Trying to resolve damp and missing bricks

22 Nov 2018
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United Kingdom
All the ground level flats in my block have damp issues they've tried to resolve it by digging down and putting in pea shingle. There's also bricks missing at bottom in corner, is this a major issue? Circled area where bricks are missin.
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They appear to be basement level, compromised by the ground levels to the left of the entrance door.?
The missing bricks aren't exactly great, but they aren't causing general dampness.
It looks like there is a dpc so that can be put on the back burner for now.
The ground level won't have been helping but, again, unlikely to be causing general dampness.

My first guess is that the flats aren't suffering dampness at all but are in fact suffering from condensation issues.
I strongly advise checking that out first?
My first guess is that the flats aren't suffering dampness at all but are in fact suffering from condensation issues.
I strongly advise checking that out first?
That looks like one heck of a poorly thought out (lay of the land) dwelling. Almost as if the basement dwelling was made habitable as an afterthought. No amount of French drain-ism will cure that.
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In your pics you have high ground on two sides - when the site was cut out from the hillside only a large, deep retaining wall with drainage diversions for ground water could have given your building a chance of avoiding heavy ground water pressure. Such retaining walls cost a lot - your building was a cheap build.

FWIW: Your pics dont show a French drain, they show some stone sprinkled on a strip of ground that seems to be above a ledge of concrete or the edge of the slab?
If you do install a proper French drain then where will it discharge to? Where is the RWP discharge going to?
BTW: the RWP should discharge into a trapped gulley.

The "hole" should be cleaned out and bricked up (animals have access) - but first check for bridging debris in the cavity - use a torch & a mirror. Use a re-placement strip of DPC material (or a ripping from a rubble bag) when bricking up.
If you have damp signs showing inside your flat then why not post pics of them.
Is the third photo down, showing missing bricks - is there a conduit maybe electrics entering the flat there? It looks like something maybe entering there and the reason for the bodge.

Surely missing external leaf at dpc and one brick above dpc level will lead to some risk of water penetration to inner leaf. If it was 3 bricks down from dpc and where cavity was concrete filled i would be less inclined to worry. But it doesnt look to be the case.

this is assuming of course it is 2 leaf construction and cavity. What is the construction?
Post #6,
The walls are cavity walls.
Pic # 3 down shows no conduits?
What is "the bodge" that you refer to?
Cavities are not generally "concrete filled"?
Post #8,
If I'm maybe wrong with any or all of the four observations that I mentioned then I'll accept it but perhaps you will show me where you think I've gone wrong? Please be specific?
Post #6 I apologise because I was wrong. I misunderstood what your Post was saying with ref to the cavity fill.
Concrete cavity fill is, of course, required up to 225mm below the DPC, and, in certain cases, 75mm below the DPC is allowed.
Post #11. Thank you. Apology accepted. Photo attached with red circle. This is the area I thought looked possibly like a conduit exists, but it is quite hard to make out, and now I look again - I am not sure - it could be. But I was looking for explanations as to why the brickwork would of been removed and left like that. What i referred to as a "bodge". Photo attached.

I also agree with comments of others and yours in that that the site is a difficult one and what ever you do you are working against natural ground levels and damp entry points from ground contact. Particularly further up the photo of the site towards top, beyond that walkover entrance.

Edit: perhaps, if the poster is in the lower ground flat, the best he/she can hope to do is remedy the brickwork (I doubt it is the single cause of a widespread multiple dwelling damp issue in itself) and consider tanking external walls to that side of the building at least.


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Removal of bricks might have been an investigation of the cavity some time in the past - just never got around to making good?

The OP seems to have gone anyway but, just in case; tanking, damp proofing etc. will almost certainly be a waste of time and money. Investigate potential condensation issues before you spend any money elsewhere.
True. OP should definitely investigate humidity and related condensation. Many flats suffer from poor air changes and humidity that is too high, which eventually starts to take its toll on building decoration, finishes and contents....

But still, when I look at the ground levels, and it is just my opinon, others may vary, beyond the walkover, alarm bells ring with ground contact and bridging.

OP per @jeds #13, I would also vote to check humidity levels in flat at several points in the day. You can buy a decent hygromters for reasonbly small outlay, certainly compared to undertaking building related work on inner walls to try to deal with what may be the product of that issue.

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