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June 28, 2022

SOCOTEC provides consultancy, inspection and analytical services at UK’s largest army storage and maintenance depot

SOCOTEC’s Asbestos team recently supportedinfrastructure service support provider, Amey, with the asbestos decontamination of vehicles and assets at MOD Ashchurch, a primary vehicle storage and distribution site for armoured vehicles and the main Stored Equipment Fleet (SEF) storage and maintenance depot for the army in the UK. MOD Ashchurch was

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LGA responds to building safety measures coming into force

Responding to measures in the Building Safety Act coming into force today where many leaseholders will be legally protected from unfair bills to make their homes safe, Cllr Darren Rodwell, Local Government Association housing spokesperson, said: “The LGA has long argued that blameless leaseholders should not have to pay for

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WernerCo to reach new heights with Ladder Safety Campaign

WernerCo, the leading access equipment specialist, has unveiled a new safety campaign – Stepping up to Ladder Safety – to promote best practice when working at height. The campaign explores how to stay safe on site for both construction workers and health and safety professionals. As part of the campaign,

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Best Tips For New Landlords Before Renting Out Property

Real estate is always a solid investment when you have the money for it. Even if you don’t actively use the space, you can profit by renting it out. That’ll afford you a steady treacle of income and a good ROI in the long-term. Here’s how to get started. Decide

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Spain, an Avid Golfer’s Dream Destination

Buying a home in Spain might be the closest you’ll ever get to living in paradise. The sunny country is known for its lush mountains, stunning sea views, and spectacular beaches that range in color.  With so much enchantment and beauty, picking where to buy a house may be challenging.

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Latest Issue

BDC 317 : Jun 2024

June 28, 2022

Three Chamberlain Square secures planning permission in the £1.2billion Birmingham city centre transformation project

