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Which solution for a damp solid brick wall?

Discussion in 'Building' started by glock339, 27 Mar 2013.

  1. geraldthehamster

    geraldthehamster

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    I think it's the neighbour you need to persuade, not the builder. The builder is working for the neighbour
     
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  3. glock339

    glock339

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    Your probably right there, unfortunately as I expected the builder has assured my neighbour that there is absolutely nothing wrong at all with the job hes done. I'm guessing he will have also told her it'll cost more money to do the "unnecessary" extra work to rectify my damp proofing which doesn't need doing anyway. So understandably some may say my neighbour believes the builder as I'd guess a lot of people would do in this situation.

    I feel like I'm going mad here with everyone telling me I'm wrong so if I post a couple of diagrams of exactly what work I carried out to remedy the damp & then one of the work which has just been carried out I'd be really grateful of any comments even if I am in the wrong, I just want some clarification if possible (any questions just ask).

    This first crude diagram is of how I remedied the Damp, you can see Damp Proof Injection course to stop rising damp & the studded membrane which were my main barriers. I also sprayed the brick wall with a breathable water repellant & lined the 200mm trench landscaping fabric before laying a land drain & filling with gravel.

    IMG_5674.jpg

    The second diagram is of how things are now, the top of my studded wall DPM has been cut right down & concrete has been poured up & onto my wall. I'm assuming at least some concrete has gone down the the studded DPM which is against my wall & obviously the studs are to keep the membrane from lying flat against the wall to prevent any capillary action. I also presume they will have removed at least the top of the gravel in the trench to lay hardcore for the concrete path? The concrete path in my opinion now Bridges my Damp proofing & any water landing on the path next to my wall will now hit my unprotected solid brick. The builder is totally convinced all of this is meaningless due to the fact he has put a fall on the path (which I have not been able to check). The fact is in winter months this small side alley receives no sunlight & is constantly damp with moss & algae everywhere which I don't think a slight fall would remedy.

    IMG_5672.jpg

    Sorry for the long post & thanks for taking the time to read it :)
     
  4. geraldthehamster

    geraldthehamster

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    Maybe get a written opinion from a surveyor, which you can show the neighbour to show her the builder is wrong. Then that strip will need excavating and putting right. It isn't going to be a huge job. If you want to maintain good relations, you might need to pay for this. It sounds like the builder has been thoughtless, and then bullsh*tted the neighbour, who is just accepting what she has been told.
     
  5. glock339

    glock339

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    I could do the job my self even though I don't really have the time right now but I can't see me being allowed to do that without some sort of expert getting involved to prove the builder hasn't actually got a clue what he's talking about because at the moment its just a case of an old supposedly experienced builder's word against mine.

    So would you suggest contacting a surveyor to have a look for me is the next step as I've come to a dead end with discussions? I take it they will need permission to go onto my neighbours property to inspect the work, which hopefully may not be a problem? I bet this won't be cheap either, happy days.
     
  6. drpepe

    drpepe

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    I just don't get why a neighbour with whom you have good relations, would unilaterally go ahead and do this whilst knowing of the problems and remedial work that you carried out just a few years ago?

    Presumably they were never actually happy with the situation.

    You really need to speak to the neighbour and come to a solution together imo.
     
  7. ree

    ree

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    drpepe,

    I agree with you. However the crux of the matter is the common knowledge that you never interfere with a neighbour's property without permission. Perhaps we are not getting the full story here?
     
  8. glock339

    glock339

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    Yes I agree & think she must not have ever been happy with the strip of gravel running down the side of my house in small side alley. Obviously I discussed what I would be doing before doing it to get consent as well as having the odd chat with them every day whilst carrying out the work. When it was complete I talked to them about it & then I've spoke to her many times since completion & they never once said they were unhappy with it or wanted something changed. I can only presume out of politeness?

    My neighbour is getting all of her pathways done at the moment from the front gates & steps all the way through to the back garden, so it's not a case of they got the builder in specifically for the part of the path affecting my wall. I can only surmise that they will have asked the builder if its OK to cover up the strip & cut away my damp proof membrane so it looked neater & the builder told them it was absolutely fine which is what they wanted to hear. I have just got a written note from my neighbour basically saying that they have asked the builder again wether this work will affect my property in any way & unsurprisingly he has told her no it will not. So I think I'm now at a brick wall (pardon the pun) in discussing the matter with my neighbour & the builder unless I can prove the work will actually affect my property which I can only see happening if I get a 3rd part involved?

