All posts by Edward Perkins

Checking The Guttering Saves Mini Forest Taking Root

It can be pretty easy to overlook certain items of property maintenance in the rush of everyday life.  We do tend to just get up, go to work, come home, eat, potter about or watch tv, on repeat.  Looking around the property, inside and out is often relegated to when something has actually gone wrong and we need to get it fixed.  It’s only then we realise the problem could have hbeen picked up and fixed much sooner, and more cheaply if we had looked up and around more frequently.  I had just this arise earlier last year, during a very wet few weeks I became aware of water cascading down the front of my ensuite.  As suspected, the gutter above it was blocked by bird activity and so the fierce rainwatwer couldn’t reach the downpipe leading to the drain away.  Donning sou’wester and galloshes, I looked up and saw to my horror a mini tree beginning to show itself above the parapet as it were.  I had to call in the gutter guys as the problem was above a very sloping tiled porch and it needed specialist to reach up and clear the quite substantial clump of forestry.   I should have had the gutters checked the previous year when I had the chance.

Keeping A Build Project On Stream Without It Running Away

The best thing about using a local design and build partnership for any project below major housing level is the close relationship one can build – trust and understanding are absolutely vital in this world.  One must be able to talk to the architect or designer and get across what we want to get out of a project.  It is all too easy to listen to sage words and not take in the essence and along the way, lose sight of our own needs and requirements.    Very often a build team will have a set idea in mind, but this does not always sit easily with the end user.  There may be good reason for this, such as lack of contact and perseverance on one side or the other.  The key is to always keep in touch via the project manager or build foreman if this is the agreed route.  Do not let them run with the project so it goes ahead of where one can rein it back in.  This will cause all sorts of conflict if it gets out of hand.

Shoe Factories Breathing New Life

I see many properties when I walk arond my local town which still has its midlands industrial roots very much in evidence.  Although none  of the shoe factories are producing anything these days, in the late Victorian period and right up until the late 1990s, there was a very strong shoe and boot making presence in the towns around here.    There are still one or two pockets of activity, in canalside mills and factories.  The old brick mills left behind have been snapped up for residential purposes.  There are one or two which have been repurposed for small starter units and in fact a few co-operative ventures have taken over some prime locations.  Keeping the heritage alive has been difficult for some – who cannot understand the appeal of the old factory life. Some folk are happy for it all to be swept aside.   This is sad and niaive – after all, todays students learn so much from being schooled in a modern environment.

Keeping On Top Of House Maintenance

When you take the keys to your first property the excitement level is unbelievable.  There is the furniture to get in – that sofa handed over by Granny and the spare sideboard from down the road.  It’s so easy to get swept up in a whirl of activity of curtain hanging and furniture placement that simple things can sometimes get left aside.

When my family moved from an older house into a brand new one in the 1960s, there was much the same euphoria – this time though we had fitted carpets and central heating – oh such treats.   Although the houses were of different generations and the latter was very up to date with lots of ‘mod cons’ the need for constant home maintenance didn’t change much.  The guttering still needed regular checking.   Some of these are still regular bugbears even today but there are agencies that will come on a regular basis to sort these out – for a reasonable fee.

Man With A Very Big Ladder – Worth His Weight In Gold

Needing to find out what the suspcious banging and scraping noise was down the side of my house after the latest of a series of storms, I found to my horror that part of the guttering had detached itself and was swinging listlessly.   I look around the rest of the house at all levels, but especially up at gutter height.  The old & unused satellite dish was still clinging firm, despite being precariously located.  I made a note of other possible problems areas and came on line to the property maintenance gang   They had been inundated with calls for help.  Being an old customer of theirs, I was offered a slot fairly swiftly.   Access is limited but negotiations with my neighbour for the erection of the ladder round his side meant a quick reinstallation of the gutter took place by someone who really knew what he was doing and he checked the rest of the guttering.  Phew!

New Builds Have Maintenance Issues Of Their Own

Keepi                                                                                                                                             ng a hand on property maintenance is now beginning to get irksome – when I first moved to this house many years ago, it was spanking brand new.  Straight off the production line as it were.  True we had a couple of snagging problems that needed urgent sorting out, well before the standard 6 months settling in period.    As in having to get the chaps back to reseal the bath – they’d sealed it without bothering to fill it with water first.   That had the result of making the bath sealant come away from the base of the tiling the first time we actually filled and used the bath as it dropped down centmetres with the weight of the water and the body soaking it up.  There was also the unfortunate matter of the porch ceiling falling down after two days – they’d just lain the ceiling panel on lathes under the pitched tiles – but if slipped and fell down with an almighty crash almost at the first wind.

Property Portfolios Benefit From Professional Care & Attention

How we manage our property is an individual matter of organisation and expenditure.  When there is a stock of properties to manage, say a whole raft of ‘buy to let’ in a portfolio, the only sensible way to maanage the constant demands of property upkeep, repairs, decorating and legal safety affairs is to use a property management agency.  They have the expertise, resources and manpower to carry out the work in fixed phases so that each property has the basics seen to on a very regular basis and the extras, such as decoratorating and refurbishment, on a more programmed approach.

The trouble with leasing out property is the variable nature of tenants.  Soe are fantastic, caring for your property as if it was their own, others tend to be far less kind and almost because they are paying rent, sometimes in a bad situation, they won’t think twice about trashing your proudly owned flat or house.

Victorian Mid Terrace Throws Up Maintenance Headaches

There are so many different facets to property management.  Firstly we have just the outside to deal with.  i.e. all the pointing work, ensuring no gaps exist between the outer bricks.  Then there are the gutters, fascias and soffits around the roof line.  These can come down with sometimes tragic results when the gusty weather gets up.  One of our houses had a major problem with cast iron gutters – it was a victorian mid terrace . .  .   not easy to fix when you have a couple of houses either side that share the massively heavy and complex gutter and downpipe system.  We also had trouble with the chimney flashings – those little flaps of roof materials that is waterproof and sits below the roof tile to and is pulled up around the edged to stop any water ingress.  This is where a property maintenance company is worth it’s weight in gold.  An annual contract is so worth while.

Build & Decor Considerations For Less Modern Homes

Our modern houses are so much simpler to plan and construct than the huge family homes of the 1700s.  I take that period as an example here because I’ve recently revisited a well established heritage house where I’ve volunteered as room steward for several seasons.  for that task there is obviously a certain amount of history to be learned by heart – in the hope that we may engage the interest of visitors.   The Hall I’m referring to replaced a tudor family estate house – shame they were so rich, the owners just replaced it and pulled the old one down!  The palladian hall is perfectly proportioned with exactly the right number of windows either side of the front door.  The entrance hall is painted in Lancaster Pink, sounds strange, suggesting at first theshade of ladies’ corsets, but it is deliciously warm and very inviting to the visitor.   The amount of work needed to keep the Hall from deteriorating is a full time job in planning, funding and  orchestrating for the Trust’s team – calling on experts at every step of the way.

Siblings Who Design & Build Together, Prosper Together

I have an elderly friend who has been used to living in some rather nice houses over the years.  Her husand was a jobbing builder when they married and he then formed  small building company with his brother and cousin.  It helped that another older cousin was already a successful local architect.   There’s a world of difference in being a builder if you have to pay a huge amount to engage an architect.  Having one in the family can bring much greater success in that there’s a natural family understanding and a combining of thoughts.  Very often siblings work very well together too – in design and decor, there is a general appreciation of the project finer points and it’s as if they work with one mind.   Again with projects one can concentrate on the design side and the other on the build requirements or one can design a thme and the other will be good at procuring the actual product to bring it to fruition.