Paradise Birmingham, the £1.2 billion transformation project at the heart of the city, has today received its latest planning approval from Birmingham City Council. In a unanimous decision from the planning committee, permission was granted for Three Chamberlain Square, a new 10-storey, 185,000 sq ft commercial building, a key part of the second phase of the Paradise masterplan. Grounded in sustainability and with a unique ‘inside-outside’ ethos to the workplace, Three Chamberlain Square will be one of the most sustainable commercial buildings located in the city centre. It will be a first for Birmingham in terms of environmental standards, while offering a unique working setting for occupiers. In addition to incorporating a low carbon approach to materials, waste and construction, the design of Three Chamberlain Square builds in a low carbon future for its occupiers. With lots of natural light and ventilation, the building reflects the demands of the modern workplace and will remain sustainable. It is the fourth commercial building at the estate after One Chamberlain Square, Two Chamberlain Square and One Centenary Way. The residential Octagon tower is also currently under construction on the northern part of the estate, fronting Summer Row. The building will offer 200 bike spaces and dedicated changing facilities, all electric power and heating, and stairwell connections between floors, creating an agile and adaptive approach to the workplace. It will be a beautiful and inspiring building, promoting health, sustainability and wellbeing among those who will work there well into the future. With its prominent setting next to the Grade I Town Hall, Three Chamberlain Square will help create new connections in and around the civic heart of Birmingham and across the city centre. Designed by award-winning architects Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, Three Chamberlain Square is a key statement of sustainability for the city and aims to be one of the greenest commercial buildings built in the UK post-Covid. The building will improve accessibility along Paradise Street and to metro and rail connections, as well as aiding pedestrian flows between different parts of the city centre. The building is a key part of Phase Two of Paradise, which includes the almost complete One Centenary Way, plus a new 17-storey hotel on the corner of Paradise Street and Suffolk Street Queensway, and three important new public spaces, Ratcliff Square, Western Terrace and Ratcliff Passage. These new, high-quality public spaces in the southern part of the Paradise estate will provide a more fitting environment for the surrounding historic buildings, as well as create new connections through to the Westside part of the city. The new public realm, designed by Grant Associates Landscape Architects, will build on the success of the refreshed Chamberlain Square, Congreve Street and Centenary Way, which form part of Phase One of the development. Rob Groves, regional development director at Paradise development manager MEPC, said: “This planning approval is another huge vote of confidence in both the city and Paradise, and its ability to attract new jobs, skills and investment to Birmingham. A further commercial building will enable us to meet market demand for space in the city centre, in a highly-sustainable, people-centred building of the highest quality. In addition to office space, Three Chamberlain Square will bring further leisure and retail opportunities to the heart of the city, with the prospect of more top-quality operators of the like we’ve already attracted to Paradise.” Chris Taylor, Chairman of MEPC and CEO of Federated Hermes Real Estate, said: “This is a significant next step in the Paradise story. Our ambition for Paradise is to deliver one of the UK’s leading business destinations by creating leading sustainable buildings set within the very best public realm, with first class retail and leisure amenities for all those who work, live in or visit the city.“We are committed to driving forward our investment in Paradise. Three Chamberlain Square will ensure that the momentum continues apace.” Neil Rami, Chief Executive of West Midland Growth Company: “Birmingham is the UK’s primary regional investment opportunity, as reflected through Paradise and other developments across the city centre.“The planning approval for Three Chamberlain Square underlines that status and demonstrates that the city and its operators are intent on bringing new high-quality buildings, public spaces and pedestrian routes into the city. “The quality of Three Chamberlain Square and its relationship to the Town Hall is exactly the kind of development we want to see in the city centre and can’t wait to see it take shape as an integral part of the Paradise masterplan.” George Wilson, Partner at architects Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, said: “Three Chamberlain Square will be a new type of commercial building for the city, one that has sustainability and post-Covid requirements at its core. It will be a welcoming environment, with active uses on the ground floor. “There will be an abundance of natural light and ventilation, with the building design unique in its pioneering approach to reduce both embodied and operational carbon, creating a low-energy, low-carbon workplace for the future. It will be a special addition to the city, with a real sense of arrival for both visitors and the public.” Paradise Birmingham has already completed phase one of the development, with One Chamberlain Square wholly occupied by PwC, and Two Chamberlain Square home to a mix of professional and financial services firms, including DLA Pipier, Knights Plc, Mazars, Cazenove Capital, Atkins and Cubo. Dishoom, Rosa’s Thai Café and Albert’s Schloss will be joined this summer by Yorks Café, along with wine bar and Mediterranean eatery Vinoteca. At almost two million square feet, Paradise is delivering up to 10 new flagship buildings, offering offices, shops, bars, cafés, restaurants, a high-quality hotel, and Octagon, the world first 49-storey, pure octagonal residential tower, across 17 acres in the heart of the city. Paradise is being brought forward through Paradise Circus Limited Partnership (PCLP), a private-public joint venture with Birmingham City Council. The private sector funding is being managed by Federated Hermes, which has partnered with Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPP Investments)

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SOCOTEC provides consultancy, inspection and analytical services at UK’s largest army storage and maintenance depot

