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Help/info from builders/quality control issue

Discussion in 'General Chat Forum' started by liamthefirst, May 5, 2013.

  1. liamthefirst

    liamthefirst Member

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    Been in my house new just over a year it was finished jan 2012. I had a problem with the air bricks being the wrong height and the builders (Glendale) said they were fine. I wasn't happy so went to NHBC and was told it wasn't correct.. The builder then decided to change there mind and change the hight. The air bricks were two bricks below ground level and are now just under two above ground level (pic below)
    ImageUploadedByAVForums1367754594.040868.jpg

    Well I'm worried as the damp course is still in the original position (below ground level for the back of house and in level at front) it seem my house I built about two brick lower than it should be or something.

    Everyone's house in the road the air bricks are 4 bricks up from ground level and their damp course is below the air brick. the road is level.

    I'm not sure what to do is this right or should I get NHBC again. The builders say its fine..

    .....Finding it hard to explain, so if you need more pics will go and take as many needed...

    Thanks

    Liam
  2. liamthefirst

    liamthefirst Member

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    ImageUploadedByAVForums1367755696.395577.jpg
    I have marked the damp course with pink chalk and the spirit level is sitting on patio.
  3. online

    online Member

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    The brickwork damp course should be Min. 150mm above groung level - yours looks to be around 50mm.

    Definatley not right, is the existing ground level as was when the property was built?
  4. liamthefirst

    liamthefirst Member

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    Yes they put in paths and patio
  5. John

    John Moderator

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    Where does the airbrick ventilate, above or below your floor ?

    forget NHBC, call the council building control officer. they will only have to look at it to know if its ok
  6. online

    online Member

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    Well they have got it wrong as it is, the 150mm "splash" below the DPC is required regardless the floor construction/level internally and/or the internal skin.

    I'm guessing without knowing the exact construction type but assume that the floors are block and beam and that the vents are telescopic void ventilators??

    As for the ground level/dpc level refer them to Approved Document Part C - Section 5 (Building Regulations)

    The existing ground level needs to be reduced/re-modelled - there are a number of remedial solutions.

    It can't stay as it is thats for sure, I'm surprised somebody has signed it off TBH.

    HTH
  7. liamthefirst

    liamthefirst Member

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    The air brick is now two bricks above patio. Is that what you mean?
  8. online

    online Member

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  9. liamthefirst

    liamthefirst Member

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    Yes it's block and beam and yea telescopic vents. When they came back to move them up they had to take out loads of bricks to extend the vents up.

    I have many times said about the rear garden being landscaped to high and try just say that's how it is? I mean there are two double doors at the back of the house and both sets are adjusted on maximum hight so they don't scrape on the patio when opening and shutting!
  10. online

    online Member

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    Theres no argument here whatever they say, contact your local authority building control - NHBC aren't (IMO) much use at all.

    The builders will just keep trying to fob you off, don't accept anything other than remedial works at their expense and to your satisfaction - there really is no argument.
  11. liamthefirst

    liamthefirst Member

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    ok will do that next week.

    what would you say needs doing?
  12. online

    online Member

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    Without seeing the whole site its impossible to say what options are available but the upshot is you need to end up where your DPC is 150mm (min) above ground level, or your ground level is 150mm below DPC, I know that sounds daft but there is a difference!

    It could entail completely landscaping the site over - there could be other pitfalls with drains if you are at the start of a run for example. The existing levels to adjacent properties could also be an issue.

    It may be possible to re-model you patio/layout to provide a suitable "moat" type arrangement. The building control bod will be best to advise.

    It's worrying that the vents ended up BELOW ground level to start with, somebody didn't know what they were doing, that rings alarms with me. Are there any other issues?
  13. liamthefirst

    liamthefirst Member

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    no other big issues apart from few small snags (couple of wrong colour doors and few small cracks)

    I know what you mean it does make me think about the whole build. but apart from this i am very happy. as i said it seems just to be my house that's all wrong levels.
  14. online

    online Member

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    No worries, stick at it and don't take no for an answer whatever the remedy will be it will be at significant cost so expect some resistance.

    Building control will be your friend.

    Just for curiosity can you post a pic of the patio at the doors?
  15. liamthefirst

    liamthefirst Member

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    ImageUploadedByAVForums1367788349.661321.jpg

    This pic is at front of the house. I have full length windows and this pic shows 2 damp courses??? The one at the bottom is the one that runs round the whole house at same level. The second one is just below the new level of the air bricks but only runs at the front and then stops??? There is also no air bricks round the front of the house
  16. liamthefirst

    liamthefirst Member

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    Will get few pics tomorrow for you to have a gander at, would be good to see what you think.
  17. online

    online Member

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    Great stuff, I'll keep my eye out. :smashin:
  18. online

    online Member

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    Well, that makes no sense at all. The second dpc is a mystery to me - are there any weep holes (open vertical joints) anywhere below this? It maay answer the question.

    As for the ground level, same applies to the first image - it ain't right.

    Will be intersted to see how this pans out......
  19. liamthefirst

    liamthefirst Member

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    Thanks for your help/input will post some pics tomorrow.
  20. John

    John Moderator

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    I think the second dpc will run from the top , down the cavity and back onto the lover level dpc. I am about to have something similar installed on the extension I am building. Builder says its overkill but wants to do it for belts and braces due to the level of next doors garden
  21. online

    online Member

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    It would be a cavity tray John but I can see (guessing not seeing the whole job) no reason for it, it would also need to have weep holes along the lower course to be effective - if not it will do more harm than good.