    I've just spoken to Citizens Advice who seem to think (only having heard my side of the story of course) that the builder may have neglected his duty of care & also damaged my property when cutting down my DPM etc. They advised me to complete a sample letter to send to the builder recorded delivery stating damages/problem & remedy required etc. I can't believe how out of hand this is getting for the sake of a tiny dark damp dingy alleyway path which is seldom used, I'd love to just leave things alone but then I think back to the misery of previous winters with soaking wet mouldy walls so can't.
     
  9. theprinceofdarkness

    theprinceofdarkness

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    Even if there is a fall away from your wall, splash back from rain will wet the wall, that is why DPCs should be 6" above ground level. This can be cured with a liberal dose of silicone once the wall has dried out, next summer?
    Frannk
     
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  11. glock339

    glock339

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    Would the fact theres concrete right up to my wall not be a problem? I know water runs off the surface but I've always presumed if its wet for long enough (& the path in question is damp all winter) it may absorb some water which would pass through to my wall or is this incorrect? I've not been able to measure what kind of fall is on this new path but purely going by eye it looks minimal.

    Originally I easiest cheap remedy for this problem I could think of would be to cut away the path from the house again, I'm not particularly bothered how much but just enough to fix a new strip of DPM along the bottom of my wall that would overlap the top of whats left of the original DPM by a sufficient amount. Am I way off the mark? Any thoughts appreciated.
     
  12. geraldthehamster

    geraldthehamster

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    Is it possible that your neighbour didn't discuss that detail with the builder at all, and he just went away and did it?

    I'd put a reasonable price on not falling out with your neighbour. In my opinion you have two options - either get a surveyor's report which might persuade your neighbour that the builder is wrong, and let you proceed. Or wait and see, then invite the neighbour round if/when damp becomes apparent. The second course wouldn't be a complete disaster, as I don't suppose it's going to do lasting damage.

    If it were me, I'd want to get it fixed now, rather than later. All sorts of things could change in the future - the neighbour might move away and you'd have to explain it all to a new neighbour.
     
  13. catlad

    catlad

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    Your word against an old experienced builder ? Anybody with experience in the building game should have been able to recognised that that gravel and dpc had a purpose. He sounds like a moron.
     
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  14. glock339

    glock339

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    Yes I definately want it resolved now rather than wait until the walls are wet through again & like you say who knows what may have changed by then. I don't want to sound dramatic but my house is only a small single storey 1 bedroom cottage with one open plan living area so when that gable end is wet both the bedroom & living area are damp & foisty & theres just no getting away from it. Plus since solving the damp I've fitted wardrobes across that wall in the entire length of the bedroom which would be a total nightmare if it returns.

    I think I will send off the letter to the builder as advised by Citizens Advice & start looking for a Surveyor so the builder can't just keep fobbing me off telling my neighbour nothing is wrong & I just don't know what I'm talking about. I'm guessing I'd possibly be looking at getting a defects analysis done which seem to start at £200? :(
     
  15. glock339

    glock339

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    Just a quick update for anyone who's interested, I got the surveyor out who completely agreed the path was breeching my damp proofing & will ingress of water to my property. In fact the house already smells damp so he took readings on the wall which showed to be damp, to be honest you can feel it's damp with just your fingers.

    The Surveyor tried to talk to my neighbour first before writing up reports etc in the hope of explaining what was wrong with the work & why the path needs to be off my wall, which would be a reasonably easy fix. Unfortunately he rang me to say things didn't go well at all when he rang her as the builder was there & apparently told him something along the lines of surveyors don't know what they're talking about & he knows better. They also said they’d had an "expert" out who was apparently some sort of Architect lecturer & told them what I had done to remedy my damp was not a recognised building method. Anyway from what I can gather it all got a bit silly to the point the Surveyor decided it was best to just put the phone down & write up his report to post out.
     
  16. geraldthehamster

    geraldthehamster

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    Builder wants a slap
     
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