SOCOTEC’s Asbestos team recently supportedinfrastructure service support provider, Amey, with the asbestos decontamination of vehicles and assets at MOD Ashchurch, a primary vehicle storage and distribution site for armoured vehicles and the main Stored Equipment Fleet (SEF) storage and maintenance depot for the army in the UK. MOD Ashchurch was shut down by the HSE due to asbestos-related concerns, with a programme (known as Operation Windfirm) specifically developed to allow re-entry to the site through the decontamination of buildings, vehicles and assets and the safe return of occupants. As part of the programme, asbestos control measures under CAR 2012 needed to be agreed with the HSE and implemented throughout the site. Alongside another third party, SOCOTEC supported Amey with the decontamination work and conducted the subsequent inspection and issuing of certification in line with government guidelines. Deterioration of asbestos Ashchurch comprises a 178-acre site with numerous large asbestos cement clad and roofed sheds. Over the years, these asbestos storage sheds have decayed, leading to the contamination of vehicles and the assets stored within them. The asbestos cement rooves have also deteriorated due to a combination of weather conditions and a lack of repair. This has resulted in pieces of asbestos cement being visibly strewn across floor areas. As is common with asbestos cement rooves, an abundant coverage of moss and lichens exist. When these grow on cement sheeting, their roots will penetrate beneath the upper layers of the cement and remove moisture. This plant growth will eventually cause damage, erosion and weakness to the roof surface which, in conjunction with the weather conditions, will eventually result in moss/lichens being displaced onto adjacent surfaces such as roads, walkways and grassed areas. The plant growth activity causes the cement matrix (essential for binding and holding the asbestos fibres in place) to break down and no longer be present, with the fibres loosely adhered to the roots of the moss/lichens. When these roots fall off the rooves, they leave behind an unsealed surface with loose asbestos fibres that can easily be displaced and moved across the site. Moreover, severe weather conditions meant that contamination was being walked across the site or tracked on vehicles due to the large gull colony of birds using the material for nesting. Identifying locations SOCOTEC’s Asbestos team carried out a targeted survey over a three-month period to determine the extent of the contamination at MOD Ashchurch. Over 6,000 samples were taken, 75% of which returned positive results for asbestos. Key areas where asbestos was found included: Loose debris to rooves/guttering/downpipes A contaminated drainage system Debris to grassed areas (in some cases, legacy contamination from when rooves had been replaced historically) Extensive debris and contamination to vehicles, bridging and associated equipment Contamination within the ground. Control measures Working collaboratively alongside third parties, SOCOTEC contributed to a programme involving site asbestos maintenance and designated decontamination hubs. Controls to ensure the safe, continued operation of the site included: HEPA adapted road sweepers to carry out scheduled housekeeping, protecting assets and personnel in the occupied buildings. Sweeper waste sampling results were reported back to the army, Amey and other site stakeholders on a weekly basis to act as early warnings for spikes, general high readings and seasonal/annual variations. All personnel were given asbestos awareness training, which was maintained annually Fencing to the entire perimeter of the site was covered with fine netting, preventing the spread of any asbestos from site A controlled wheel wash was installed at the exit to the site during the early phase of the work until contamination issues were brought under control Routine housekeeping within occupied buildings was carried out using type H vacuum cleaners to capture any cross contamination from external areas Control of site maintenance activities, such as grass cutting and disposal of waste Alongside site maintenance, high and low volume air monitoring took place on the site perimeter, in occupied buildings, around the site, on personnel and when project activities were undertaken To determine if airborne asbestos was present, conventional analytical methods were complemented by the use of Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) with fibre identification by Energy Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy (EDXS) Enhanced safe systems of work and associated training for all staff and visitors to site. Two hubs were specifically set up in order to decontaminate vehicles, bridging and equipment. All vehicles and assets underwent a proof of concept to determine the safest decontamination method, ascertain the appropriately sized team for the asset and the average time taken. This process formed part of the risk assessment and method statements, which were signed by all stakeholders and used for personnel to sign onto, demonstrating a full understanding of the agreed processes. Air monitoring and inspection Of the 50,000 air tests carried out, 45,000 were static samples and 5,000 were personal air tests. All but a handful were less than the clearance limit, demonstrating tight controls and compliance with working practices throughout the duration of the project. SOCOTEC’s Asbestos team supported the Operation Windfirm programme, with all decontaminated items inspected and a certification of cleanliness produced. This included issue, TacCIS, EBS and ES Mat items, vehicles, bridging assets, as well as workshop equipment and tools. After decontamination, the vehicles and assets either went for external storage, return to unit, disposal, destruction, or remained on site. Innovation and collaboration Due to the critical nature and size of the project at Ashchurch, bespoke innovations were required to control the spread of asbestos and keep all personnel and the community safe. The two road sweepers were customised with HEPA filters to prevent the spread of airborne asbestos fibres, as a traditional filter would not have controlled the fibres. Specialist modified air monitoring pumps were commissioned, and long-life batteries were fitted to allow over eight hours of continuous monitoring at 16 litres/minute. This allowed levels of down to 0.0002 fibres/ml to be detected, well below regular monitoring levels and aligned with HSE research. Close collaboration and effective communication between stakeholders was of paramount importance, with weekly meetings and open discussions

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LGA responds to building safety measures coming into force

Responding to measures in the Building Safety Act coming into force today where many leaseholders will be legally protected from unfair bills to make their homes safe, Cllr Darren Rodwell, Local Government Association housing spokesperson, said: “The LGA has long argued that blameless leaseholders should not have to pay for fire safety defects resulting from 20 years of regulatory failure and industry malpractice. We are pleased the Government has listened, although we remain concerned that the measures announced today will be insufficient to protect all leaseholders who own the freeholds of their blocks. “Government is right to recognise that the regulatory system was inadequate and operating poorly before the Grenfell Tower fire. It now needs to take responsibility for that failure by ensuring social housing tenants have the same protection that it has offered homeowners. “If councils and housing associations are not protected from the cost of fixing dangerous cladding and other fire safety defects those costs will inevitably fall on rent-payers. The Government must also exempt social housing from the forthcoming levy.”

