Case Studies

1. Terraced house in Bristol. Damp proofing work carried out in around 2015-6 by a local contractor. Some apparent dampness in treated area, and concern about other side of wall, where room alterations planned. I found some dampness in the treated area, and a report which did not adequately explain the consequences of tiles and fitted units being left in place on one side of a treated wall. Subsequently, the contractor has agreed to return and re-do work, in line with my recommendations. The client stated that my report and photos provided important points for the contractor to consider. She felt very pleased to have consulted me, and grateful for detailed and helpful information.

2. Detached stone house near Chippenham, with higher level rear extension. Previous damp proofing and waterproofing works, including new floors in reception rooms, carried out by a local contractor. Since moving in, the property had flooded, from the wall/floor junction. I was allowed to open up a sample area, and found that the essential linking of waterproofing between the wall work and the floor membrane was not effective, furthermore the floor concrete was inadequate. The central hall, subject to the same problems, had been omitted from the scheme of works. The flank wall had not been waterproofed, as was necessary. I found other shortcomings in the works. Upgrading works were subsequently carried out by a competent PCA member contractor, as the Client had no confidence in the original contractor’s ability to put right his defective work. Legal proceedings were expected to follow. The client stated that my work was much appreciated, and invaluable (in identifying the problems in previous works).

3. Cottage (possibly former coach house/stable) near Axbridge. The garden is at first floor level, with bedrooms and bathroom below, with one wall completely earth retaining. Previous attempts at waterproofing were apparent, and condensation due in part to being unoccupied for some months. The lower floor rooms had brick vaulted ceilings. Obvious external problems were found, allowing rain penetration. Internally, dampness was found around the edges of waterproofed areas, and apparent rising damp in other areas which may not have had earlier treatments. No information available about earlier works. External repairs were necessary, as soon as possible. Internally, localised repairs to waterproofing works may be adequate in the short term, and damp proofing/plastering work to adjacent areas, plus improvements to reduce the condensation risk. In the longer term, upgrading of waterproofing works to modern standards seemed unavoidable, affecting both retaining walls and adjacent floors. The client therefore had a choice to spend a relatively small amount in the short term and expect to spend more in a second phase, or carry out major works now, which should be effective in the long term.