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Building a home is an exciting prospect, but it entails careful consideration, the ability to consider the future, and the need to exercise caution. There are legal, design, engineering, and functional elements woven into the process as well that need a lot of consideration. While all of this may seem a little daunting, the overall result will ultimately be worth the ordeal. So without further ado, here is how to safeguard and secure your home:

From the elements

In our post ‘The Architect Expert Witness and Building Defects’, we discussed how an architect planned for a bespoke window system as opposed to a manufacturer’s system that would have already gone through complex testing processes. While it was a matter of aesthetics, the end result led to windows that were not properly weathered to prevent rainwater from leaking in, or thermal breaks to guard against condensation. This is the type of issue you will want to be wary of when building a home. Form will not matter if function fails. In the UK, where harsh external elements are very common, this is a matter that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Consider weatherproofing doors with primers, undercoats, and topcoats made from oils or varnish. Some choices even have UV protection to minimise fading. It’s also important to check for draughts and properly seal around the doors. These are clear demonstrations of blending design with practicality.

From repairs

When it comes to building a home, forward thinking is an absolute must. Aside from mapping out current plans for construction, you will also have to create contingency plans for when the project has been completed. An overview of emergency coverage by HomeServe outlines how these policies can safeguard homes from any potential wear and tear. From boilers to heating and plumbing, these utilities will need repairing over time, especially when they are being used frequently. To mitigate any foreseeable or unforeseeable worry with regard to home maintenance, it’s always wise to stay one step ahead. This is something to factor in prior to even settling into a new property.

From intruders

There should always be a premium placed on securing a home to guard against intruders. These days, there are lots of options when it comes to security, especially due to the introduction of the IoT. Smart homes are actually becoming more widespread and a number of these use interconnected gadgets to provide the best protection possible to homeowners. These systems are no longer inaccessible and complicated. An article by The Guardian highlights how today’s security systems allow homeowners to access security footage from their smartphones even while they are away. Aside from the cameras, there are also a number of smart home alarms and entire integrated systems that can be installed by professionals, depending on your particular needs.

From harsh environmental footprints

Lessening the environmental impact has become a priority in the construction industry in recent years, with “building green” concepts becoming a major focus. This ethos means choosing sustainable alternatives to safeguard against harsh environmental footprints. Citu operates low-carbon sites with a community focus that tackles climate change in the process. Meeting this pressing need is a generational goal, and while you don’t always have to follow the same format, integrating sustainable approaches into your building process will minimise the harm on the environment. While these tips may be further additions to a seemingly never-ending checklist for constructing a home, you cannot put a price on your own peace of mind. For more tips from experts and advice on a number of fields, do check out The Expert Witness Journal

Following the Grenfell Tower fire of 14 June 2017, Forensic Architecture, a multidisciplinary team of investigators based at Goldsmiths, University of London, launched an open ended investigation into the circumstances of the night of the fire.

by Martin Burns RICS, Head of ADR Research and Development