At The Building Maintenance Company we always recommend that you complete regular maintenance checks and in turn carry out the required maintenance.

Routine, ongoing and preventative maintenance is essential in making sure your property is in a good state of repair and adopting these practices can avoid expensive remedial repairs.

We have produced this blog post using Aviva Risk Management advice to help you understand some of the aspects of external property maintenance and things that you really should be considering.

External Property Maintenance Checklist


Roofs need to be inspected at least twice a year or following particularly stormy weather – debris on the ground from broken slates and tiles indicates that there is a problem. In some cases roofs can be inspected using binoculars or vantage points from nearby higher buildings.

If safe to do so, additional inspection through the loft access may show daylight or water penetration which is not always apparent from external inspection.

Repair or replace:

  • Missing, slipped or broken slates or tiles
  • Damaged or rusty cladding
  • Cracked flat roof coverings. A bitumen roofing felt may need to be completely renewed after 10 years.
  • Leaking or damaged roof lights
  • Damaged flashing
  • Gaps and missing mortar between ridge tiles

In addition moss, which retains damp, needs to be removed since it can cause slate to delaminate and can gradually erode all metals particularly lead work – a seasonal brushing down is often all that is required to prevent excessive build up.

Where puddles occur on flat roofing advice should be sought from a qualified building surveyor.


Apart from cleaning twice yearly repair or replace:

  • Damaged flashing
  • Damaged mortar

Lightning Conductors

Any lightning conductor systems need to be checked and maintained every 14/15 months by a suitably qualified and experienced person to ensure that they are undamaged, continue to conform to the relevant standards and provide the protection for which they were designed.


Walls need to be checked annually not only for damage but also for evidence of dampness which may highlight another problem such as rising damp or damaged/blocked gutters or downspouts

Damaged / cracked bricks may be a sign of subsidence or settlement. Cracks may require monthly monitoring, particularly if diagonal. When in doubt seek specialist advice.

Unless designed otherwise external ground levels should be at least 150mm or two bricks below internal floor levels so as not to affect any damp proofing.

Climbing plants should be avoided or strictly controlled since they can hide problems, cause damage to the building fabric and block vents or gutters.

Clean, repair or replace:

  • Air bricks
  • Damaged or eroded mortar
  • Damaged or rusty cladding

Rainwater Removal – Gutters, Gulleys, Downspouts and Drains

Blocked or damaged rainwater removal systems will allow damage to the building fabric or water ingress. The underground drainage system also needs to effectively remove water away from the property and not become blocked with leaves, silt, vegetation or grease.

Oil or grease should never be poured directly in to drains – kitchens need to have drainage systems fitted with grease traps or interceptors which are regularly cleaned and maintained.

Drainage systems need to be checked regularly and cleaned at least annually – more regularly when necessary e.g. when close to trees. The best time to inspect is during or straight after heavy rain as this will enable you to more easily identify any problem areas. A small hand held mirror can aid inspection behind rainwater pipes as cracks in old cast iron or aluminium sometimes occur there and might not be noticed.

Clean, repair or replace:

  • Gutters. Valley and parapet types requiring especially close and regular attention
  • Downspouts. Internal downspouts in particular need to have adequate protection against mechanic damage and remain undamaged
  • The fixings for downspouts and gutters
  • Drains
  • Manholes. Also keep readily accessible
  • Ground gutters, surface channels

It can be beneficial to fit proprietary plastic leaf guards to gutters and above downspouts. Also, regular painting of cast iron gutters and downspouts is important to prevent rust.

External Joinery

An annual inspection of the condition of timberwork to be undertaken which, unless maintained, will deteriorate, rot and allow water ingress. Redecoration should be expected every 3 – 5 years depending on the location.

Check for cracking, rot and peeling paintwork.
Repair, renovate, replace as necessary:

  • Windows. Also examine any putty, and look for missing sealants around the frame.
  •  Doors, sills and frames. Also examine any putty, and look for missing sealants around the frame.
  •  Fascias, bargeboards etc


Trees can cause building movement and damage by removing moisture from the ground and conversely if removed when mature by allowing soils to expand. In addition tree roots notoriously invade underground drainage pipes causing blockages and damage.

Not only is careful planting required, depending on the variety, but also regular pruning by a competent person – tree preservation orders should be considered before any work commences.

This advice was taken from the Aviva Insurance Advice and can be found at: where you will also find an external property maintenance checklist.

If you would like to discuss external property maintenance with one of our experts give us a call on 0845 601 3684 or email for more information.