The diagnosis of defects and the repair of old buildings is a different skill from that of modern buildings.
David Rawlins has undertaken additional training (The RICS Diploma in Building Conservation) to enable the correct advice. It is important to adopt an approach which works with the structure of the buildings and recognizes the advantages of traditional forms of building.
For example, the installation of a damp proof course is very often not necessary, and soft mortar pointing which gives the building its character may very well not need renewing. Its softness and flexibility is often its strength.
We have also provided specific comment on defects to Chimneys, Windows, Boundary walls, retaining walls, windows, solid floors in lofts, historic structures, stone and brick decay in walls etc etc. From recent inspections, condensation seems to be becoming an increasing problem, such as where internal wall insulation has been installed without adequate consideration to the consequences.
Advice is also available on the likely impact of any proposed alterations to improve energy efficiency. Recent research has shown that many problems being experienced by householders can be directly related to how an old building has been insulated as part of a general improvement programme aimed at reducing heat loss. Indeed, many modern materials or forms of thermal improvement can subsequently result in a significant increase in condensation levels and internal dampness as a result of inadequate design or the use of inappropriate materials. There is significant concern with regard to current Government proposals to allow Green Deal Advisors to be mainly supplied by contractors who also sell the products of insulation and that insufficient reference will be made to the individual requirements and format of the original construction of the particular dwelling. Independent advice from a historic building specialist is strongly recommended in order to try and avoid potential problems in due course.
David Rawlins is a member of the Sustainable Traditional Buildings Alliance, which offers excellent advice on these matters. See www.retrofitbuildings.com. The sustainability of the existing housing stock and the way that old houses were constructed is crucial to the on going health of such houses. Please see the recent submission by the IHBC to Government: https://www.ihbc.org.uk/news/docs/Green%20Deal%20Memorandum%20final.pdf For further advice on how to reduce energy loss in a period house, see the guidance from Historic England: https://historicengland.org.uk/advice/your-home/saving-energy/