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 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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Security measures on balconies and terraces. (Part 1)

How many times have we heard of small kids falling through balconies or terraces? We have a Spanish saying, "accidents never occur.... until they do".


Terraces, balconies, attics and roofs terraces are greatly used in this part of the world, especially in urbanizations and properties around the Costa, because their design are mostly orientated for people to enjoy sunbathing on them. To enjoy these places without problems, it is essential to attend a series of recommendations, especially if there are children around the house or even if they visit us occasionally.


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Security measures on balconies and terraces. (Final Part)

In my last article we were examining different aspects of security on terraces and balconies taking special care on the safety features if there were children around. This week however, we will look at other elements that it may pass inadvertently but it could certainly be dangerous.

 

Let us take for instance the placement of those popular inflatable swimming pools. Some years ago the models available were few and usually used for toddlers. Now days I have seen swimming pools capable of sustaining many tones of water, think that 1 cubic metre is approximately 1 tone, so you can calculate yourself the weight of these pools.

 

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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 good hearted 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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Prefabricated houses: advantages and disadvantages (Part 1)

Nowadays there are many firms with glossy catalogues on prefab houses boasting that once they are bought they are ready to move in and prices are more affordable than those of a conventional home. How true are these statements?

 

Nowadays there are many firms with glossy catalogues on prefab houses boasting that once they are bought they are ready to move in and prices are more affordable than those of a conventional home. How true are these statements?


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Prefabricated houses: advantages and disadvantages (Final Part)

In my last article I did make a long list of the advantages of prefab houses, well now is the time to see the other side of the coin so that you can make a balance decision in case you want to proceed forward and build yourself one.

 

You can read here, the previous post:

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A decent night sleep. A practical guide to noise insulation (Final part). 

Noise Insulation
Noise Insulation

There is a before and after regarding sound insulation in Spain and the date was September of 2009. Any building which building licence was obtained after that date must comply with very strict rules on sound insulation.


The “Código Técnico de la Edificación” the counterpart of the British Building Regulation states that the protection against noise generated in the same unit of use i.e. adjacent rooms in the same home unit:The global index of noise reduction, in, Ra, shall be for partition walls not less than 33 dBA for airborne noise, DnTA., 


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Epoxy floor finish for home interiors? | Part 1

Now days some people are daring to use a continuous floor finish such as epoxy based finish for the interior of a home and not just on the garage flooring. I have seen it used in fashionable restaurants in Madrid and I don`t see any reason why it shouldn`t be used as an elegant floor finish in dwellings.

 

If you select the right colours and shininess of the epoxy coating, it can look spectacular as there are no joints and the furniture reflection on the floor can look awesome.

 

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Epoxy floor finish for home interiors | Final part

On my last article on epoxy floor finish we ended by preparing the floor before an epoxy was applied. This week we continue by first selecting the type of epoxy to apply. Epoxy floor paints are tough resins that come in two separate parts that you mix together just before you apply them. You can divide them roughly into three types: 100 percent solids, solvent based and water based.


The 100 percent solid type is almost pure epoxy; it doesn't contain solvents that evaporate. These products are expensive and difficult to handle because they harden so rapidly.


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All you need to know about spanish brickwork

There are important differences between Spanish brickwork and its British counterpart. Mostly due to the usage provided in each country.

 

In the UK most buildings are constructed using load bearing walls, while here in Spain brick walls are used as infill panels and rarely as load bearing. Most existing load bearing brick walls buildings in Spain are from last century. Why is this? The answer is “earth quakes”.

 

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Soundproofing vertical partition walls | Final part

I must confess that when I confront myself every week to a blank screen and get ready to write my next article for CBN, I see the vertical line flashing on and off staring at me and saying “Well I am ready, what about you?”

 

I normally nod my head and reply “Yes just give me a minute” and I star wondering what subject is sufficiently interesting for the majority of readers, I select the subject, perform a bit of research, carry out a bit of hard work and voilâ the article is completed.

 

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Soundproofing vertical partition walls | Part 1

Noise is one of the causes which lead to a vast number of court cases here in Spain, specially to noise transmitted from one property to another. Noise between rooms within a home is better tolerated than noise produced by the neighbour.


A building must meet a number of regulations and sound insulation is one of them. One of the quality indicators, which society is becoming increasingly aware of, is acoustic comfort.


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All you need to know about thermal insulation in Spain | Final part

 

Following up my article published on the 9th of September I would like perhaps to continue with an example of how to introduce thermal insulation in a rehab job complying with the new Código Técnico de la Edificación (CTE) of 2007 New Spanish Building Regulations.

 

Once you have decided to carry out a rehabilitation job, if you are not absolutely certain about what you are doing, the best advice is to contact a professional and insist that his/her solution should comply with the Código Técnico de la Edificación (CTE).

