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New edition of ‘Surveying Safely’

RICS have published a new edition of their Guidance Note called ‘Surveying Safely’ that aims to achieve consistency in health and safety procedures across the construction sector.

Produced by the Institution's Health and Safety Advisory Group, the guidance is based on health and safety law in Great Britain, which covers England, Wales and Scotland.

The guidance is for RICS members and other professionals involved with the property industry and covers a broad range of issues from legal considerations and duties to the individual hazards encountered when visiting a site.

To download a free copy, visit: www.rics.org/surveyingsafely

Electric cables and loft insulation

How many loft hatches have you lifted, stuck your ‘head and shoulders’ into the roof space to be met with a scene like the one below.

Although we cannot be 100% certain, the chances of electrical cables being buried under this insulation is high. This is an issue most residential practitioners should be aware of as cables under thick layers of thermal insulation can easily overheat.

Initiatives like the ‘Green Deal’ will result in this problem becoming more common especially as much of this will be installed on a ‘DIY’ basis.

In reality, when electricians find covered cables, they follow a complex procedure where affected lengths can be ‘down rated’ to compensate for

BlueBox partners

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the problem. Because this is beyond the residential practitioner’s role, we have to adopt a more cautious, measured approach. Larry Russen, a director at BlueBox, uses the following phrase in many of his reports:

There are electricity cables buried under the insulation in the roof space. Electricity cables should ideally be situated above insulation because if there is too much insulation on top of cables, over-heating can occur, which can be a fire hazard. This issue should be checked by the electrician who carries out your electrical test. This is a hazard (see J3).

Whatever your preference, it is important to keep your own approach under review so you can account for new and emerging issues.

Private sewer transfer

Regular readers of this newsletter will remember our April 2009 issue when we covered the consultations about the transfer of responsibility for ‘private sewers’ to the ten water and sewerage companies in England and Wales. Well, doesn’t time fly when you’re battling a recession because it comes into force in October 2011.

Rather than bore you with something you should know, we will simply refer you to the following website for more information

http://www.water.org.uk/home/policy/private-sewers- transfer/about-the-transfer

‘Diagnosis of dampness defects’ group passes the 200 milestone

Long time readers will also know we set up a discussion group on ‘Linked in’ network for those who had an interest in the diagnosis of dampness problems. This has gone from strength to strength with the membership list recently topping 200. Consisting of both contractors and surveyors, recent lively debates include ‘toxic’ mould and reaction to the blood-boiling ‘Help! My house is falling down’ TV program. If you want to join the group, visit www.linkedin.com, register, and search for the ‘Diagnosis of dampness’ in the search box.

No. 18 June 2011

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