Welcome to pacheco & asociados


Here you will find answers to many problems that expats may come across when embarking themselves in building or buying a place in the sun. These solutions and explanations shown here are the result of more than 25 years of experience working as an architect in Spain. These articles have been published previously in one of the best newspapers for expats in Spain, "Costa Blanca News".

 

If you have a particular problem which is not covered here, do not hesitate to send me an email and I will try to respond as soon as possible... and free of charge, of course.


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How to design the perfect kitchen. Final Part

In my previous article we looked at the different places where we could look for inspiration. We also recommended starting by defining your own personality or taste then proceeding by making coherent decisions regarding colour, layout and style of kitchen that we want to use etc.

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Which appliances consume electricity even when switched off?

We have seen electricity prices rocketing up in Spain this winter. The Spanish electric companies offered very poor excuses before a passive Spanish Government. They picked on the coldest days of the year to increase electric prices by as much as 60%.

 

So apart from installing our own electric photovoltaic panels the next thing we can do is to save electricity by any means. One way of saving is to switch off all those appliances which we have on standby.   

 

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3 proposals to make a saving when rehabilitating your home

Believe it or not banks are beginning to charge for money deposited in their banks. That also means that obtaining a loan from them is at minimum levels specially if the money is invested to improve your home.

 

The current offer on loans for building works allows comparing several products and choosing the most economical.

 

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What building works should not be made when purchasing a home to make a profit?

The rehabilitation of a used house is an option that could be up to 20% cheaper than to buy a new home with some exceptions such as structural problems or other complications which may be too complicated for the layman to undertake.

 

But what kind of reforms are good investments when buying and which are not?

 

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The impact of a swimming pool in your home.

Did you know that a pool may double the selling price of a home in Spain?

 

Reading through various websites I was struck by a remarkable fact; a simple pool can double the price of a home in Spain.

 

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How to soundproof your home for less than 1.500€

68% of Spanish households do not qualify for good quality sleep.

I am a Spaniard but I have to confess that we are a noisy lot.

 

When we go out for dinner with friends we do select the restaurant not only because of the quality of their cuisine and their prices but also depending of the sound level within the restaurant. Ok, I do confess that I have sound meter telephone app and I do measure the decibels inside and outside the restaurants every time we do visit the restaurant and take down the readings. 

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How and why efflorescence occur on facing brick wall.   (Part 1)

As we have been dealing in the past weeks with problems related to facing bricks I thought this week we could provide details on a situation that we see often occurring in ceramic facing bricks, even though that is only an aesthetic defect without major consequences for the external wall this is not always so, as we will see later.


Efflorescence’s are deposits of crystallized salts that settle on the surface of the bricks in the form of spots, and very often are of a white colour.


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How and why efflorescence occur on facing brick wall | Part 2

Las week we did analyse the effect of efflorescence on facing bricks. We discussed the different sources of damages and how this anaesthetic consequence happens.

 

So let’s recapitulate how the salts cause what some architects considers building failures.

 

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How and why efflorescence occur on facing brick wall | Final Part

Two week ago we made a description of the various types of efflorescence damages depending on the different manners that efflorescence manifest themselves. A brief description of these categories are given here as a reminder.

 

These damages some times only affect the aesthetic component of the façade, were divided into four categories as follow.

 

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Asbestos, a lethal contamination that lasts

I was surprised to find out in an article that I read the other day, that asbestos will continue producing deaths in Spain at least until 2040, according to a scientific study.

 

Asbestos or "Amianto" as it is widely known in Spain is a dangerous environmental pollutant that will continue to produce deaths until at least 2040, though already prohibited in Spain. This scientific study declares that the deceased toll will increase over the coming decades. This article points out that the deaths in Spain by asbestos will continue at least until 2040, examines the evolution of the deaths by asbestos and provides information on the prohibition of this dangerous pollutant.

 

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Has your property a building book?

No, it isn't a guide to building nor it is a glossary of Spanish construction terms. The "Libro del Edificio" (The Building Book) consists of several volumes assembled in different files, includes the main data of the building and is a useful mechanism not only for end users, but also for any architects, surveyors, developers, builders, real estate, Presidents of Communities or buildings administrators that need to carry out any action in the building.

  

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Plastic pipe or copper: Which one should I have at home?