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REHAU marks decade of the only UK-made pre-insulated pipe amid growing renewable heat market

Ten years since the start of UK production of REHAU’s RAUVITHERM pipe, the business is celebrating the market’s only UK-manufactured pre-insulated PE-Xa pipe to feed a growth in demand across renewable heat projects. Ever since its launch, RAUVITHERM has proven popular due to its combination of flexibility and low heat losses – both particularly well-suited to district heating, biomass, biogas and heat pump applications. The pipe is manufactured in REHAU’s Plant in Blaenau Ffestiniog, North Wales, predominantly for the UK market since 2012. Employees from the UK head office and local politicians recently visited the factory to celebrate the 10 years of producing it in the UK, as well as discussing its vast potential in the future of renewable heat. Over the years, RAUVITHERM has been installed on a huge range of high-profile projects such as football club training grounds, National Trust and Grade 1 listed country manors, farm-based anaerobic digestion systems, schools, zoos and district heating networks for luxury lodge developments. More recently REHAU has seen growth in the number of individual houses which have used RAUVITHERM to connect air source heat pumps that are located away from the property. According to REHAU, this could be for a variety of reasons – heat pumps need good air flow to work effectively, and noise can also be an issue in some cases, so situating them on the side of the property is not always feasible. Steve Richmond, Head of Marketing and Technical at REHAU Building Solutions says: “We always knew RAUVITHERM was a great product with great potential, and it has gone from strength to strength over the years. “It was great to get together with colleagues to recently celebrate this while saying thank you for the factory’s support over this period. For example, we know the availability of pre-insulated pipe will be key to covering all bases in the Government’s heat pump rollout and enabling the wider success of the Boiler Upgrade Scheme.” RAUVITHERM was initially launched in Germany in 2010, with REHAU then making the decision to invest in UK manufacturing in 2011, ahead of opening its first UK-based production line in 2012. The company held an event with customers, local politicians, government officials and key industry stakeholders in 2012 to celebrate the launch. Steve adds: “Having a locally manufactured pre-insulated pipe gives both us and our customers an estimated 29% reduction in CO2 versus importing from Germany. This is still the only UK-made pre-insulated PE-Xa pipe and helped us become the market leader for polymer district heating pipe in the UK. “Maintaining a resilient supply chain is critical to any business, so having local production where we prioritise certain pipe sizes during busy periods has really helped us grow as a company.” For more information on RAUVITHERM, click here.

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New £3.5m fund designed to accelerate uptake of Clean Air as a Service in schools before Autumn term

