Surveys That Are Worth Getting Before a Self-Build or Renovation Project

The process of building your new home starts long before you lay the foundations. One of the most important considerations to make is whether or not the land that you’re planning to build your new property on is suitable for your construction project. When planning the build of your own home, there are many different surveys that might be worth getting in order to ensure that you’re protected against future issues with the property and to make sure that everything you do is in line with the laws and legislation that surround protected tree and wildlife species in the UK.

When building your own property on a plot of land, you will need to consider any protected tree species, or wildlife species such as bats and badgers that might be present and how you are going to ensure that their natural habitat is protected throughout and after the construction process.

different surveys when building a new home

Biodiversity Net Gain

Part of getting various surveys carried out when building your own property is due to biodiversity net gain. This is a concept where the state of biodiversity of an area is improved rather than damaged when land development projects are complete. It is worth having a biodiversity net gain consultant as part of your project to ensure that the land is preserved as much as possible, natural habitats are retained, and biodiversity loss is prevented. Specialist consultants can provide you with more information on the biodiversity of the area and recommend specific surveys that are worth having carried out in order to preserve it.

Tree Survey

If there are various trees located in the area you are planning on building your home, then it’s worth having a tree survey. This might be a legal requirement if you know or suspect that there are protected tree species in the area. Along with this, it can also help you prevent any issues that might arise from building your property too close to trees, which can cause problems like subsidence when the roots take moisture from the soil around the property foundation. A tree surveyor or arborist is the best professional to conduct a thorough tree survey, which will provide you with more detailed information about the trees in the area and how they will be taken into consideration when building your new home.

trees-sustainability

Badger Survey

Badgers and their setts are a protected species by law in the UK. If you are building on land where there may be badgers present, or any other type of protected wildlife, then you should have a thorough survey carried out to find out more about where the badgers are and how you should proceed with the building plans to ensure that they remain protected throughout. It’s important to know how your project might impact badgers and other wildlife in the area, what measures you can take to ensure that local wildlife is protected and undisturbed throughout the process, and more. This will help you avoid problems down the line and the risk of delaying your project if you find protected species present during the construction process.

Bat Survey

Another protected species in the UK that is worth surveying for before you start your new home build protect is bats. It is illegal to kill bats or move them from their natural habitat in the UK, so it’s especially important to survey for them if you are planning a project that involves renovating old buildings, which bats are often present in. A custodial sentence or fine are common consequences of harming or disturbing bats in their natural habitat, even if you did so unintentionally. It’s best to have a bat survey carried out by a professional to get more information regarding the presence of bats on the land or in any buildings on it. The survey will also provide you with further information going forward to help you work around any bats that might be present on the plot and ensuring that their natural habitat is protected.

Soil Survey

Boggy land, tipped areas, and running sand are all signs of poor ground conditions that might cause serious issues with your construction project further down the line if you do not investigate them thoroughly at the start. Before you begin the process of construction, it’s a good idea to have a survey conducted on the land itself, allowing you to find out more about what’s present underneath the topsoil, how easy or difficult it is going to be to build on, and if any additional work should be conducted beforehand when it comes to making sure that you are fully prepared for starting your project and the land is safe to build on. This might be a survey that you have done on its own, or as part of a larger land survey that can include other aspects such as odd-shaped sites, obstacles and more allowing you to go into the project fully prepared.

How To Pursue A Career In Environmental Management

Structural Building Survey

If you are not building your new home from scratch but are rather going to be convert or renovate a derelict property that already exists, then it is worth having a survey carried out on this property before you get started. In most cases, a full structural survey is the best option to get before you start, as this will give you a better idea of the condition of the building and how safe or even possible it is to complete the conversion or renovation that you are hoping for. This survey will give you a more in-depth look into the overall condition of the building including uncovering any issues that might not be immediately obvious when you look at it. This can help you not only determine what kind of preparatory work needs to be done before you can start the project but will also help you budget better.

Whether you are planning to build a property from the ground up on a plot of land or have an old building you are planning to convert, there are various surveys that are worth getting to help you prepare the best way forward.

Sustainable Agriculture with Organic Liquid Fertilizers

Agricultural practices are increasingly leaning towards committing to a sustainable environment. In light of this, organic farming has become acceptable to many farmers. Many are practicing environmental- friendly practices such as using organic liquid fertilizer instead of the synthetic alternative.

