If last winter is anything to go by – with a similar forecast for this year – then it makes absolute sense to get our buildings ready to cope with another deluge: and to remind us, celebrity chef Loyd Grossman is leading the SPAB (Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings) annual National Maintenance Week campaign, to encourage owners of all sorts of properties not to neglect proper care. Speaking for Plastic Surgeon it is an initiative we are fully in tune with.
Starting on November 21st, the idea is to repair damaged or slipped roof tiles along with fascias, cladding, doors and windows – as well as clear drains and gutters of debris such as leaves, twigs, birds’ nests and any vegetation that may have taken root. Exterior joinery or woodwork may need to be protected with another layer of paint or stain, as will cast iron or aluminium downpipes; while pointing may also require attention. It’s also worth checking to see if ivy has crept through the eaves, lifting tiles on its way and thus leaving the potential for water ingress.
But what about other areas of damage around the building envelope that are potentially leave our properties at risk of further deterioration? At Plastic Surgeon, our Finishers regularly get called out to repair chipped and cracked masonry and this year we have launched a new service dealing with specialist render problems.
We even have a technique for straightening distorted uPVC profiles including window frames and sections of guttering – heating them gently so that they return to their original shape. Or filling holes, scrapes and dents. Conservatories, porches and porticos can also benefit from our repair expertise.
Anyway, back to SPAB: earlier in the autumn, the organization took Loyd up on the beautifully maintained roof of St James’ Church, Piccadilly to give him a bird’s-eye view of the nooks and crannies that can cause problems if they are not cleaned and cared for.
The chef is Chairman of the Churches Conservation Trust, so already has a keen interest in buildings. He said: “Nearly 140 years ago SPAB’s founder William Morris told us to ‘stave off decay by daily care, to prop a perilous wall or mend a leaky roof’ and that’s still sound, practical advice. Good maintenance is simply good common sense. It’s economic sense too. Faulty gutters and blocked drains don’t mend themselves – the longer you ignore a problem the more costly and difficult it becomes to put it right, and that’s true if the building you care for is a medieval church in a village or an apartment in a town or city.”
Running for the last 13 years, National Maintenance Week reminds anyone who looks after a building – regardless of its age, type or purpose – of the simple, achievable steps they can take to prepare for the worst that winter can bring. The UK’s most recent, wet and blustery winter – along with the previous run of harsh, cold ones – underline the importance of the regular care.
Bad weather can leave a legacy of problems that need attention; though rest assured that Plastic Surgeon can cope with all those cosmetic problems from water staining to spalled, frost damaged bricks and much more besides.