Our company was contracted to remove plasterwork to the attic chimney breast due to salts that had caused the plaster to breakdown. What was found next in the loft was frightening!
A simple enough contract where we were to remove the plaster, apply a tanking membrane to the brickwork and then apply plasterboard and skim finish.
On the morning of the work I was called by one of the technicians to inspect a chimney breast in the attic after the plaster had been removed.
Outside I could see that there was a modern roof covering, eturnits had been used to replace the original slate tiles. There was roof vents also installed so before I went through the threshold I thought that the roof had been completed under supervision of the local building control.
I went up into the attic to see the concerned area in the loft. I could not believe my eyes to what I bore witness. Past works had removed the chimney breast in the master bedroom however the builder had simply not used any steel to support the chimney breast or the chimney stack above!!
A small piece of timber and an upturned brick now ‘supports’ the chimney breast and chimney stack! Oh I almost forgot there was a 175x50mm timber joist spanning 4.2m, so that must surly be adequate to support it!!
Then when I got closer to inspect the area I saw another problem. The loft had been converted. However, when the ‘contractor’ carried out the work (probably the same contractor who took the chimney breast out in the master bedroom), they CUT the timber purlin. Purlins are designed to carry the roof and should be seated into a structural wall. Here the contractor had cut the purlin and then proceeded to use a timber vertical noggin to help carry the load. Guess where the timber noggin was supported…. yes you have guessed!… It was supported by that timber joist!! Must be a SUPER JOIST!!
When I asked about if the roof had been inspected by the local building control, the lady said that the roof was done prior to her purchasing it. When I mentioned that I thought originally that it looked from outside it had as they had used eturnits and roof vents so they had not overloaded the roof and installed vents, she said that she had the vents installed recently. Looking out of the skylight there was an adjoining jump gable, to this area you would expect to see lead flashing’s… Sadly not.
So what started as a simple area of plasterwork has developed into a major contract, with concern over the buildings structure and local residents safety.
We are organising with the local building control to make urgent repairs and to remove the redundant chimney breast and re roof.
When doing major alterations the local building control should be sort for advice and for certificates that the work has been completed to a satisfactory standard.
Thinking of any building alterations or simply need advice then get in touch for friendly professional advice.
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We were contacted by a landlord who has used us for his tenanted properties previously to alter the layout and upgrade the kitchen.
We redesigned the kitchen layout and used light coloured units as the natural light was not that good. Using the light coloured units and white tiles it helps to brighten up the area and the new units give a more modern feel.
Your property is generally your greatest asset… Though not regularly maintained…
Many property owners have motor vehicles and generally service these more regularly, and with the MOT tests any major faults are diagnosed and repairs are made. So why do homeowners not have regular maintenance checks on property, generally only carrying out work when a problem develops?
The owner should adopt a planned approach to maintenance, in doing so it can help the need for unplanned emergency repairs. Using a planned approach it will keep the value of the building and in some cases even help to add value.
However, most properties are only fully surveyed at the time that the owner decides to sell. Then issues come to light that could in fact turn away prospective purchasers or leads to haggling over the cost of the house meaning the house price reduces.
One of our surveyors inspecting a lintel in a boundary wall
So why don’t homeowners employ a planned approach? Sometimes it is down to lack of knowledge and damage that can create or just laziness was also a common cause. The sticking the head in the sand or ‘out of sight, out of mind’ approach is also used.
It is not just the structure that gets neglected, by also essential and harmful appliances get left. Most homes in the UK run gas powered boilers that should be serviced annually, well all gas appliances should.
Not having condition surveys could lead to expensive and frankly unnecessary bills and these ideally should be undertaken annually.
Undertaking such surveys will provide the building with a health check and reduce the risk of fro example dry rot, as timbers are seldom checked and in by not having them checked potentially gives the homeowner a large expense as older properties are more at risk of such timber decays.
On the first condition survey we will inspect wall ties (if the property has cavity walls), though once surveyed if no significant issue will not need to be assessed on each survey.
The main aim for the surveys is to increase the serviceable life of various components and to prevent more serious, often costly problems occurring in the future.
Once a condition survey has been completed any immediate work will be reported and also a maintenance schedule will be presented. The maintenance schedule will address areas of the property that will need to be maintained. One area for example would be rainwater services. These often become blocked or not being painted can lead to problems such as penetrating damp, condensation and timber decay to occur.
Over the last thirty years uPVC has become increasingly popular as a material used for external building components, particularly for guttering and downpipes and window frames. uPVC external cladding, soffits and fascia boards are also now commonly used in place of timber as it is considered that this needs less maintenance. However, if you do not look after the uPVC then photo-oxidation which causes bleaching (staining) and loss of pigmentation of the UPVC will occur. Once this occurs the UPVC will pick up dirt, dust and other particles and become discoloured. Maintaining the material will help prolong its life
Our surveys will cover all aspects of the property that is followed up by a comprehensive report and any associated costs.
Should you wish to discuss the matter further simply get in touch so that we can answer your questions.