The misuse and abuse of synthetic fertilizers is responsible for many of the health problems that humans experience today. It has also contributed to a large extent to the deterioration of the environment.

Organic agriculture has experienced fast growth globally. Organic systems involve the natural management of soil through the following practices:

These nourish the soil by steadily releasing nutrients to the crops as the organic matter that has been added to the soil breaks down. The chemical and physical properties of the soil are improved by the exogenous organic matter applied to the soil. This also improves the biological functions of the soil which results in a healthy and wholesome crop free of dangerous disease causing chemicals.

liquid-fertilizer

Why Organic Liquid Fertilizer is Sustainable?

Organic liquid fertilizer is derived from naturally existing products such as plants and animal manure. This makes it a sustainable product. Waste from animals such as cows, rabbits, fish and chicken is used to make organic fertilizer that provides much-needed nutrition to plants and soil as well.

Naturally occurring vegetation and waste will always be available as it renews itself. Besides, plants can be reused to make fertilizer for the next batch once harvesting is done. Since organic farming takes care of the environment, it is safe to say that vegetation is safe for the long run. Organic liquid fertilizer is also made from human waste such as urine and that is definitely sustainable.

ecofriendly-gardening

Organic gardeners love to have a bottle of organic fish fertilizer on hand for feed young seedlings. This fertilizer also works well on plants in containers and any crop that may be suffering from ‘malnutrition’.

Why and When to Use Liquid Fertilizers

Seeing as liquid manures act faster than solid organic ones, they are the best option in the following circumstance:

  • For seedlings that have exhausted the nutrients provided by newly sprouted seed. It is especially crucial if the fertilizer you are using is a soil-free seed starting mix. While it helps in damping off, it fails to provide adequate nutrients.
  • When seedlings show signs of not having had enough nutrients. If the color fails to darken after a fertilizer has been added, it is an indication that they have not had a fair share of nutrients.
  • If you have container-grown plants, liquid fertilizers are what your plants yearn for. Container-grown plants depend entirely on the grower for nutrients and moisture. They need to be fed frequently with an organic liquid fertilizer in order to thrive.
  • When you are growing cold-tolerant crops which begin their journey of growth in low soil temperatures. Liquid fertilizers are great for boosting nutrients for such plants since it is difficult to absorb nutrients such as nitrogen in wintry temperatures.

Organic liquid fertilizers are short-acting. Consequently, they are easier to regulate that dry organic ones which are longer-acting. The ease with which liquid fertilizers can be used makes them quite popular and therefore sustainable.

Important Tip

Do not mix too much nitrogen-rich fertilizer into the soil. This is not reversible. The release of nitrogen into the soil increases as the temperature rises. You may consequently end up with huge plants but no production. The best time to apply a short-acting fertilizer is just when it is needed by the crop. Then you have less chances of overdoing the application.

When your plants are well into the season, you can feed them an organic liquid fertilizer to rejuvenate crops such as tomatoes which live long in the ground. Tomatoes are known to awaken with gusto once you give them two feeds of a good organic liquid fertilizer.

What Are Some Methods Of Soil Stabilization?

The methodology behind soil stabilization has existed for hundreds of years. The basic concept is that there is an altering of the soil somehow. That can be chemically or mechanically in order to “fix” the cement, so there’s no movement.

You would use the technique if you needed to secure land that was otherwise too wet, perhaps to build the foundation for a new construction structure. With soil stabilization, it transforms the ground to have no further movement. That way, the property would have a solid surface to sit on.

The process is usually associated with either foundation or road work, but there can be many uses. In some instances, chemicals are added to alter the general makeup or chemistry, cement can be added, or it can be altered mechanically to compact the soil.

Methods Of Soil Stabilization

Soil Stabilization Methods

Two of the most common methods for soil stabilization are chemical and mechanical, where the chemistry changes the physical characteristics or makeup of the soil and mechanics compacts the soil. But there are many methods for stabilizing and reasons for doing so.

One particular reason is to make the ground solid in order to hold a structure without it shifting for as long as it will stand. Another is to prevent ground erosion, disallowing for mudslides and other events of that nature. Find out some of the most ideal methods for stabilizing and the materials used at this link.

Let’s look at the types of soil stabilization.

