Learn to Renovate buildings
- Buy an old home and renovate to add value
- Modernise your own home and make it more relevant to your families needs
- Update an office or industrial building to make it a better fit for purpose
Learn to understand building methods and techniques, and how to plan and manage a building renovation property - both exterior and interior.
Note that each module in the Qualification - Certificate in Building Renovation is a short course in its own right, and may be studied separately.
Renovate for a Better Interior
Looks can be deceiving. Interiors can sometimes look presentable, but still be in dire need of renovation; particularly older buildings. Modern science has allowed us to understand interiors better than ever before, and provided technological solutions to problems which may have previously been challenging to deal with.This course will develop your awareness of issues you might not have considered before; and show you ways of detecting and countering problems in buildings that you might not have though of in the past.
Determine the Quality of the Inside Environment
Trying to assess if there is an indoor air quality problem with a building can be difficult. It is often detected by a change in health upon entering the building or moving to a new home. Symptoms that can indicate a problem can include dizziness, nausea, recurring colds and sinus infections, allergies, headaches, itchy or watering eyes and asthma.
Be aware of:
- Symptoms occurring after changes to a home/building
- Symptoms that only occur within the building/home and disappear after leaving
- Symptoms that occur in the people who spend the most amount of time in the building.
If there is a persistent pattern it is advisable to contact the local health/environmental authorities to get guidelines and recommended contactors to test the air quality. Note that standards vary between countries. Professional testing companies will test the air quality for by analysing dust samples, soil, and air samples. They can test for levels of VOC (volatile organic compounds), carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, gas leaks, chlorine gas as well as testing for ultra-fine particles.
Consider the natural ventilation the home or building has and how it can be improved. Options will depend upon the building type and can range from the very simple to the more expensive solutions.
- The simplest solution is to simply open more windows. To increase cross ventilation open windows on opposite sides of the house/room. This allows stale air to be replaced with fresh air. It may be necessary to include insect screening on windows that are open regularly. Alternatives include air ducts, air vents and diffusion through walls.
- Remove the sources of the pollution where possible.
- The installation of ceiling fans will also increase ventilation around the building. This is also a cheaper way of cooling buildings in warm climates.
- Installation of a range hood above the cooking area especially for gas stoves which produce nitrogen dioxide.
- Another very effective method is an Indoor Air Purifier. These are essentially large air filters that are highly effective for people with asthma, and respiratory illnesses.
As discussed previously indoor temperature control can have a large impact on human comfort and stress levels. Consideration needs to be given to best managing indoor temperatures. The way in which this is achieved will be dependent on local climatic conditions, the existing building and aspect. Obviously there is a close relation between air quality and indoor temperature control. In colder areas where buildings are shut against the elements to retain heat, indoor air quality is much poorer.
Consideration needs to be given to insulation and materials used for insulation. Temperature will also be affected by:
- Seasonal variations
- Ceiling insulation
- Under floor insulation
- Window awnings
- Use of blinds and curtains
- Window placements
Windows and doors provide a means for letting fresh air into a room, or controlling the fluctuation of temperature. They can also be used to prevent undesirable ‘things’ from entering the inside of a building.
Doors inside a building can be used to close off sections of a building in order to regulate temperature fluctuation, air flow, etc.
Curtains and blinds provide a way of controlling light levels, regulating temperature, and to some extent regulating ventilation (i.e. air movement) inside a building. When used properly, they will keep a room cooler on hot days and warmer on cold nights. They can also be used to help optimise growing conditions for indoor plants.
Some people will also be affected more dramatically by light intensities. Keeping a room darker or lighter may not only have a psychological impact on individuals, but can also have a very real physical effect upon the health of people spending extended periods in a particular room.
Regular cleaning will remove allergens, disease organisms, and other unwanted materials from a building before they build to a level where the impact on health becomes significant. Some cleaning methods can however create more problems than they solve. It is important to be selective in choosing how to clean, not just when to clean.
As covered in previous lessons, many modern cleaning products contain undesirable chemicals. There are however safe alternatives. Dusting can stir up fine particles and cause them to remain suspended in air for long periods.
- Check for cleaning chemicals and habits that can lead to a decline in indoor air quality and chemical residues
- Dispose safely of unwanted chemicals
- Replace with non-toxic cleaning products such as vinegar and bicarbonate of soda.
Mould fungi can survive in a wide range of temperature and humidity’s. Consideration needs to be given to ventilation (air flow, extractor fans) and temperature control in mould prone areas.