Establishing whether or not there is a problem and, if so, its potential extent, can take some time. This is because subsidence usually takes place very slowly and the affected property will need to be carefully monitored over a period of time, often between 6 months and two years. There is rarely any cause for real concern, however, unless cracks appear suddenly and are more than 3mm wide.
WHAT ARE THE SOLUTIONS
This depends on the cause of the problem.
- NOTHING – Sometimes, the subsidence happens and then stops, with further significant movement being unlikely. In these circumstances, when little damage has been caused, it is quite often unnecessary to do anything, apart from fill cracks and renew decorations.
- UNDERPINNING – Underpinning or strengthening/supplementing the foundations may be necessary to prevent further movement. Although it is a costly and disruptive process, it is estimated that only 20-30% of properties suffering from subsidence need underpinning.
- TREE PRUNING/REMOVAL – Tree roots sucking water from the ground is one of the most common causes of subsidence. However, great care must be taken, as the removal of a tree can cause even more severe problems. This is because the ground then has to absorb the water which the tree was taking and which usually results in ‘heave’ or the expansion of the ground causing lifting. Simply pruning a tree, on the other hand, reduces the amount of water that the tree takes up and, therefore, the extent of the problem that the water extraction is causing.
- REPAIR/RENEWAL OF PIPEWORK – Where the soil beneath or adjacent to a property is being washed away because of leaking or broken drains or water pipes, the repair or renewal of defective pipework is often enough to stabilise the situation without the need for expensive underpinning.
JAPANESE KNOTWEED CHARACTERISTICS
- Lush green in colour
- Shovel shaped leaves
- Stem is bamboo like in appearance
- Produces white flowers around September or October
- Can grow by 10cm a day
HOW JAPANESE KNOTWEED SPREADS
It spreads through its crown, rhizome (underground stem) and stem segments, rather than its seeds. The weed can grow a metre in a month and can cause heave below concrete and tarmac, coming up through the resulting cracks and damaging buildings and roads. Studies have shown that a 1cm section of rhizome can produce a new plant in 10 days. Rhizome segments can remain dormant in soil for twenty years before producing new plants.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU DISCOVER JAPANESE KNOTWEED
If you have Japanese knotweed on your land you may be causing a private nuisance to surrounding properties. Using our guidance you should control the Japanese knotweed to prevent further spreading. If Japanese knotweed on a neighbouring property is causing a nuisance to you, we would always recommend that you co-operate with the landowner and seek to control the problem amicably, rather than resort to legal action. This is an issue under Common Law and the Environment Agency has no powers in this situation. The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 states that it is an offence to “plant or otherwise cause to grow in the wild” any plant listed in Schedule nine, Part II of the Act. This lists over 30 plants including Japanese knotweed, giant hogweed and parrot’s feather. The police are responsible for investigating this offence and each police force has a wildlife liaison officer who can be contacted. The Environment Agency are responsible for ensuring that knotweed waste is managed and disposed of in accordance with the knotweed code of practice.
HOW TO CONTROL IT
If you wish to remove the Japanese knotweed before the area is used for development you should closely follow the advice we provide in the knotweed code of practice, or employ a contractor to do so for you. If you are using a contractor to remove the waste for you, they must be registered with us as a waste carrier. To find a contractor to remove Japanese Knotweed, and other invasive plants, please search the Waste Directory: If you don’t need to remove the knotweed urgently, a combination of herbicide treatment and careful excavation should eventually remove the problem.
Japanese knotweed is sensitive to a range of herbicides. The most effective time to apply herbicides to Japanese knotweed is in late Summer. This is much more damaging to the underground rhizome system than applying herbicides in Spring. A qualified person should carry out the treatment and contractors must have a National Proficiency Tests Council (NPTC) certification. Our permission is needed before herbicides can be used in or near watercourses. Herbicide treatment may have to be used for at least three years before Japanese knotweed stops growing back. Even when the plant stops growing back, any soil removed from the area is likely to have dormant rhizome and must be disposed of as described within the knotweed code of practice. Site trials have shown that combining digging and herbicide treatment is more effective in controlling Japanese knotweed than just applying herbicides to the plant. This because the digging breaks up the rhizome, which stimulates leaf production, making the plant more vulnerable to herbicide treatment.
Cutting can be used to reduce underground biomass. Treating fully-grown stems in late summer provides the most effective herbicide control. If it is not possible to treat the mature stems (eg because of spray-drift), the stems can be cut in the spring and the re-growth treated in late summer. This reduces the height of the canes. The plant should be cut at the base of the stem. Cutting methods that produce fragments, such as flailing, should be avoided as just a small part of the stem can produce a new plant. Studies have shown that with four cuts a year the plant loses vigour and underground biomass. The first cut should be carried out when the first shoots appear and the last cut should be done when the plant before it dies back in the autumn (September or October). Annual cutting will be required. Cut stems should be thoroughly dried before they are burnt or taken to landfill. Whenever Japanese knotweed is moved from a site precautions must be taken to ensure that it doesn’t spread to other areas. It will also need to be disposed of properly.
