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Empty Homes Week – The Great British Property Scandal

Great British Property ScandalThis week sees a national campaign by charity Empty Homes and Channel 4 raising awareness of a problem dubbed ‘The Great British Property Scandal’.

According to the charity, there are over 1 million properties lying empty across the UK, whilst 2 million families are in desperate need of a suitable home. Of these properties, 350,000 of them have been empty for over 6 months.

Architect and Channel 4 present, George Clarke says, “If these properties were refurbished at the time of being made empty, the cost of doing that work would have been minimal, maybe £5 – 6000. But now they’ve been empty for so long the cost of bringing them back into use could be an awful lot more than that.”

General refurbishment works likely to be required in bringing an older property back into use will usually include redecoration and modernisation of facilities, however there will often be a requirement for specialist works such as damp proofing, timber treatment or air quality management to rid a property of mould and condensation problems.

In October 2011, the coalition Government announced that they would make £100 million of funding available to bring empty homes back into use. In November 2011, they announced a further £50 million would be used to tackle some of the worst concentrations of empty homes.

In addition to the financial and social benefit of bringing empty homes back into use, there is an environmental benefit to doing so rather than building new homes. In a report compiled by the Empty Homes Agency, it was concluded that the carbon emissions involved in renovating a property were 66% less than those that would be involved in building a new property.

propertECO was established to maximise building performance whilst minimising environmental impact. By carrying out essential maintenance such as damp proofing and timber treatments, the lifespan of a property can be significantly extended, in turn reducing the carbon needed to demolish dilapidated buildings and construct new ones in their place.

The campaign is asking supporters to report any empty homes that they know of and, at the time of writing, 92,668 people have added their name to a letter being sent to the Prime Minister urging more action to ‘help stop this senseless waste’. Our slogan ‘Building Solutions For A Sustainable Future’ epitomises what we offer and why, and we also give our full support to the campaign.