1. Chlorides

These are among the favored soil stabilizing forms, with calcium and magnesium chloride being the most commonly used. The preference is more dependent on the location, and which is more readily available. Each offers either a solid or liquid form, both of which need a water truck to dilute heavily with water.

Chloride can be applied in a couple of different ways, either of which results in a tough surface. When applying, there is minimal dust released into the air.

The material equates to basically a salt with stabilization taking the moisture from the environment and trapping and locking it into the soil, creating the hard, strong result.

The downside is it requires reapplication when it becomes wet because it breaks down, plus it’s detrimental to the ecosystem.

2. Mechanical Stabilization

With mechanical stabilization, there is an almost interlocking of the particles. A large force compacts the soil in a repeat motion until the size of the particles is of the desired shape and size.

That requires the type of heavy equipment capable of enforcing this type of compression like a compactor or, on rare occasions, a crane with a drop weight.

Usually, these soils needing this type of stabilization are either of a sandy or rocky nature. This is not one of the most common methods; it has advantages in that the particles are altered without chemicals, so there’s no worry that it will wear away. The process is, however, time-intensive, budget-demanding, and tedious.

3. Lime and cement stabilization

These are among the most popular stabilizing means with either cement or lime mixed into the soil to improve resiliency and strength. The percentage varies that will get mixed in based on the characteristics of the native soil characteristics.

methods for stabilizing soil for construction

If there is a high level of plasticity, there is a greater need for more compounds to be mixed in. In many cases, the cement and lime are mixed together since they are comparable, each used in a binding capacity. Lime is a naturally occurring substance, while cement is man-made or synthetic.

While it is among the most popular techniques, it is used most prevalently with road paving. Using cement in unpaved road treatment is often cost-prohibitive; the geographical location will determine whether cement or lime is used.

In some areas, lime is relatively easy to access, but in others, making cement is a more budget-friendly approach.

In either case, the solution is effective since the materials bind the particles together, creating increased strength. Most soils work well with this method of stabilization.

The amount used needs to be exact, or there’s a risk of the soil not strengthening to the desired effect if too much is used. Or to possibly shrink and start to crack if there’s too little in the mix.

Final Thought

Soil stabilization is the method of adding a compound to the earth to strengthen it for various purposes. It is most associated with the construction and road industry as well as using it for erosion purposes. Click here to learn about the technique.

There are many different methods for stabilizing; a few of the most common are pointed out here. Mechanical and chemical are the two most prevalent heard about. Mechanical is not one that is often used on its own. Generally, it’s combined with other forms since its primary purpose is to compact the soil.

Analysis of Agro Biomass Projects

The current use of agro biomass for energy generation is low and more efficient use would release significant amounts of agro biomass resources for other energy use. Usually, efficiency improvements are neglected because of the non-existence of grid connections with agro-industries.

Electricity generated from biomass is more costly to produce than fossil fuel and hydroelectric power for two reasons. First, biomass fuels are expensive. The cost of producing biomass fuel is dependent on the type of biomass, the amount of processing necessary to convert it to an efficient fuel, distance to the energy conversion plant, and supply and demand for fuels in the market place. Biomass fuel is low-density and non-homogeneous and has a small unit size.

Crop_Residues

Consequently, biomass fuel is costly to collect, process, and transport to facilities.  Second, biomass-to-energy facilities are much smaller than conventional fossil fuel-based power plants and therefore cannot produce electricity as cost-effectively as the fossil fuel-based plants.

Agro biomass is costly to collect, process, and transport to facilities.

The biomass-to-energy facilities are smaller because of the limited amount of fuel that can be stored at a single facility. With higher fuel costs and lower economic efficiencies, solid-fuel energy is not economically competitive in a deregulated energy market that gives zero value or compensation for the non-electric benefits generated by the biomass-to-energy industry.

Biomass availability for fuel usage is estimated as the total amount of plant residue remaining after harvest, minus the amount of plant material that must be left on the field for maintaining sufficient levels of organic matter in the soil and for preventing soil erosion. While there are no generally agreed-upon standards for maximum removal rates, a portion of the biomass material may be removed without severely reducing soil productivity.

Technically, biomass removal rates of up to 60 to 70 percent are achievable, but in practice, current residue collection techniques generally result in relatively low recovery rates in developing countries. The low biomass recovery rate is the result of a combination of factors, including collection equipment limitations, economics, and conservation requirements. Modern agricultural equipment can allow for the joint collection of grain and residues, increased collection rates to up to 60 percent, and may help reduce concerns about soil compaction.