  

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All you need to know about thermal insulation in Spain (Part1)

Having gone through another month of August in Spain I am sure that many readers may have wondered if there are ways of reducing the heat impact in their houses or any method to drop their electricity bill on air conditioning.

 

Real depredators on energy. Houses can be real depredator on energy; the problem is aggravated if the house in question is built before the 197’0s. I can imagine the temperature inside an old apartment without any insulation whatsoever in let say the centre of Murcia at 3.00pm in mid of August and could easily reach the 40ºC or 104º Fahrenheit.

 

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Let's leave in peace (with proper sound insulation)

I sadly agree with a declaration made by the magazine “Ciudadano” when it claimed that Spain is the second noisiest countries in the world after Japan, referring to a study made by the World Health Organisation.


“Up to nine million in the Spanish population are exposed to levels of noise that exceed the tolerance limit of 65 dB set by WHO. This means that one out of four Spaniards are exposed to excessive noise levels. In Europe, approximately 20% of the population (80 million) suffer from intolerable noise exposure.


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How much space do I require for a bathroom?

During the first years of practising architecture, one common mistake most architects make is to reduce the space of bathrooms to a limit where it is almost a torture for the user.

 

Clients tend to commence asking for luxury spaces everywhere but when bid prices from the contractor start coming in, an immediate reduction of areas is asked for and the bathrooms usually come worst off.


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Cancer and construction materials | Final part

Last week we were looking into how to achieve a healthier environment, and we provided some recommendations which included important aspects such as ventilation, type of water consumed, and toxic building materials, we even added, some information on devices that generate electromagnetic waves for good measure.


We analysed the malignant gas radon, if found inside our home and also the disturbing information on electromagnetic fields although there were no conclusive evidences on this side.


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Cancer and construction materials | Part 1

It is estimated that the 19% of all cases of cancer are due to environmental factors.


Cancer is the second leading cause of death worldwide and still climbing. After the numerous reasons that cause their development, it is estimated that about a 19% of cases are due to environmental factors. Environmental pollution and the work environment can be often, the focus of the problem, nevertheless home is not a risk-free zone.


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Do we need a lightning conductor in our building?

People die. That is an axiom. But do you know the odds of dying of say a heart disease? Well, pretty high really, is 1 in 5. Of cancer? 1 in 7. Of an accidental injury 1 in 36. Air travel accident? 1 in 20.000. A lightning strike.....? 1 in 83.930. Very hide indeed but the situation changes when dealing with houses. I have found that 1 out of 200 houses will be struck by a lightning every year. So is no joke to find out if your house needs to be protected by a lightning conductor or not.


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Drones and their use in architecture

I have just returned from a short holiday in USA and was greatly impressed by the widely used of drones in the private sector. It might be that I was on the lookout for them but they seemed to be available almost anywhere. I think that it use in architecture could be invaluable specially in building and land surveys, but let us examine what they are and its uses.


Drones, or UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) are flying aircraft without a crew. Currently there are a variety of shapes, sizes and features according to the use for which they are intended.


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Beware of the acoustic virus!

I have to admit it. We are a noisy country. We don`t talk, we shout, and that does not stop there, almost every activity Spaniards do or carry out, produces more noise than our European counter parts. This is one of the most fastidious idiosyncrasies of the Spanish people and we architects have to deal to a great extent with this predicament.


From personal observations I also discover that noise and noisiness can contaminate individuals as in my favourite series of "The Walking Dead".


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10 architectural ideas that will change our lives | Part 1

I was reading the other day a very interesting article. Very clever architects from around the world came together with the idea of proclaiming ideas that will change the future of architecture and thereof, our lives. I wanted to share such dignified initiative with the intention of provoking you to look into the future and imagine a new architecture with such characteristics.


The first idea that struck me most profoundly was that:


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10 architectural ideas that will change our lives | Final part

As a follow up from last week article on the 10 architectural ideas that will change our lives the one that struck me as the most prominent is that the walls of design will crumble!!

 

The walls of design will crumble.

As every new working architectural idea becomes connected through digital data with other professionals over the next five years, we'll see a crumbling of the walls between graphic designers, technologists, interfaces designers, and so on. In fact it is happening now, in our studio we spend more time talking to the software developer than to the architectural engineer.

 

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Is your home earthquake proof? | Final part

Is it obligatory to apply the Spanish Seismic Norm (NCSR-02) to all new construction and buildings which are rehab or extended.


The architect may under his own responsibility apply other seismic criteria on his design, but the minimum standard shall be that of the Norm. In other words all new buildings or major reform projects must take into account the (NCSR-02) Seismic Norm as a minimum benchmark.


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