JAPANESE KNOTWEED DISPOSAL
You should contact your local authority to see if they offer a collection service or have a list of sites which can accept Japanese knotweed waste. Local authority contact details for England and Wales are available on the Direct Gov website. You can search by postcode, street, town or local authority. You may find a site in your area which accepts japanese knotweed waste by using the Waste Directory to search for sites accepting ‘Invasive weeds (eg Giant hogweed).’ Otherwise you can look in the Yellow Pages or local directory to see if there are waste management sites or a waste carrier in your area who can take it. You will need to check that they are authorised to take the waste.
Japanese knotweed waste can be burnt on site under controlled conditions. If the waste is burnt, such burning must take into account any local by-laws for nuisance or pollution that may occur as a result of the activity. Anyone working on the site should use protective clothing and face visors. Businesses who intend to burn Japanese knotweed waste should inform us before any burning takes place by calling 03708 506 506. Local authority contact details for England and Wales are available on the Direct Gov website. You can search by postcode, street, town or local authority. Any businesses burning Japanese knotweed waste may need a D7 exemption for burning waste in the open.
Private individuals burning Japanese knotweed waste don’t need a D7 exemption but they must keep within its key conditions. Private individuals who intend to burn Japanese knotweed waste don’t need to inform us but they should inform the local authority as a matter of best practice.
Soil containing Japanese knotweed material and burnt remains of Japanese knotweed may be buried on the site where it was produced. The material should be covered with a root barrier membrane and then buried at least 5 metres deep with inert fill or topsoil. Anyone burying Japanese knotweed waste should inform us at least one week before burial takes place by calling 03708 506 506.
WALL TIE CORROSION
Wall tie corrosion is a common problem in residential properties, particularly those built before the 1980s when building regulations changed to require the use of stainless steel or galvanized wall ties. Wall ties are used in cavity walls to connect the inner and outer leaves of masonry, providing stability and preventing the walls from separating.
Corrosion occurs when moisture penetrates the cavity and reacts with the metal wall ties, causing them to rust, expand and weaken. This can lead to structural issues, such as bulging or cracking walls, and can pose a safety risk to occupants of the property.
Signs of wall tie corrosion may include cracks in the mortar, bulging or bowing of the walls, or visible rust stains. If left untreated, wall tie corrosion can cause significant damage to the property, requiring costly repairs.
Treatment for wall tie corrosion typically involves the installation of new wall ties, which may be either mechanical or resin-bonded. Mechanical wall ties are inserted through the outer leaf of masonry into the inner leaf, while resin-bonded wall ties are bonded into pre-drilled holes in the masonry.
Before installing new wall ties, it is important to remove any corroded ties and repair any damage to the brickwork or mortar. This may involve removing and replacing damaged bricks or repointing the mortar joints.
Prevention of wall tie corrosion can be achieved through regular maintenance of the property, including checking for any signs of damage or wear and tear. It is also important to ensure that the cavity between the inner and outer leaves of masonry is clear of debris and moisture, allowing air to circulate and preventing the build-up of moisture.
In conclusion, wall tie corrosion is a common problem in residential properties that can lead to significant damage if left untreated. It is important to identify any signs of corrosion and seek professional advice to determine the best course of action. Regular maintenance and prevention measures can help to minimize the risk of wall tie corrosion and ensure the long-term stability of the property.
Wet rot is a type of fungal decay that occurs in timber when it is exposed to moisture over a prolonged period. It can cause significant damage to the structure of a house if left untreated. Wet rot is most commonly found in areas of the home that are exposed to dampness, such as basements, crawl spaces, and areas around leaking pipes or roofs.
The primary cause of wet rot is excess moisture in the timber. This can be due to a variety of factors, such as water leaks, inadequate ventilation, or high humidity levels. The fungi that cause wet rot thrive in damp conditions and can rapidly spread throughout the timber, causing it to weaken and deteriorate.
The symptoms of wet rot can vary depending on the severity of the infestation. Some common signs include soft, spongy timber, discoloration, cracking or splitting of the wood, and a musty odor. In severe cases, the timber may become so weakened that it can no longer support the weight of the structure above it, leading to structural failure.
There are several remedies for wet rot, depending on the severity of the infestation. In minor cases, simply removing the source of moisture and allowing the affected area to dry out may be sufficient. In more severe cases, however, it may be necessary to replace the affected timber entirely.
Preventing wet rot is key to avoiding the need for costly repairs in the future. Regular inspections of the home’s structural elements, such as the roof and foundation, can help identify potential sources of moisture before they become a problem. Proper ventilation and drainage can also help prevent dampness from building up in the home.
In summary, wet rot can be a serious issue in houses that can cause significant damage if left untreated. Identifying and addressing the source of moisture is crucial to preventing and treating wet rot. If you suspect wet rot in your home, it is best to consult with a professional who can assess the severity of the infestation and recommend an appropriate course of action.