Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article Type: Editorial From: Structural Survey, Volume 26, Issue 3
The RICS have called for consultation over a new version of the Home Buyers Survey that they intend to introduce shortly. Those readers who have had an opportunity to scrutinise the revised document could be forgiven for having a feeling of déjà vu. The new report form has condition ratings 1 to 3 and looks remarkably like the Government’s Home Condition Report (HCR) that was originally intended to form part of every Home Information Pack (HIP) in England and Wales. As we all know the mandatory nature of the HCR was dropped at the last minute, although it can still form part of the pack if the seller desires. Quite what the motivation of the RICS is in mimicking the HCR I am not sure. It presumably has something to do with “market positioning” but I note that they intend to run the new version and original version side by side for some time.
Many commentators believe that the HIP is more likely to be abandoned than the probability of the HCR becoming a mandatory document of the HIP. Certainly the HIP is deeply unpopular with estate agents and is being blamed for the slump in the housing market, although in reality this has much more to do with the credit crunch than the introduction of HIPs. It is highly unlikely that the HIP will be abandoned, however, as it enables the UK Government to partially comply with a European Directive on Energy Performance Certification of dwellings. Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) are the big issue of the moment and are being introduced for commercial as well as domestic buildings (see Newsbriefs in this issue). Many surveyors and similar professionals are rushing off to become energy assessors so that they can produce EPCs.
With the Government’s requirement for individuals to prove their competence to carry out these various statutory duties, members of the RICS and similar professional bodies may well question the value of their membership. Fire risk, access and energy assessment are just a few of such competencies. It is ironic that the value of belonging to “clubs” such as the RICS is being eroded by the very people who are so fond of belonging to such organisations – without their parties many politicians would feel completely lost.
The papers in this issue deal with several topical issues. De Silva and Vithana investigate the potential for waste minimisation in the Sri Lankan construction industry by moving to pre-cast concrete methods. John Mansfield provides a critique of the current funding arrangements for the conservation of the Cathedrals belonging to the Church of England. Yusuf Arayici provides an update of Salford’s progress in computer modelling of buildings while Bath’s Enrico Fodde looks at the influence of soluble salts on the heritage buildings of Moenjodaro in Pakistan. Finally Klintberg et al. in the first of a series of papers look at the potential of a patented method of timber framed housing construction in Sweden to reduce the risks of dampness problems and mould due to flooding.