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Advice On Repair To Bulging Flank Wall - End Of Terrace

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Hi, we've had a verticality survey on our flank wall and it's out by 120mm which is pretty serious.

An engineer has said it's beyond simple ties and our options are to put up steel buttressing (external arches) or tear down and rebuild the wall! Either way we need to underpin as the current foundations are shallower than the drain which runs alongside the wall (under our side alley).

The buttress approach would obviously be very visible and also leave a very narrow gap in the side alley reducing its usefulness (not that we use it much).

Obviously rebuilding involves moving out and is a lot more costly. Very vague estimates are £25k for buttress approach and £50k to rebuild.

After any advice on which route to take. We don't plan to move any time soon, but would we make back the £25k on the rebuild option when we come to sell?

Thanks for any info / similar experiences,

Alfie.

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Hi, we've had a verticality survey on our flank wall and it's out by 120mm which is pretty serious.

An engineer has said it's beyond simple ties and our options are to put up steel buttressing (external arches) or tear down and rebuild the wall! Either way we need to underpin as the current foundations are shallower than the drain which runs alongside the wall (under our side alley).

The buttress approach would obviously be very visible and also leave a very narrow gap in the side alley reducing its usefulness (not that we use it much).

Obviously rebuilding involves moving out and is a lot more costly. Very vague estimates are £25k for buttress approach and £50k to rebuild.

After any advice on which route to take. We don't plan to move any time soon, but would we make back the £25k on the rebuild option when we come to sell?

Thanks for any info / similar experiences,

Alfie.

I take it your insurance won't pay? How long have you been in and why was it not noticed when you bought the place? There are some questions that need answering from the original survey and (maybe) how the place was marketed in the first place.

If all else fails I only came across this once TBH. It did involve rebuilding, which is probably not what you want to hear. The other option would restrict you if you wanted to sell on IMO.

Tom MRICS

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I take it your insurance won't pay? How long have you been in and why was it not noticed when you bought the place? There are some questions that need answering from the original survey and (maybe) how the place was marketed in the first place.

If all else fails I only came across this once TBH. It did involve rebuilding, which is probably not what you want to hear. The other option would restrict you if you wanted to sell on IMO.

Tom MRICS

Thanks a lot for the reply. We've been in the house about 10 years. We had a full structural survey done and it did pick up the bulging wall. We had an engineer draw up some restraints (ties) at floor level in the loft and maybe first floor landing (can't remember exactly). These were done. As I recall it was never considered very serious and certainly not questioned by the lender, etc.

But to be honest I think we were badly advised, as there's not been much movement since then. We noticed some small cracks at the top of the stairs (1mm) and that's when we had the full verticality survey done.

Regards,

Alfie.

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Thanks a lot for the reply. We've been in the house about 10 years. We had a full structural survey done and it did pick up the bulging wall. We had an engineer draw up some restraints (ties) at floor level in the loft and maybe first floor landing (can't remember exactly). These were done. As I recall it was never considered very serious and certainly not questioned by the lender, etc.

But to be honest I think we were badly advised, as there's not been much movement since then. We noticed some small cracks at the top of the stairs (1mm) and that's when we had the full verticality survey done.

Regards,

Alfie.

It's always the question of how bad it was at survey and now. I never like to belittle other surveyors or structural engineers but a house of this age (I presume an old terraced) would have very little movement on a ten year time-scale and therefore I would find it difficult to believe that it has deterioated to this extent. The engineer will have adequate PI and is covered for this eventuality. I would see your own surveyor, show him the facts and ask his advise. It's worth a few hundred quid if you can get PI to pay. Hope you kept all the surveys etc.

Good luck.

Tom

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Not sure about the rest, but 50K to rebuild seems rather a lot.

There was a property on HUTH that needed a wall reduilding like this and the guy did it for a few K. I guess that this didn't include his labour but that can't have been 45k equivilent.

You can build a whole flipping house for 50K, why does rebuilding one wall cost this? ISTM that knocking the whole lot down and a complete rebuild wouldn't cost any more and you would have a much better house at the end.

tim

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Not sure about the rest, but 50K to rebuild seems rather a lot.

There was a property on HUTH that needed a wall reduilding like this and the guy did it for a few K. I guess that this didn't include his labour but that can't have been 45k equivilent.

You can build a whole flipping house for 50K, why does rebuilding one wall cost this? ISTM that knocking the whole lot down and a complete rebuild wouldn't cost any more and you would have a much better house at the end.

tim

The £50k is my very rough estimate for underpinning, taking out the wall and rebuilding, plus redecorating after. Could be less - not had quotes yet.

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It's always the question of how bad it was at survey and now. I never like to belittle other surveyors or structural engineers but a house of this age (I presume an old terraced) would have very little movement on a ten year time-scale and therefore I would find it difficult to believe that it has deterioated to this extent. The engineer will have adequate PI and is covered for this eventuality. I would see your own surveyor, show him the facts and ask his advise. It's worth a few hundred quid if you can get PI to pay. Hope you kept all the surveys etc.

Good luck.

Tom

I dug up the survey and engineer's report. Some key phrases:

Survey:

"Deflection: Significant deflection has occurred to the side wall and gabled brickwork above the side wall, and to the gabled section of brickwork to the rear wall of the back addition. This deflection has been caused by poor design detailing, due to a lack of lateral restraint in these areas."

Engineer's report:

"none of the structure was opened up or exposed nor were foundations examined or drains tested"

"although as stated we are reporting on structural issues based on a superficial view, we are quite content ... and do not feel any need at this time for further investigation"

"the flank wall facing onto the side gardens is out of plumb from the vertical, particularly towards the front and the top gable section is barrelling out from ceiling level to the main roof ridgeline"

"this incidentally is not unusual and it is to be recommended that metal ties be inserted between the first floor and flank wall and ceiling level and flank wall as well"

"may also find following insertion of metal ties some areas of the flank wall brickwork may need rebuilding to reinstate the general brickwork back to a reasonable vertical line, re-pointing here and in other areas may also become necessary"

"we recommend [items identified] be implemented for the benefit of the structure"

"budget construction figure to allow for the structural repairs specified - £5000"

[engineer's drawings for ties were included]

As mentioned before, we did have the ties put in, plus repairs to the end parapet and general re-pointing to the flank wall, but we didn't have any brickwork rebuilt.

Any further thoughts - do you think we were badly advised, or were we just foolish to take the house on with this report?

Thanks!

Alfie.

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  • 277 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

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      • down 5% +
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      • Even
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      • up 5%



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