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I have worn the Rentokil shirt for 31 years, originally for seven years as a surveyor and then in various management roles. During that time I have always aimed to provide the highest level of service and best advice to provide the best and most economic solutions to our customers.
After the Great Fire of London the area now known as West End started to grow, aristocrats favoured it as it was usually upwind of the smoke drifting from the crowded City. Developed in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, it was originally built as a series of palaces, expensive Georgian, Edwardian and Victorian town houses and fashionable shops. The districts to the south, north and west of Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens were developed between the end of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815 and the late 19th century.
The area was laid out with many notable public squares (Berkeley Square, Grosvenor Square, Oxford Circus, Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus, Soho Square) and circuses, the latter being the original name for roundabouts in London. Whilst the architectural feature of the London square, originated from the front garden of a rich man’s house - Hanover Square is a good example. Continual redevelopment and refurbishment of these properties have led to hidden tunnels and unseen voids in complex structural changes to these buildings, over many years that can make rot, damp and woodworm issues more difficult to trace.
Properties of any age, style, period or size can be exposed to the risks of wood boring insects, wood rotting fungi or rising damp. These types of problems can affect the structure of the property and tend be more prevalent in older buildings (pre 20th century), or those that have been refurbished or redeveloped over time.
Fifteen per cent of London is in flood plain, protected by flood defences, but these can only protect London from fluvial (rivers overflow, due to high rainfall flowing into them) and tidal flood risk. The West End of London is still vulnerable to surface water and sewer flooding from storm and heavy rainfall events. Due to the large areas of impermeable surfacing (roads, roofs and pavements) and the legacy of Victorian drainage systems that aren’t equipped to cope with intense rainfall.
Months after flooding has occurred and the waters have retreated, damp may no longer be visible. Yet moisture levels in some timbers within a property, can remain high enough (above about 20%) for dry rot to decay the wood.
Woodworm is the every-day name for hungry larvae of wood-boring beetles. Adults lay eggs in cracks in wood and the larvae (woodworm) burrow deep into it and feed, making a maze of tunnels over several years. They will happily eat away at wooden floors, furniture and timbers and if left untreated, can seriously weakens wooden beams in a property which can lead to structural failure of the timbers.
Spotting the early signs of woodworm is important; allowing a qualified surveyor to complete a woodworm survey assessing the extent of any problem, the type of woodworm involved and recommending the most effective, targeted treatment to eliminate the pest before it can spread any further through the property.