As an architect you are examined very often by clients who frequently put our knowledge at test by asking relevant questions such as: shall we have plastic or copper piping? 


Here are the arguments for using one or another.


Both are lightweight, durable and affordable, however plastic has a lower thermal conductivity and better endures expansion cycles.


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Construction deficiencies in newly built homes

One of the most disagreeable parts of my work has to do with having to prepare technical reports on construction deficiencies and this is not only due to the fact that normally it implies poking my nose into somebody’s work, but also the grand effort that I have to make in attempting to be as impartial and objective as possible keeping into perspective the interests of my client and that of other parties, and this is not because I am a goodhearted person (that I am).

 

But more to the fact that this sort of building pathologies tend to end up in court and judges, who are dealing every single day with similar cases tend to pass sentences taken into account the actual problem and its real quantification and have a propensity to act negatively when it is clear and apparent that one of the parties is intending to take advantage of circumstances.

 

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Building maintenance. Who pays what?

Have you ever wonder if your own Owners Community is charging you a reasonable cost for maintenance and conservation?

 

The law requires all owners to contribute towards the services to maintain and preserve the building so it is habitable, safe and accessible, as well as to deal with a long list of common costs. But what services are payable by the Owners community and what are payable by each individual owner?

 

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The MOT for buildings

When we are preparing to buy an used home, aspects such as price, the location of the property and its apparent good condition are the main attributes which determine whether we opt to purchase it or not.

 

The quality of the construction of the building is often demoted to a second place, perhaps because it is not easy to recognize the actual conditions or its maintenance, state of the facade or the roof and even less if it had suffered any cracks, moisture, leaks or possible defects of construction in the past.

 

Wouldn’t be wonderful if we could be handed a log book where all the technical history of the building was recorded?

 

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Goodbye ITE. Hello IEE | Part 1

I am sure that if you are a middle age man or woman you do have periodical medical checks. Well, buildings do require to be checked by a professional too. Obviously not as often as we do but the first one should be done after 50 years of being built and that is what the law 8/2013of 26th of June on Urban Rehabilitation, Regeneration and Renovation (Ley 8/2013, de 26 de junio, de rehabilitación, regeneración y renovación urbanas) published on the 27th of June of 2013 on the Official Spanish Bulletin has established.

 

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Goodbye ITE. Hello IEE | Part 2

We were informing last week on the need to have buildings that are 50 years old or older checked and that requirements was to comply with the new law 8/2013of 26th of June of 2013 on Urban Rehabilitation, Regeneration and Renovation (Ley 8/2013, de 26 de junio, de rehabilitación, regeneración y renovación urbanas) published on the 27th of June of 2013 on the Official Spanish Bulletin.

 

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Goodbye ITE. Hello IEE. | Final Part

We were informing last couple of weeks on the need to have buildings that are 50 years old or older checked by a professional so as to comply with the new law 8/2013of 26th of June of 2013 on Urban Rehabilitation, Regeneration and Renovation (Ley 8/2013, de 26 de junio, de rehabilitación, regeneración y renovación urbanas) published on the 27th of June of 2013 on the Official Spanish Bulletin.

 

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Renewing lead piping at home

For many years, lead was used as the prime material for water installations in homes all over the world. Because of that, many of these lead pipes are still in use, which represents a real health risk and also pollutes the environment. This article highlights the importance of renewing these pipes as soon as possible, other factors that require renewing pipes (such as leaks, drips or corrosion).

 

The buildings built in recent decades include, in general, pipes made of materials that can be classified into two groups, various types of plastic (such as polyethylene, polypropylene or PVC) on one side and copper on the other. However, Spain still have in old blocks of flats or houses lead water pipes or galvanized iron. These installations must be replaced as soon as possible because it is known now that of its highly contaminating agents in the water and pose a health hazard.

 

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Tips on how to rehab a bathroom? | Part 1

Last week we were looking at the different ways to improve the space within a bathroom and this week we will concentrate on the actual steps to improve that bathroom. We will analyze the best modus operandi to obtain maximum benefits with the least expenditure.


The bathroom is probably the room less subject to reforms, despite the continuous use that is made of. In fact, it is estimated that plumbing may be in optimum conditions an average of 25 to 30 years, or even longer. But changes of owner or aesthetic reasons may precipitate a reforms, in older dwellings could even include replacing old pipes, normally lead a harmful material to health and sensitive to water pressures by others such as copper or plastics.


