Alterations to non traditional construction houses
Do you want to carry out alterations to your non traditional house?
Are you thinking of purchasing a non traditional property but will need to make alterations?
Non traditional constructed properties have been built using effectively mass production methods. Often non traditional properties involve innovative construction methods such as structural frames and cladding. Non traditional homes made from structural frames include materials such as metal, concrete or wood. Essentially the main factor with non traditional construction is that the properties could be built quickly helping to fill the need for housing after World War II. It is said that numerous companies that were involved in building aircraft and making bombs changed to building houses – quite a contrasting production line!
Do you live in a non traditional house that suffers from condensation and cold bridging?
Our expert independent non traditional building Surveyors frequently are asked about problems with condensation and cold bridging in non traditionally constructed houses and flats. This particular problem can be argued is a characteristic of non traditional buildings and is quite a complex issue to resolve. Unfortunately condensation if more likely to be present in non traditional properties as well as cold bridging.
Cold bridging – what is it?
Cold Bridging is a term and a problem we believe will become much more common in years to come. The sketch is a good indication of the typical things that cause cold bridging in a house and how installing large humidity controlled extraction systems in humidity generating areas such as the kitchen and the bathroom can reduce problems. You do need to look at how you live in the house – drying clothes inside or not opening windows regularly are factors that do not help this situation for example.
Cold bridging – what causes this issue?
Cold bridging is caused by a colder element in the structure or fabric of the building allowing coldness to pass through. When warm moist air is present in the property and it passes through the colder elements of the structure we have what is known as cold bridging.
Cold bridging is often caused by a combination of issues. It can occur from things such as having a shower or a bath, cooking or clothes washing, particularly if you are drying washing internally on the radiators.
Cold bridging and thermal bridging – what is the difference?
The terms cold bridging and thermal bridging, as we understand, are the same condition.
Why do non traditional building suffer from cold bridging?
Non traditional buildings have more than their fair share of problems particularly those built from a steel/metal frame. Unfortunately today we have increased insulation and heat in houses regularly to a higher temperature than the way we used to them therefore there is more likely to be condensation and cold bridging issues.
Our non traditional building surveyors always check roofs
If you are considering buying a non traditional construction house then the roof is an area which will need to be checked. All our building Surveyors always inspect the roof as this is normally the area where you can best view the structural frame and assess for rusting etc. In an ideal world we would recommend that the walls of the property are opened up to check the structural frame at key points for example the floor, first floor and roof levels.
The adjacent photo shows an example of rusting frame seen within the roof space
Misting mirrors and windows – cold bridging is not just about condensation in these areas
Cold bridging is not just about mirrors suffering with condensation and windows too. It can be encouraged by all types of extensions and alterations; as well as be an original characteristic of non traditional construction properties.
If you are planning on extended or amended a non traditional construction house or flat then a free phone call to our friendly building Surveyors will enable you to make the right decision with your property alteration.
Metal lintels and cold bridging
Cold bridging frequently occurs in properties with metal lintels. As a way to try to reduce cold bridging some modern metal lintels now include insulation however it is important that they are not over insulated. Over insulation of a metal framed property could cause condensation and in time rusting of the metal frame itself.
Detailed, clear, plain English surveys
All our Surveyors produce detailed, clear, plain English surveys using many unique survey sketches and digital photos to ensure you are totally aware of any property issues prior to committing to purchase. Our photos and sketches also are accompanied by concise definitions of any technical terms and use a system of coloured circles, ovals and arrows to ensure our clients receive a clear understanding of the property.
Can I solve a problem of cold bridging?
Cold bridging can be a difficult problem to overcome. A reduction in condensation occurring can be achieved if you get the balance of warm and cool air together with sufficient ventilation and movement of air within a property. In times gone by windows were generally left open regularly and this simple action of allowing warm air out of a room and cooler air in can reduce the chances of condensation considerably.
Simply lifestyle can be a factor in cold bridging.
If you consider your lifestyle within a property then this can be a contributing factor with the amount of cold bridging occurring within a house or flat. If there is a large family with several children living in a property with frequent washing and drying clothes within the property this can be a contributing factor to cold bridging. Showers and baths being used often without adequate ventilation all lead towards a humid atmosphere, which again leads to cold bridging.
Cold bridging and the design of a non traditional building
Cold bridging can be down to the design of the non traditional construction property. Where there are cold elements in the construction, such as a metal or concrete structural frame or metal or concrete lintels, when these are in contact with moist air condensation occurs. Occasionally this is impossible to stop but often it is possible to reduce it by having a better circulation of air with a better heat and coolness balance and the removal of any moist air.
Will an extension to a non traditional property cause cold bridging?
Increasingly our structural building Surveyors are coming across problems where non traditional construction properties have been extended and it has not been planned or thought through properly. We have come across dormer roofs that simply have no insulation therefore any heat in the property travels straight out of the dormer roof rather than being retained.
Another property problem we often find is where an extension has resulted in colder areas within the property and which although not problem areas, as such, our clients have found them not pleasant areas to be present in. It is not a great outcome if you have just spent tens of thousands of pounds on a new extension that you are not happy with the new space.
The adjacent photo shows a ground floor level extension to a non traditional construction house