Schools and colleges struggling to cope with the twin challenges of staff and pupil safety and energy efficiency can now finance ‘Clean Air as a Service’ through a new £3.5 million fund established by leading energy efficiency firm, Energys Group. Repayment costs are a little as 5p / per day per pupil on a 5-year agreement.  The fund, which ‘goes live’ today (27th June 2022) is designed to be off-balance sheet; simple to administrate and apply for; and presents no commercial risk to successful applicants. Any educational establishment – local authority maintained, academy, or faith school – is eligible to apply. Independent schools are also eligible and welcome to apply. Energys Group is already well-known for its installations of energy efficient retrofit technologies including LED lighting in over 1000 schools and colleges. The Company believes its new Clean Air as a Service (CAaaS) model and dedicated £3.5m fund, will act as a much-needed driver for safer, more energy efficient schools, in line with a school’s duty of care to provide a safe environment. Well-managed indoor air quality delivers a wide range of benefits including: lower rates of sickness and absenteeism higher levels of productivity and cognition, leading to better results peace of mind to staff, pupils and other building users.  Energys Group’s CAasS finance model is very similar to that used in other sectors where the upfront cost of investment in hardware is prohibitive to uptake. For a pre-agreed monthly ‘packaged fee’, a school can benefit from Energy Group’s Goji Air indoor air management technology, any ongoing maintenance and spares, plus warrantees. Energys Group calculates that, on average, the cost of monthly payment will be 5p per child, per day – averaging at £17/per month over a 5-year agreement.  ‘Paradigm shift’ “The Covid-19 Pandemic has led to a paradigm shift in attitudes towards indoor air quality,” says Kevin Cox, CEO at Energys Group. “Last Autumn, we saw two things happening in the school’s market. Our customers were already struggling to cope with the rising cost of energy in a volatile market, whist Covid safety concerns led to national guidance that ‘open windows’ meant ‘safer spaces’. Of course, the truth is, open windows do not necessarily result in ‘safer environments’. Plus, of course, it creates a massive additional demand for space heating – and this is something most schools and colleges can ill afford,” he says.   The company says this combination of factors and challenges has resulted in significant interest from schools and colleges in new approaches to clean air management. However, the recent and rapid rise in energy prices means many schools are simply unable to afford to invest in the available technologies. The new CAaaS model offers an easy ‘win-win’ route to safer, cleaner air – and a more sustainable approach to heating-related energy in school buildings.  Goji Air technology  Energys Group offers best-in-class technologies as part of its technology portfolio. Its patented technology, sanitises and protects like no other air purifier on the market. It is trusted by a multitude of businesses and facilities around the world including hospitals, schools, transport operators, wellness clinics, residential care homes and in the hospitality industry. Goji Air is also the only medical grade air purification system with NCCO Technology, proven, in laboratory conditions, to minimise the transmission of airborne viruses like seasonal flu and Covid-19 by neutralising such viruses with 99.95% efficiency. Next steps  Schools and colleges interested in applying for its £3.5m fund for Clean Air as a Service are urged to act quickly – as funds will be released on a first-come-first-served basis; and demand is expected to be high. The first stage in the process is to register with Energys Group to book FREE No-obligation Trial with a Goji Air Unit. To do so, schools can contact Energys Group on +44 (0)1403 786212 or find via the web.

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WernerCo to reach new heights with Ladder Safety Campaign

WernerCo, the leading access equipment specialist, has unveiled a new safety campaign – Stepping up to Ladder Safety – to promote best practice when working at height. The campaign explores how to stay safe on site for both construction workers and health and safety professionals. As part of the campaign, WernerCo has created a series of guides covering topics such as how to use equipment safely as well as offering practical training courses. To launch the campaign, WernerCo has recently carried out research amongst professionals and non-professionals to determine their work at height practices. The research revealed that when purchasing access equipment, stability and safety are the most important factors when choosing equipment for professionals, secondary to price and value. WernerCo has also recently become a Gold Supporter of the No Falls Foundation, a charity dedicated to working at height and height safety. The charity has three objectives: raising awareness of the risks associated with working at height; undertaking research into the causes; and providing guidance and support for those affected by a fall. Justin White, Managing Director for WernerCo UK, commented: “Year on year falls from height remain the leading cause of workplace fatalities and we continually see accidents in the home due to the incorrect use of work at height equipment. The research we have carried out for Stepping Up to Ladder Safety shows that tradesmen want to prioritise their safety and as manufacturers we have a duty to advise best practice when using access equipment. “Our research revealed that 48% of people worry about safety when working at height, that is why we created a series of best practice guides to help users feel more confident when using access equipment.  By launching Stepping up to Ladder Safety we hope to encourage users to think about whether they are using the right tools for the job and how they can safely use their equipment to prevent accidents occurring.” The campaign includes a coordinated online and onsite approach with WernerCo offering training to professionals and customers for the use of ladders and towers, covering Do’s and Don’ts for ladder users and how to inspect ladders correctly. WernerCo has also recently appointed a specialist Training Manager, Trevor Rabson, who specialises in work at height safety and provides a wide range of on-site training to customers and end users across the country. Justin added: “We have some really exciting plans in place to bolster the work we’ve already done to help reduce accidents at home and in the workplace. We pride ourselves on providing safe work at height equipment that goes through rigorous testing and meets all the relevant safety standards and now we want to go that step further and support people when using our equipment.” To view WernerCo’s Ladder Safety Guides please visit www.wernerco.com/uk/ladder-safety To find out more information on the range of access solutions and training available from WernerCo please visit www.wernerco.co.uk

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Best Tips For New Landlords Before Renting Out Property