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Tips on how to rehab a bathroom? | Final part

Last week we ended up the article describing a rough price to rehab a complete bathroom and we suggested that if you had more than one at home you may as well do all of them at the same time, even if you have to put up with the inconveniences of not having a loo available for a couple of days, it is cheaper than rehabilitating one at the time.

 

Good planning save lots of money.

 

In any case before you jump into i,t is advisable to plan well ahead the different trades.

 

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How secure are your windows?

I thought that once we analyzed security doors last week, this week we could examine the different protection aspects for windows, as windows are more vulnerable than doors and often we have to add extra elements of security to the window itself to make them a little safer against uninvited friends.

 

In general, windows are equipped with pivoted shatters to prevent the passage of light and noise and these elements are less vulnerable to attacks by robbers than window with roller shutters, either in PVC or wood.

 

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Is it compulsory the CE mark on building elements used in our home? | Answer to reader´s question

I have read your article in the Costa Blanca News for a while. Can you advise on the following?


An issue has arisen where an owner on our community fell through his patio doors which turned out to be plain glass and not toughened or safety glass.  I am told the glass was not etched with any CE, EN number or manufactures identification.  


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How secure is your front entrance door?

I know that is not the only way in for the burglars but statistically it is the first way the robber forces himself in, so the more a resistant is your front door to an attack, the more time, noise and risk for the thief.


There are many options to choose from as there are a wide range of doors designed to make the home a safer place. Not in vain, a good reinforced door is synonymous of protection.


Types of Spanish doors.

In the market there are different types of security doors, and although it is shown that none is impassable, a good security door, could discourages our uninvited friends, because the noise that it is require to break them open, may wake up people in the house or any surrounding neighbours.


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How to inform your local thief that your home is empty

I thought that it was August the month when burglars work full time but returning back home last night, I found the police in the communal staircase with his writing pad in hand taking notes from one of my neighbours. There has been a break in.


Once the police finished with his protocol I did ask him if there would be any way to stop these breaks in, the police officer gave me a big smile and said; don't tell the thieves you are away!! 

 

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Asbestos Cancer; the least known facts

Normally I write these articles a week or two before it is published, and today 4th of February while I am writing this article I am listening to the local radio talking about the World Cancer Day and immediately remember those of us who work in the construction industry and  are been exposed to cancer through the manipulation of the many thousands of square meters of asbestos still existing throughout Spain.

 

It is estimated that, worldwide, there are about 125 million people exposed to this material in their workplace alone.

 

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Rehabilitating your home without going bust | Part 1

The crisis has stalled the housing market, but instead has revitalized the reforms sector of the industry. To have some building works, plumbing, carpentry or decoration is consolidated as the perfect alternative for those who want to change house without moving from home.

 

In the past three years, the demands for these services have increased as much as their offers, whose ads have multiplied in mailboxes, lampposts and bus stops.

 

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Rehabilitating your home without going bust | Part 2

Last week we were analysing the fact that due to the current crisis the housing market has stalled, but instead the reforms sector of the industry has revitalized.

 

To have some building works, plumbing, carpentry or decoration is consolidated as the perfect alternative for those who want to change house without moving from home. In the past three years, the demands for these services have increased as much as their offers, whose ads have multiplied in mailboxes, lampposts and bus stops.

 

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Rehabilitating your home without going bust | Final part

Last week we were analysing the fact that due to the current crisis the housing market has stalled, but instead the reforms sector of the industry has revitalized.

 

It is advisable to require any bids in writing, and the bid should be as explicit as possible with regards to quantity, quality and price and should include a description of materials and amount of labour to be used. As an example of what we are saying see below a description of a simple window replacement and its translation into English.


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How the new decree on buildings inspection in the Region of Murcia may affect you.

On March the 17th, 2015 was published in the Official Gazette of the Region of Murcia the decree No. 34/2015, of March 13th, whereby the assessment report of buildings is regulated and creates the Official Record for Assessed Buildings in Murcia, which entered into force on the day following its publication (the 18th of March, 2015).So, as to regulate these reports planned for residential buildings built such as blocks of flats i.e. doe not contemplate individual houses typology, and other similar buildings such as hotels and residences as well as the creation of an official register to file the reports.


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