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Flat Structure - Query

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Slightly on topic but I know there are some building type bods on here - so here goes !!

Moved into new flat a few months back. I noticed a huge big crack in the main stair at the bottom. Old Tenement style flat in Edinburgh. A few weeks after moving in I also noticed some cracks appearing in my hall and living room. I am on the top floor at the corner.

On ground floor - the crack is diagonal down the wall. In my corner room on the top floor - a few cracks are vertical up the wall then continue along the ceiling. Another one goes down in a jaggy way diagonal down the wall. And another really long one [10 foot +] goes along parallel to the ceiling about a foot under it (All these are in different areas of the flat)

There were cracks previously - and these are noted on the inventory. Noted as 'superficial' by the letting agents. I highly doubt they have the structural engineering skills to make that definition of course. I know you can get lots of cracks in old buildings and they can be nothing to worry about - but these seem a bit excessive.

Outside my flat in the corner of the stair you can see a large crack. Same on every floor to the bottom - and then the really large one on the ground floor. I had a look at this yesterday. I could put my house key into it - so maybe 3-4 mm wide - and the key went fully in with ease. So its not just a plaster crack - as far as I can see anyway.

I have also noticed since new people moved in next door - I can hear them through my livingroom wall. (This is corner of lat that has the cracks). Now these arent loud noises - just talking. Its a bit strange as the wall between is pretty solid and clearly thick. Could there be movement which has caused the brickwork/mortar behind the wall plaster to become cracked - and therefore create more or less 'holes' between my flat and the one next door ? Only other explanation I can think of is we have a shared ceiling space and its not been insulated properly - however I dont have access to be able to peek up and check.

Looking outside the building you can clearly see work has previoulsy been done. The bottom corner lfat has had stonework replaced by steel beams in places - and a few of the windows have had similar as well. My flat has some wonky floors and windows too. So clearly movement has occured in the past and been rectified. How do I - or anyone else for that matter - know if its happening again and if/when more work is required ?

Anyway - Edinburgh council no longer do communal checks/repairs anymore due to previous dodgy dealings and a massive brown envelope scandal - however they do get involved if there is safety involved.

Is this worth me going to them and asking to come around for a look ? I dont trust the landlord or letting agent to give a flying ****** - and unless anyone else in the stait contacts them or happens to be a structural engineer - how would this information ever get to the council prior to things literally starting to fall off ?!

Any advice much appreciated !!

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Cheers for that. Looked through them and had already looked at a few youtubes etc..

Think it looks like you really need an expert to know for sure.

However reading what it says about 45% cracks, horizontal cracks etc.. I think these could be serious. Think I will contact the council and go down the 'safety' route.

About 10 years ago some masonry fell on a waitress at Edinburghs West end. Even since then I imagine whenever they are contacted regarding 'safety' and masonry - they probably take it seriously.

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I believe diagonal type crack that mirror the course of the blocks/bricks are the ones to worry about.

In my previous neew-ish flat there were a lot of cracks (*insert your own joke here*) but you could tell they were just at the join of plasterboards and were due to settlement/shoddy workmanship.

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Time to find a contact number and give these ******* a call - I do pay council tax after all !!

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Ok well called up council shared repairs line. This sort of thing would have to apparently be raised by the owners - as the council have charges for doing investigations etc. and would have to be agreed in advance. He pointed out ways in which I could use masking tape etc.. to work out if there was movement - and that they only get involved directly without instrution if there was an emergency involved or danger to public safety.

I asked him how I would know at which point these big cracks became a danger to public safety - as logically they will have to at some point....

No real answer. Gave me a number of a private tenants rights organisation who may help out with legalities etc.

Other than that should speak to the landlord.

So unless someone (Not me I will just move out when my tenancy ends as cant be bothered with the hassle) gets all the 9 flat owners together, private owners, private tenants, council tenants whatever - and they all agree to contact the council/engineers and pay upfront to find out if all these cracks are serious or not - nothing happens ? :blink:

Well until any movement (If there is any - and it looks likely) gets to point where a chimney falls off and smashes a car or kills someone I assume.

The sheer volume of issues facing Edinburgh in the future because of this sort of thing is ******ing huge I tell you.

There are so many flats I know of where issues exist - but due to the stopping of the councils shared repairs service - and the lack of people getting together to agree on action - are just continuing on and on.

People think - oh well its a solid stone built flat it will be fine. Well thats ok - up to a point. And at that point the damage will have been done and any emergency repairs to stop the things falling down is going to be astronomical. Or they will just literally do that - fall down.

Puts me off buying as much as the prices.

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Ask the LA for details of the cracks and say you are concerned they may be growing and you would like them to monitor it.

CC it to the council so they have a copy of your concerns.

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Think I will do that but not much point of cc the council - they appear to have zero interest.

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Only alternative is to get your own surveyor/structural engineer in to look at it. Don't know how much that would cost.

Might not really be a problem if there are already signs of remediation as you mention.

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Yes - but not going to pay for it as I am only a scummy renter remember :)

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The cracks could be ancient. They only concern is if the movement which caused them is still in progress.

Tenement block in Edinburgh? I thought they had knocked most of them down by now. Family member used to live in one in Leith in the 70's what a depressing building.

Contact building control at the council if they think it risk they will set a gauge over the 'troubling' cracks to see if there is more movement. Or just wait till your tenancy expires and move on.

If the building has been there for decades it is unlikely to fall down in the next 6 Months.

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Edinburgh is still full of tenement blocks - they make up a huge number of the flats in the city.

Called up the building folk earlier - they gave me advice of how to do it myself !!

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Edinburgh is still full of tenement blocks - they make up a huge number of the flats in the city.

Called up the building folk earlier - they gave me advice of how to do it myself !!

Best thing to stick over the crack is a glass coverslip glued to the wall either side of the crack. Any movement will break the glass.

http://ebay.eu/1L6RnxS

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I was thinking it sounded a bit poor as it tends to fall off itself pretty easy.

Local council for you - experts...

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I thought this was going to be the age-old question about how to collapse a 3D structure (like categories) into 2D output in a SQL query using a cursor or nesting :(

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CCC, I think you have seen more cracks than anyone on this forum.

:P Allegedly. Maybe he can sort out Mrs Spider Fanny?

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