    If, like in your case it was to run down to the existing DPC it would need to do so at the same level. That is from it's installation point down the cavity and lapping onto the lower DPC on the outer leaf draining via the weep holes preventing any moisture coming into contact with the inner leaf, there doesn't appear to be any weep holes present here - I may be wrong.

    I can see what you are saying about your extension, if next doors ground level is higher than what your DPC will be around the building a vertical, impermiable membrane will be necessary on that elevation with a stepped DPC (150mm over ground level) and possibly an Aco or French drain arrangement.
  22. liamthefirst

    liamthefirst Member

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    ImageUploadedByAVForums1367822687.714714.jpg
    The garage is mine
    ImageUploadedByAVForums1367822711.611822.jpg
    The part with two dpc's is just to the left of drain pipe and does have some small silicon weep tubes sticking out.
    ImageUploadedByAVForums1367822735.667773.jpg
    ImageUploadedByAVForums1367822762.102522.jpg
    ImageUploadedByAVForums1367822779.134224.jpg
    ImageUploadedByAVForums1367822797.211251.jpg
    ImageUploadedByAVForums1367822815.184984.jpg
    Just to show how high the garage is compared to the house
    Last edited: May 6, 2013
  23. online

    online Member

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    Wow - these put a whole new light on things.

    Its difficult to get an accurate perspective from photos, is the garage door at the rear level (apart from the threshold) with the garage floor?

    Roughly speaking the house is 6" too low and the garage is 6" too high, neither of which sit with ground level - from the road level the ground slopes toward the house with an incline toward the garage, the grass level in image #2 is where it should be throughout.

    There are a whole host of issues with this (including the tree which is way too close to the building).

    Have you got the original drawings? You're going to need them to tackle this before going any further.

    The ground level around the house needs to be lowered with steps upto the front and rear gardens and with appropriate drainage to suit - you can already see the damage in some areas where the DPC has been compromised.

    The garage is what it is now and once the levels are correct the steps will need to be adjusted accordingly, it's not the best method that they appear to be built off the slabs.

    Aside from the damage to the building, aesthetics and the fact that it just ain't right there are future problems waiting here - if/when you come to sell any surveyor worth their salt will spot the issues straight away, it may also affect your buildings insurance in the event of any claim where fault might be directed at these defects.
  24. liamthefirst

    liamthefirst Member

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    Ok thanks for looking. What would you say is my first port of call? As you said NHBC are no good (would have to agree).

    I must say I'm sort of worrying a little.

    You say you can see some damage already. What parts?

    Liam
  25. Wahreo

    Wahreo Well-Known Member

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    Pic 6, look under the cat flap, looks like the bricks above the DPC has water in. Any signs inside the house?
  26. online

    online Member

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    Don't worry about it mate, it is something that does need to be sorted and it's going to cost somebody a fair few quid - you just need to make sure that it's not you.

    I argue with builders for a living so know what its like trying to get issues like this sorted, you just need to make sure you have the answers for when the BS comes out.

    First thing to do is ask building control to have a look, they will confirm non compliance with building regulation requirements. They are looking for compliance and "minimum" standards only so won't usually comment on anything over and above, they may also charge for the visit (£150 where I am) but you will need confirmation from them which is enough on it's own really.

    Second, you need the drawings - front and rear elevations at least, I can almost guarantee that they will not look like finished article as far as the levels go. These should be available from building control who will have at least an electronic copy available - local planning dept. may also help.

    Third, once you have this information you can tackle the builder and NHBC, I say NHBC because (although hard work) they will need to be aware of the issues and "official" complaint. Put everything in writing or preferably email if thats possible, avoids "lost" paperwork, didn't receive" etc.

    The damage is the fact that damp is already evident above the DPC in some areas, this will only get worse, is unsightly and can leave a permanent tidemarks/staining and will ultimately find it's way where it's not wanted. Not good on a new property.

    I can't immediately see any reason for the cavity tray in that one particular area, there could be a number of reasons and I would only be guessing - it's odd why there only that short section, I have no idea, that is the only section?

    The tree has potential to cause problems in the future, what is it? You need to know it's mature height - general rule of thumb is the height of the mature tree away from the building.

    Let me know how it goes and don't accept any proposal for remedial works until you have run it by someone - I'm happy to assist.
  27. liamthefirst

    liamthefirst Member

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    Thanks for the help.

    Been in touch with my local building control. They have told me that they had nothing to do with this site and it was all signed off through NHBC. So been in touch with NHBC and started a new claim.

    Just been looking at some of the other houses up the road and they all seem to have vents all around the house. Mine has got vents on back of house and round the side (between garage) should I have them at the front as well?

    Liam.
  28. liamthefirst

    liamthefirst Member

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    just to update this, it has all just been nearly finished.

    what the builders have done is so far

    - lowered the garage floor ( broke up concrete removed block and beams re made lower and re done block and beam to correct height)

    - lowered all round the side and rear of house. (extending the rear so not to feel closed in, a 3 height wooden sleeper wall holding back the grass and new drainage connecting to storm drains)

    - lowered the front driveway putting in acco drain at the front of the garage.



    one question if someone can help/advise me.

    The garage was and still is block and beam. before the work was done the void under was ventilated with air bricks. now this work has been done the air bricks have been removed and nothing put back. i know its just a garage but would like to know if this void needs ventilation or not?
  29. beecee

    beecee Member

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    you only need to vent timber floors, as its to stop the timber joists rotting, beam and block don't require to be vented. you still need the dpc though.
  30. liamthefirst

    liamthefirst Member

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    Thanks.

    Why would the old block and beam have been ventilated?

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