Property needs to be protected from Normal wear and tear (and this is a specific exclusion of most insurance contracts and many claims are rejected on the basis that damage was more directly caused by poor maintenance rather than by an insured peril)
Insurance should never be seen as an alternative to good risk management.
Routine, ongoing and preventative maintenance will not only help keep a property in a good state of repair but will also help make a property more resilient to potential losses.
Neglecting routine building maintenance will often result in the need for costly and more disruptive remedial work. This guide provides a checklist to help you protect your property, and to help establish a regime of good preventative maintenance. (see page 3 for checklist).
Regular and systematic building inspections are a key part of any maintenance programme in order to help identify problems promptly. Early remedial action by a competent contractor is essential to prevent further, more costly, damage.
It may also be necessary to engage a competent person with the appropriate skills and equipment to carry out inspections in certain areas e.g. roofs.
Intervals between inspections may vary depending on such things as the location, age, construction, usage etc. of a building.
Log books are indispensable for keeping track of maintenance regimes, identified problems and actions taken.
External Building Fabric
The fabric of a building needs frequent and careful examination particularly when in an exposed or elevated location.
Roofs need to be inspected at least twice a year or following particularly stormy weather – debris on the ground from broken slates and tiles indicates that there is a problem. In some cases roofs can be inspected using binoculars or vantage points from nearby higher buildings.
Repair or replace:
Missing, slipped or broken slates or tiles
Damaged or rusty cladding
Cracked flat roof coverings. A bitumen roofing felt may need to be completely renewed after 10 years.
Leaking or damaged rooflights
Gaps and missing mortar between ridge tiles
In addition moss, which retains damp, needs to be removed since it can cause slate to delaminate and can gradually erode all metals particularly lead work – a seasonal brushing down is often all that is required to prevent excessive build up.
Where puddles occur on flat roofing advice should be sought from a qualified building surveyor.
If safe to do so, additional inspection through the loft access may show daylight or water penetration which is not always apparent from external examination.
Apart from cleaning twice yearly repair or replace:
Any lightning conductor systems need to be checked and maintained every 14/15 months by a suitably qualified and experienced person to ensure that they are undamaged, continue to conform to the relevant standards and provide the protection for which they were designed.
Hardfacts information sheets are designed to give general information on risk management topics. Readers should take specific advice when dealing with particular situations.
Aviva Risk Management Solutions accepts no responsibility for action taken as a result of information contained in this publication. The information in Hardfacts is correct at the
date of going to press. Printed and published by Aviva Risk Management Solutions, Friars Gate, Stratford Road, Solihull, West Midlands B90 4BN.
Telephone 0845 3016030 Fax 08000 687288 Sales Hotline 0500 55 99 77 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org website: www.aviva.co.uk/risksolutions.
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Walls Clean, repair or replace:
• Gutters. Valley and parapet types requiring
Walls need to be checked annually not only for especially close and regular attention
damage but also for evidence of dampness which
may highlight another problem such as rising
damp or damaged/blocked gutters or downspouts
• Downspouts. Internal downspouts in particular
need to have adequate protection against
mechanical damage and remain undamaged
• The fixings for downspouts and gutters
Unless designed otherwise external ground levels • Drains
should be at least 150mm or two bricks below
internal floor levels so as not to affect any damp
• Manholes. Also keep readily accessible
• Ground gutters, surface channels
It can be beneficial to fit proprietary plastic leaf
Climbing plants should be avoided or strictly guards to gutters and above downspouts.
controlled since they can hide problems, cause
damage to the building fabric and block vents or
Also, regular painting of cast iron gutters and
downspouts is important to prevent rust.
Clean, repair or replace: An annual inspection of the condition of
timberwork to be undertaken which, unless • Air bricks
• Damaged or eroded mortar maintained, will deteriorate, rot and allow water
ingress. Redecoration should be expected every 3
– 5 years depending on the location.
• Damaged or rusty cladding
Damaged / cracked bricks may be a sign of
subsidence or settlement. Cracks may require
monthly monitoring, particularly if diagonal. When
in doubt seek specialist advice.
Check for cracking, rot and peeling paintwork.
Repair, renovate, replace as necessary:
• Windows. Also examine any putty, and look for
missing sealants around the frame.
• Doors, sills and frames. Also examine any
putty, and look for missing sealants around the
Rainwater Removal – Gutters, Gulleys,
Downspouts and Drains
• Fascias, bargeboards etc
Blocked or damaged rainwater removal systems
will allow damage to the building fabric or water
ingress. The underground drainage system also
needs to effectively remove water away from the
property and not become blocked with leaves, silt,
vegetation or grease.
Trees can cause building movement and damage
by removing moisture from the ground and
conversely if removed when mature by allowing
soils to expand. In addition tree roots notoriously
Oil or grease should never be poured directly in to
drains – kitchens need to have drainage systems
fitted with grease traps or interceptors which are
regularly cleaned and maintained.
invade underground drainage pipes causing
blockages and damage. Not only is careful
planting required, depending on the variety, but
also regular pruning by a competent person – tree
preservation orders should be considered before
Drainage systems need to be checked regularly any work commences.
and cleaned at least annually – more regularly
when necessary e.g. when close to trees. The best
time to inspect is during or straight after heavy rain
as this will enable you to more easily identify any
problem areas. A small hand held mirror can aid
inspection behind rainwater pipes as cracks in old
cast iron or aluminium sometimes occur there and
might not be noticed.