We might all have aspirations of building a new home but, like it or not, land in the UK comes at a hefty premium. It means that the next best thing that most people have is to adapt their existing property or, as today’s title might have already revealed, extend it. The benefits of extending a property are all for see and providing a homeowner invests in the right area, the boosts in value can be significant.
However, it doesn’t come without its headaches and for the purposes of today, we will focus on safety. Whether a homeowner takes on a DIY job, or contractors are brought in, one should not underestimate an extension just because it feels a small job in comparison.
The age of PPE
In truth, it has always existed. However, in the current environment it would be fair to say that even more of an emphasis is being placed on PPE. It is no longer being regarded as a hassle, but an essential piece of equipment that everybody demands.
This demand not only comes from contractors, but also clients themselves. Clients do not expect to see a contractor turn up to a job without PPE as nowadays, with the Covid-19 pandemic in full flow, it puts them at risk as well.
As such, for any extension work ensure that the correct PPE is sourced. This might include:
- The standard hard hats and steel-toe boots
- Face masks; the standard will vary depending on the type of work
- Clothing to guard against the weather
The perils of load bearing walls
Nowadays, reduction in steel prices means that load bearing walls are not quite the stumbling block that they once proved to be. However, that does not mean to say that care doesn’t need to be taken. A load bearing wall might be identified, and the correct beams might be sourced, but in the meantime the right action needs to be taken.
There have been some horrendous incidents of acrow props not being used correctly through the removal of a load-bearing wall, and the results are obvious to see. As such, when these walls are taken out, ensure they are propped up accordingly before the beam is installed.
Let’s leave one of the most frightening safety factors until the end. The reason that this is frightening is that the effects are quite often-delayed – sometimes for years. An extension is built onto a property and all seems fine for years. Then, cracks start to appear (literally) in another area of the building.
This is often due to a form of subsidence. When the foundations for the new part of the building were constructed, it disrupted foundations which already existed for the original building. The result, in most cases, is a crack that will almost point towards the work where the building was done.
Over time, these cracks tend to widen. There are a whole host of resources on what constitutes a safe, and unsafe, crack in a building. Suffice to say, action is required sooner rather than later as in the worst-case scenarios, these cracks can make a building uninhabitable.
Once you have put the work in to identifying the most common safety concerns within your home, you can get to work making the improvements you have always dreamed of.