In a survey published in December 2013, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) lists the top 10 crimes against period homes.
Number 1 on the list is 'Replacing original good quality sash windows with inappropriate modern aluminium or PVC-U casements and stripping out original period doors.'
The report points out that 'There are over four million Victorian and Edwardian houses in the UK and many are crying out for some serious care and repair work'.
The full list of ‘crimes’ is as follows:
- Replacing original good quality sash windows with inappropriate modern aluminium or PVC-U casements and stripping out original period doors.
- Unnecessarily injecting chemical damp-proof courses (or injecting them incompetently), and re-plastering or rendering main walls with cement-based materials rather than traditional lime, thereby trapping damp in the walls.
- Encouraging damp, rot and beetle infestation by blocking ventilation to floors and roofs, and by allowing high ground levels (such as flower beds) to build up against external walls.
- Removal of chimney breasts or load-bearing internal spine walls without providing adequate support to the remaining masonry above.
- Neglecting badly eroded mortar joints to external masonry, allowing damp to penetrate and frost damage to occur.
- Re-pointing walls with cement mortar that prevents walls from ‘breathing’, and re-pointing in visually dominant ‘show off’ styles (such as protruding ‘weatherstruck’ pointing).
- Botched repairs to flashings to stacks and roofs with short-life materials such as self-adhesive tapes or mortar fillets.
- Failure to provide enhanced structural support to roof structures where original lightweight slate coverings have been replaced with heavier concrete tiles.
- Not lining old flues before lighting fires or using appliances, and failing to cap and ventilate disused flues.
- Weakening floor joists with excessive cutting for cable and pipe runs.