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An Introduction To The  Building Surveying For

Property Managers Series Transcript


With Graham Cardoe


Host: 00:01

Welcome to the Cardoe Martin podcast Building Surveying for Professionals introduction to our new series Building Surveying for Property Managers. Now, this is a special series dedicated to the world of property management. But it can be for anyone who’s got an interest in property management, or indeed buildings surveying, and residential world of the built environment to help you get the most out of this series, Graham Cardoe’s joined us. Thank you very much for coming along. Great.


GC: 00:25

Great to be here. Thank you.


Host:  00:27

Now you’re going to talk us through a little bit about the roles of a building surveyor, and what they can take on in regards to property management. So that’s going to be pretty important. And as regards to the series itself, what we’re aiming to do is to be able to raise questions with you’re struggling here as the property manager, asking questions, which are surveyors of Cardoe Martin will be answer. And it’ll be about the problem itself, the analysis questions, and then a solution provision. And the solution will be based around when to contact a contractor, and when to contact a building surveyor. Graham, thank you very much for turning up again, this is brilliant, and we’re looking forward to all the fun things you’re going to tell us. I suppose the first thing is when we talk about property management, I’ve always thought of property management as being kind of caretaking, like taking on a guardianship, not only for the client, but also for the building itself. Is resilience, something that’s quite important to you. And if you’ve got any kind of examples of where resilience has played a role?


GC: 01:26

Yes, I’ve recently read a book by Angela Duckworth called Grit. And it was following a review and analysis of various institutions which included the West Point Military Academy in the US and grit was stickability not giving up on a task. And that attribute was considered to be much more important than attributes that you would typically expect to be important such as academic ability, physical ability, IQ, and the individuals who succeeded and passed the course and stayed on to the end were generally the ones that displayed this grit and ability to stick to the task and not give up, which I found very interesting, because so much emphasis when you’re at school and university and whatever is is tends to focus on on academic issues. But in the real world, they’re often not the ones that really matter.


Host: 02:27

Just actually thinking of a current real world example. It’s the queen. And obviously in the last week, we’ve had the sad news about her passing. Would you say the queen, I think she had grit, hadn’t she?


GC: 02:41

And she’s incredible in terms of ability to stay with a task and follow it through throughout her life from a young age. So she had grit in abundance, in my view, and what an incredible person and states person to bea role model for us all.


Host: 03:05

Now, the job of being property managers is quite complex, they’ve got to think of lots of different things. And that’s part of the reason why this podcast is being created, in order to help property managers and people interested in the world of property management, get to grips with things like building defects and all this sort of stuff. So we’re going to cover off kind of in a high level. Now, just a little bit about the types of things that the episodes will cover. As a bit of a teaser. We’re looking at core examples of how a property manager and a building surveyor might meet.


GC: 03:35

The building surveyor’s expertise can assist a property manager in terms of the building, in terms of defects, structural issues, compliance with legislation, health and safety, fire, and the maintenance of properties is important as well. Building Surveyors can advise on the work required over planned maintenance programme of safe 15 or 20 years. Advise on life expectancy of elements of the building and plan those costs in a way that reduces the hardship for flat owners. For instance, if there’s a very large capital expenditure in in a particular year, that can be problematical or as if we spread the cost of the works over the period of the programme that will minimise disruption and inconvenience to the actual owners of the property and the occupiers.


Host: 04:29

Thanks for that, Graham. In this introductory session, we’re going to just go off through a set number of topics, and we’re just going to make a couple of comments on it. So we start off with building defects. Can you tell us a little bit about the Building Surveying role in the Property Management well for building defects?


GC: 04:47

Building surveyors have the technical expertise to advise upon many building problems. They could include structural damage, subsidence, dampness, compliance with building regulations. issues and health and safety legislation, all of which are important to have under control when looking after properties.


Host: 05:06

What about building cost assessments (BCA)?


GC: 05:09

All buildings have to be insured for reinstatement in the event of fire or loss and building surveyors have the expertise to calculate a reasonable figure for reinstatement, which would include not only the cost of rebuilding, but the cost of any design alterations to bring them up to current building regulations standards, and that process involves measuring the building assessing the likely cost of rebuilding and producing a report which insurers would then use to provide insurance cover.


Host: 05:41

Thanks, Graham, there will be a large number of listeners who will either be residents in a flat or block of flats or indeed property managers. The idea of people living in close proximity is important. And I’m assuming that once you get lots of different works going on within flats that can generate a lot of work. So if flat owners are doing building works, how does the building surveyor assist property manager with those sorts of tasks?