Real estate is always a solid investment when you have the money for it. Even if you don’t actively use the space, you can profit by renting it out. That’ll afford you a steady treacle of income and a good ROI in the long-term. Here’s how to get started. Decide on your target audience As a new landlord, resist the temptation of advertising your property everywhere and anywhere. It might seem a little counterintuitive, but you’re more likely to succeed if you filter a little. First, consider who you want to live in your house or apartment. Put together a prototype tenant profile, as it were. Are you okay with smokers? Singles, couples, or groups? Children or no children? How about pets? Figure out the yes’s and no’s. Once you have an idea of what kind of people you’re looking for, figure out how to reach them. See who is moving out of the neighborhood soon and who will come in to replace them. Ask around to learn what makes that particular area attractive to tenants. When you understand the flow of tenants, you’ll have a pretty good idea of where to focus your advertising efforts and find the best people for your property. Establish an appropriate price This is always a little tricky, but there are a few key factors to consider. First, get some insight into the neighborhood real estate market. Learn the height of rent of the other properties in the area and calculate the average range. You might also discreetly inquire with the tenants if they think the prices are fair. Next, determine the baseline value of your property (by square foot). Then add the value of all the time, money, and effort you put into design, renovations, repairs, security, and miscellaneous amenities. Keep in mind that you have to adjust to the market. If your real estate’s total value ends up significantly higher, you’ll need to compromise. Try to find a middle ground between your investment costs and the overall prices in the area. Set up in the right state If you have any flexibility with where to locate the property you want to rent out, you should take time to make a careful selection. Take a page from the book of professional real estate investors. They aim for property in particular states to maximize their ROI and bring in profit on a regular basis. Beginner investors and “regular” homeowners looking to lease out should do the same. For example, Texas consistently rates highly on lists of states for property rent and purchase. Some of its most attractive locales include Brownsville apartments for rent  as well as homes in Midland. Texas is legally friendly to investors as well as offering good advantages to landlords in general. In fact, 2020 data cites it as the second best state to rent in, after California. Take quality pictures People like to judge the book by the cover no matter what anybody says. That’s why you should take high-quality photos for your ads. Take them yourself if you’re confident in your skill and equipment. Otherwise, hire a professional photographer. Stage the photos strategically to show off the best aspects of the property. Make them look bright and natural. Avoid taking pictures in artificial lighting if you can; daylight will almost always produce more attractive results. Remember that these photos will be the first impression anyone gets of your property. Advertise on the right platforms Once you’ve decided on your location, price range, and ideal type of tenant, you’ll need to put together a rental listing and post it online. You can put it onto dedicated real estate rental sites or your own social media. It would probably be best if you did both. First, find out which websites are the most popular for finding houses or apartments in the area in which you want to rent out. Start by searching for something along the lines of “[property type] for rent in [location]”. Take a detailed look at the few top results. Aim to advertise on the most popular sites to expose your ad to the most home-hunters. However, if you notice a website doesn’t feature many ads for your type of property, forgo it even if it’s popular. For example, if you’re renting out a summer house but the site is mostly about apartments, you can expect people who are looking for summer houses to overlook that particular platform. Renting out a piece of property is a potentially great long-term financial project. Just avoid the common pitfalls, like getting bad tenants or misgauging your rates. Advertise in the right places with quality photos and sensible numbers, and you can enjoy the fruits of being a landlord for many profitable years.

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5 Ways to Ensure Sustainable Living Standards for Residents in a Building