How to Improve the Quality of Your Soil

Soil is important, whether you’re growing prize winning roses, landscape shrubs or your own fruit trees. All need to be in the right type of soil to get the nutrient they need. Even beginners can improve the quality of the soil in the garden. All you need to do is follow these simple steps:

1. Add Compost

Compost is not just for preparing the beds in the spring. Compost can be placed into your raised beds in the fall and improve their conditions over the winter. Because they will be sitting over the beds all winter, this doesn’t even have to be completely broken down compost either. A lot of the process will happen right there on the bed.

compost-organic-waste-farming

The concept of safe food using organic waste generated compost is picking up in South Asia

You can even use this method as a practical way of getting rid of all the waste you pick up from your garden in the fall. Just spread this over the bed and cover with mulch. The mulch protects the soil and the nutrients in the compost.

2. Use Soil Amendments

Different soil amendments can be added to your soil to make it more suitable to your purposes. Choosing which soil amendment to use with your sol will be a matter of matching the proper solution to the problem you are facing. For example, there are amendment for increasing the nutritional content of your soil and others for improving the soil’s texture also known as tilth. For example, if your notice that the water is draining away too fast, you can add an amendment that allows you to soak up the moisture and the reverse is also true.

You can adjust the conditions of the soil to your exact needs with the right soil amendment. This could be compost or other rich matter that absorbs moisture or an amendment like greensand that allows water to drain away more easily.

Here are some common soil amendments that you can consider using for your garden as needed:

  • vermiculite (worm castings)
  • compost
  • greensand (or green sand)
  • grass clippings
  • cornmeal
  • alfalfa meal
  • straw
  • kelp meal

3. Plant a Cover Crop

When you are thinking about improving soil quality, don’t forget the power of cover crops. This is not just an idea for large scale agricultural weed suppression. They are also a major benefit for backyard gardeners as well.

Cover crops are especially good for treating the soil as they provide oxygenation and improved nutrient availability. Alfalfa with its very deep root system pulls nutrients upwards from the lower levels of soil and make these more available in planting season. Then a couple weeks before you begin planting, this cover crop will be tilled back into the soil, increasing its organic composition and nutrient content.

This can also be used to improve the levels of nitrogen in the soil when using legumes as a cover crop. Fava beans, crimson clover and alfalfa are all good examples of nitrogen high crop covers. If you will not be growing anything particular over the growing season, you may consider a cover crop that protect and aerate your beds. (Pro tip: cherry trees are a great choice for the beginner backyard orchardist and benefit greatly from good soil).

4. Try Lasagna Gardening

Also called sheet composting or “No-Till” gardening is another good way to improve your gardens soil quality and a perfect way to begin your raised beds and continue them. As you notice the quality levels of soil in your bed begin dropping down, you will keep adding new layers like lasagna which begins improving the quality of your soil from the top to the bottom. After the end of each growing season new layers are added.

For more information about your garden and the process of sheet composting, check out this article on the lasagna gardening method beginner’s guide. But there is one thing you will need to consider when using the lasagna method of composting. If you will be renovating your raised beds with the sheet composting method, you will need to wait a full 6-months before planting as you will need them to fully break down.

So this method will be best suited to those garden working with rotating beds or those gardeners who only plant one season. The following link included here will give some pointers on how this can be changed about and planting can be done sooner. Basically, if you would like to begin planting sooner, you will need to spread out a layer of compost and or healthy topsoil –– roughly 2 or 3 inches thick. You can then begin planting directly through this top layer.

5. Prepare Raised Beds for the Winter

Never forget the importance of using the end of the year garden season is your opportunity to improve the quality of your soil in a number of ways. This end of the year ritual is like “closing down the shop” till spring. But, if you live in a warmer area of the country this might not even be necessary.

Here are some things to do. First, cut the plants as opposed to pulling them from the soil. Cutting the plant will allow the roots to rot away and this will make your soil lighter and airy. Then you can spread some compost out on the soil and cover this with a layer of mulch, the compost will be feeding nutrients back to the soil while the mulch will protect the soil and keep the nutrients bound in.

You can also just plant a cover crop and call it a year. Be sure to check out our article on winter gardening for some more things to do in the cold months.