GC: 06:07

Most leases include covenants requiring lessees, or flat owners to comply with certain procedures. So if they’re proposing to undertake works of structural alteration or changes to the layout of a flat, they would be required to obtain landlord’s consent for those works prior to starting. And typically what would happen is that the lessees proposals would be provided in terms of drawing specifications, etc. And the impact of those works on adjoining flat owners and on the building itself would be where the building surveyor’s expertise would become important. So they may say that the works have to be undertaken within certain working hours. Noisy works have to be restricted, protection of the common areas, the lifts, and other areas which could be adversely affected by the works. We will also ensure that the works were undertaken in accordance with building regulations and sometimes the planning laws as well, and fire safety legislation.


Host:   07:12

One large part of running a building is maintenance, and sustainability, keeping things fresh and ready and working for future generations. How does a building surveyor play a role in the maintenance and repair of buildings that a property manager might be involved in?


GC: 07:31

Building Surveyors have the expertise to advise on maintenance programmes for buildings. All buildings have and the elements of buildings have a life expectancy for instance, lifts will have a life expectancy but when they they require renewal the costs are significant. And there is obviously some considerable advantage in spreading those costs over a period of time, typically 10, 15 or 20 years to avoid having major expenditure in individual years, which could cause considerable hardship to flat owners who may not expect those works to suddenly be required. There’s also an advantage in planning maintenance repair works in advance that’s essentially preventative maintenance rather than reactive maintenance. So reactive maintenance is where a problem occurs, such as a boiler breaks down. And because there’s very little time to rectify the problem, the works often aren’t undertaken at the best possible price. And planning those works in advance is a big advantage.


Host: 08:35

Now, I know a lot of blocks of flats will have television and internet connectivity. I kind of got this impression, of cabling going neatly into walls and underground and kind of tucked away but there’s also the kind of the idea of the some mothers do ave ’em type thing where someone’s taped it across the floor in front of your door and trip over it on the way out we deal with the Meringue and blancmonge – assuming that’s still a thing anymore. How does the surveyor assist with cabling installations in large blocks of flats and making good?


GC: 09:09

My experience didn’t start with with blocks of flats is solid in my own home and I was amazed that the way that cabling was run in all manner of unsightly routes through my house to the extent that the next time cabling was installed, I actually prepared drawings of where I wanted the cables to go okay, because some of them it’s quite unsightly and the problem is obviously exaggerated in a large buildings such as an apartment block. Building surveyors would agree the roots of those cables, the making good to be undertaken in advance of the works being undertaken and carried out and the problems can be even more serious in multi occupied buildings of that type because fire barriers can be breached and not made good which can affect the integrity of the building and increase the risk of fires. So it is such an important role Building Surveyors have in agreeing the scope and the extent of that work prior to it being carried out and then checking off the works upon completion.


Host: 10:17

And as we know, with the Grenfell disaster, that it’s not just internal issues with the fire safety, but also external as well with the the way the building is either clad or structured.


GC: 10:30

Absolutely, in the first phase one of the Grenville tower inquiry, various recommendations were made to reduce the risk of of a disaster of this type occurring again, and they included a requirement for owners of high rise residential apartments, that is the clients of property managers to provide the fire brigade with details of their external wall design. To ensure that up to date, floor plans were made available of the building, which would assist fire brigades when they attended properties and also provide information regarding the lifts that could be used by the fire brigade in in emergency situations. Building Surveyors have the expertise to advise on these on all these types of issues and and assist property managers.


Host: 11:23

And I suspect that will include to a degree disabled accessibility as well thinking from a fire safety perspective, but also from the Building Regulations, Part M.


GC: 11:32

This tends to be a more specialist area, but building surveyors can certainly provide some advice in terms of disability audits.


Host: 11:41

How does the role of the building surveyor impact on party walls?


GC: 11:46

Well, party structure notices are often required in apartment blocks. For instance, the floor between one apartment and the apartment below forms a party structure. And in those situations, a notice may be required to be served upon the adjoining owner prior to undertaking works. And many of the works that typically are undertaken by flat owners for instance, removing partitions, some of which may have a structural function are relevant and billing surveyor could or would be, would have the the expertise to advise.


Host: 12:24

Graham, thank you very much for working through those examples. It’s clear that building surveyors play a very important role within the world of property management and support the work and can lead and innovate the work that property managers do for clients, property owners and lease holders. Now, thank you very much for making such a great intro to the series that Graham really appreciated and what you’ve done is cover off some interesting topics that will be covered as part of the wider categories.


GC: 12:49

Thanks very much for inviting me along James, it’s been good to see you again and to chat about these issues.


Host: 12:54

Cheers, Graham, it is always a good one, and hopefully listeners will be able to take something out of this episode and also for the series in general which we’re looking forward to producing for you. Now you’ve been tuned into Cardoe Martin’s Building Surveying for professionals podcast. This is the surveying for property managers series. Thanks for listening.