National Maintenance Week 2020
National Maintenance Week (20-27 November) reminds anyone who cares for a property - regardless of its age, type or purpose - of the straightforward steps they can take to protect their building from winter weather.
The SPAB (The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings) knows that carrying out simple, regular maintenance tasks will save money on expensive repairs further down the line, and allow us to live more sustainably. Buildings and construction make up 42% of the UK’s total carbon footprint. Keeping existing homes in good condition will significantly help in efforts to be ‘greener’.
A well-maintained building is not only likely to last longer, it is also most likely to be energy efficient. Damp is the most common cause of damage affecting buildings of all ages. Dry walls are better insulators than ones that are wet, and regular maintenance can help you spot a small problem before it becomes a larger, more costly one.
Luckily small steps to keep a building dry can make a big difference. Clearing gutters and checking your roof’s condition once a year are simple ways to help prevent rainwater damage.
National Maintenance Week is an annual campaign organised by the UK’s oldest building conservation charity, SPAB (The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings), but their free advice is appropriate to all sorts of buildings, whether it’s a 1930s semi-detached or a medieval church.
The experts on the SPAB’s free helpline, generously funded by Historic England, (open from Monday to Friday between 9.30am -12.30pm on 020 7456 0916) are there to answer your questions and can provide names of professionals in your area, if needed.
A wide range of free online events on maintenance throughout National Maintenance Week will offer practical advice delivered by conservation experts on how to perform regular maintenance checks on a building. Visit the website (spab.org.uk) for details.
National Gutters Day (Friday 27 November) is SPAB’s light-hearted reminder to look out for potential problems and take action where necessary. Take a few minutes on Friday 27 November to check on the performance of your property’s gutters and down pipes. Look out for cracks, breakages, and blockages from debris including earth, twigs, leaves and bird’s nests.
Maintenance made easy: the SPAB’s Top Ten Tips
1. Take a few moments to check the state of your roof for slipped or missing tiles. If you are standing outside a pair of binoculars can be useful to help you spot any faults. Inside the roof space, look for gaps or daylight showing through the roof overhead.
2. Outside, look for blocked downpipes. It’s best to check during heavy rain to see water coming from any leaky joints – in dry weather look for stained brickwork.
3. Each autumn and spring, clear any plants, leaves and silt from gutters, hopperheads, flat roofs and drainage channels.
4. Check ground level gullies and drains to make sure they are clear of debris like leaves, twigs and even toys.
5. Remove potentially damaging vegetation from behind downpipes by cutting back or removing the plant altogether.
6. Use a hand mirror to look behind rainwater pipes as splits and cracks in old cast iron and aluminium often occur here and are not easily noticed.
7. Fit bird/leaf guards to the tops of soil pipes and rainwater outlets to prevent blockages.
8. Have gutters refixed if they are sloping the wrong way or discharging water onto the wall.
9. Regular painting of cast iron is essential to prevent rust – and keeps your property looking good!
10. Remember to take care at all times, wear protective gloves when necessary and never work at heights or use ladders if you are alone. If in doubt always seek help from a professional.
Notes to Editors
The UK’s oldest conservation charity, the SPAB (The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings) supports the maintenance of all buildings; in the words of SPAB founder William Morris, ‘Stave off decay with daily care’. Through unique training schemes, courses, advice, and research the SPAB is here to help buildings and the people who care for them.
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