When you think about sustainable living, you probably imagine the benefits of going green, like sticking to a zero-waste lifestyle or ditching the car for public transportation. However, did you know that your home plays an equally important role in preserving the environment? There are many ways to ensure that your building is environmentally safe and livable for years to come. As a landlord, it is your responsibility to maintain certain standards in every apartment, townhouse, or single-family home. So whether you are renting out one building or an entire complex, here are a few ways to keep your residents – and the planet – safe and green. #1 Reduce Indoor Air Pollution Indoor air pollution is a serious health problem. The EPA – Environmental Protection Agency – estimates that indoor air pollutants are at least one-fourth as prevalent as outdoor pollutants and are present in every home, school, and workplace. Indoor air pollution can come from many sources. These include radon gas seeping out of the foundation, mold and dust mites found in carpets and upholstered furniture, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted by paints or cleaning products. Fortunately, as a building owner or manager, you can prevent indoor air pollution or at least reduce it to some extent.  Use non-toxic materials whenever possible when making repairs or redecorating areas of the building. This includes all the paints used for painting walls or ceilings, flooring materials, adhesives like contact cement, etc. Avoiding the use of toxic chemicals is a sure-to-succeed way to reducing indoor air pollution. #2 Ensure Proper Ventilation Proper ventilation is an integral part of the HVAC system. It helps clean the air in a building and avoid adverse health effects from exposure to contaminants such as mold, pollen, and dust mites. A properly designed ventilation system should provide enough outdoor air so that it can be delivered uniformly throughout all occupied spaces in your building.  In addition to reducing contaminants, adequate ventilation also lowers humidity levels in your building which reduces energy consumption by increasing the efficiency of cooling equipment. #3 Look for Pesticides and Toxins in Drinking Water Toxins can enter our drinking water, which comes from two sources – surface water and groundwater.  Surface water includes lakes, rivers, and streams. Groundwater, on the other hand, is found beneath the surface of soil or rock. Contamination can occur at any point along these routes. These include industrial runoff entering a river and pesticides seeping into the soil from farms miles away from your home. How do you know if there are contaminants in your home’s drinking water?  The easiest way to find out is by requesting an annual test kit from your municipality (or state). Otherwise, pay attention to any signs that suggest something is wrong with your tap. These signs include stains on fixtures, discoloration in faucets/taps, and foul odors coming out of taps when turned on. You can also take legal action if you feel a nearby industry or business is affecting a public water supply. The success of the Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit shows how willing the US government is at the moment to ensure safe and sustainable living conditions for its citizens. Thus, wherever necessary, taking legal action is always an option. #4 Ensure Sufficient Natural Lighting Natural lighting is vital for both your health and the environment. Natural lighting has been proven to increase productivity, reduce stress, and improve mood. That is why it is crucial to make sure that your building has plenty of natural light.  You can achieve this by opening up windows or adding skylights to the ceiling. If you do not have enough natural light in your home, install solar panels on the roof that will generate enough electricity for most appliances (including lighting needs). Much of this planning should be done before the construction of your building. Otherwise, it becomes nearly impossible to incorporate all these changes down the line. #5 Be Careful with Lead paint Lead paint is a common health hazard, especially for children. It is a concern in older buildings and may be present in apartments, homes, schools, and workplaces. For people with young children or those who are pregnant, it is best to avoid living in an apartment that was built before 1978. That was when lead was banned from being used as an ingredient in paints. Make sure to test your home for lead before letting tenants in. You can also test the house yourself by taking samples of dust from floors with a vacuum cleaner bag. If there is lead on these surfaces, it will show up when you shake out the bag outside or on a newspaper inside the house. Sustainable living in an urban setting is difficult to ensure. However, keeping these points in mind will surely help you in this regard.

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Spain, an Avid Golfer’s Dream Destination

Buying a home in Spain might be the closest you’ll ever get to living in paradise. The sunny country is known for its lush mountains, stunning sea views, and spectacular beaches that range in color.  With so much enchantment and beauty, picking where to buy a house may be challenging. The closeness to magnificent golf communities is one factor that most avid golfers consider when buying Spanish properties for sale. Nueva Andalucia is one of the first towns that top the minds of potential homeowners owing to its numerous lovely golf communities. As more people become aware of the multiple advantages of owning real estate in a golf community, it is swiftly becoming a global phenomenon. Continue reading below for the top 3 reasons for buying Spanish properties for sale. 1. Proximity to the Course For golf enthusiasts, the proximity to the course is merely the beginning of the advantages. Many golf communities provide homeowners with reduced club prices, extended tee times, and access to the course’s other amenities. Lessons with golf experts, cart rentals, and discounts at the clubhouse’s pro shop are all possible features. 2. Sign of Prestige The exclusivity of a golf course property confers status on individuals who possess real estate on the course. While not all homeowners care about how others perceive them, some purchasers do try to project a sense of affluence and accomplishment. Owning real estate in a golf community might contribute to that image. These communities’ homes are often huge and luxurious in appearance. 3. Strengthening of Friendships You will almost certainly make new acquaintances as a result of the community participation promoted throughout golf course communities. Living in a golf community means being surrounded by others who share at least one of your common hobbies. Golf communities also lessen the likelihood that your neighbor may be a nuisance as you and your neighbors in a golf community are likely to share your goal for a high-quality property in a safe area.

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