Work needed to old terrace - proceed or pull-out?
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Effy66
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Work needed to old terrace - proceed or pull-out?

by Effy66 » Mon Apr 18, 2022 2:26 pm

Afternoon all,

Firstly, neither I nor my husband are DIYers.. my mind is willing but I don't have the skills or confidence and sadly, no peers to ask. So, I'm on here looking for some advice on a property that we have made an offer on however, following two surveys - full structural and an independent damp survey (IDS), we are unsure whether to proceed. Main concern is that once we commit, any works we might start uncover more than we bargained for and costs will just spiral.

We provided reports to EA as requested and based on cost to bring property up to standard we were able to reduce sale price by £20k. It's a 1900 end terrace with the main two problems being:-

1) Damp to ground floor, lounge, kitchen and dining room which we've been advised by the IDS is due to salt-contaminated plaster and lack of ventilation, air bricks covered up so ground level at front will require lowering, and internally, removing salt-contaminated plaster back to bring and replastering; additional air bricks installing
2) No fire party wall in loft (or kitchen extension).

Additional works required:-
3) Guttering needs a couple of new stop-ends, no guttering to rear porch
4) Roof is only slates on roof timbers, i.e. no covering so that would have to be done at some point, timbers are good though,
5) Repointing to house exterior walls
6) Replace porch flat roof and repoint
7) Replace outhouse corrugated roof and repointing outhouse
8) Repointing to chimney, cover one chimney, put cowl on another, increase ventilation of closed chimney in dining room
9) Gas and electricity - inspections required (concerns here are that we are told heating system is old although boiler is fine but no service certificates); or that place needs to be rewired.
10) Remove door to stairs, replace door from dining room to kitchen

What tradesmen would be needed for the above, builder, roofer.. plasterer?

And there's other smaller jobs, and of course then redecoration, new flooring, shower, possibly new kitchen if damp works means taking out the existing kitchen units.

We have had a very rough estimate from the =surveyor of £16k to get the above works done and we would have £20-25k max, however we appreciate that this may be optimistic and need to get realistic trade quotes for the works. What our main concern is, that we start getting work done and then find out this or that needs replacing which we never budgeted for.

I started researching yesterday fire party walls in lofts and the paperwork/time/work involved and had a bit of a wobbly. Also, there would be very little DIY that either of us could do so it would be all work for trades. Plus, with us both working full time, how can we fit all this work in when we might not be able to get time off to deal with tradesmen at the property?

So now we're both thinking - perhaps we just don't have the experience to go through this project, both mentally and financially. Hubby is not from the UK so not au fait with how things are done here, so it falls to me to basically sort this all out. The house is a good size for a 3 bed end terrace and suits us - that's why we don't know what to do and the market currently where we are is lacking in suitable houses in our price range - they keep going way over asking/guide price and we're outbid every time.

Jobs may not seem a big issue to others and perhaps we're just being overly concerned?? Any advice please? Thanks so much.

stoneyboy
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Joined: Wed Dec 10, 2008 6:44 pm

Re: Work needed to old terrace - proceed or pull-out

by stoneyboy » Tue Apr 19, 2022 11:54 pm

Hi effy66,
From what you say, if you are going to buy a suitable place within your budget, it is very likely it will need renovating. Houses built around the turn of the century were well built, it is what has been done since that creates problems.
Taking each of the items you detail:
1. If you increase sub floor ventilation the majority of the damp problems will cease. Start with the extra ventilation and see what problems this solves - it will take time..
2. Wall in loft can be lightweight aerated blocks - not a problem for a builder/bricklayer.
3. Irrelevant
4. Doesn’t matter as long as roof is sound and there is adequate roof insulation.
5. Unlikely that all walls will need repointing, most likely lower levels only.
6. Not a show stopper
7. If it’s an outhouse this could be done down the line sometime.
8. Also not a show stopper.
9. If boiler is ok leave heating as is until other works are finished. Electrics should have a condition report but beware over enthusiastic electricians - the ones who say you must “comply with current regulations” if the existing installation is ok and remedial improvements are all that is needed.
10. Not a show stopper.

You need to find just one contractor - probably a builder - who can take on the majority of the work ( and the responsibility for overseeing it) using his own employees or trade contacts)
It is likely that there is going to be extra problems - allow for 50% extra.
Bear in mind that if you are going to live in the house while works are carried out it’s going to be messy and stressful.
Cast your eye over the publication on this web site “how do it find a reliable tradesman”
If you decide to go ahead I wish you good luck
Regards S

Effy66
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Labourer
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Apr 18, 2022 2:11 pm

Re: Work needed to old terrace - proceed or pull-out

by Effy66 » Wed Apr 20, 2022 11:00 am

stoneyboy wrote:Hi effy66,
From what you say, if you are going to buy a suitable place within your budget, it is very likely it will need renovating. Houses built around the turn of the century were well built, it is what has been done since that creates problems.
Taking each of the items you detail:
1. If you increase sub floor ventilation the majority of the damp problems will cease. Start with the extra ventilation and see what problems this solves - it will take time..
2. Wall in loft can be lightweight aerated blocks - not a problem for a builder/bricklayer.
3. Irrelevant
4. Doesn’t matter as long as roof is sound and there is adequate roof insulation.
5. Unlikely that all walls will need repointing, most likely lower levels only.
6. Not a show stopper
7. If it’s an outhouse this could be done down the line sometime.
8. Also not a show stopper.
9. If boiler is ok leave heating as is until other works are finished. Electrics should have a condition report but beware over enthusiastic electricians - the ones who say you must “comply with current regulations” if the existing installation is ok and remedial improvements are all that is needed.
10. Not a show stopper.

You need to find just one contractor - probably a builder - who can take on the majority of the work ( and the responsibility for overseeing it) using his own employees or trade contacts)
It is likely that there is going to be extra problems - allow for 50% extra.
Bear in mind that if you are going to live in the house while works are carried out it’s going to be messy and stressful.
Cast your eye over the publication on this web site “how do it find a reliable tradesman”
If you decide to go ahead I wish you good luck
Regards S



Thank you for your response - it's been useful, somewhat reassuring and we will probably proceed.

Our main concern at the moment is... the fire party wall in the loft - or absence of one. Getting one built and either access for the builder via loft, or scaffolding if we were going to get the roof done at the same time. Our plan however was to wait to get the roof done as it's not a problem (though it loft space needs more additional insulation material) but our thought now is that if there's additional work around the top of the house such as a bit of repointing on chimney, fitting cowl etc., to save on scaffolding, it would be better to get everything at top level done all at the same time. Higher initial costs for us but at least top jobs would be done.

What I really need to have is someone who can look at the Level 3 survey and then at the house, and say, nope, that's not essential, yep, get that done now, nope - you don't need to have that done, yep, definitely! What we're basically doing is running through the surveyors points and thinking we need to get every 'problem' repaired when probably some things aren't necessary.

stoneyboy
Project Manager
Project Manager
Posts: 6396
Joined: Wed Dec 10, 2008 6:44 pm

Re: Work needed to old terrace - proceed or pull-out?

by stoneyboy » Wed Apr 20, 2022 10:50 pm

Hi effy66,
If the roof slates are sound then leave well alone. Access through a loft hatch to build a fire break wall is not difficult. Both these would save you a lot on scaffolding. Regards S

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