I am buying my first house yay! However, my home buyer report has returned some concerning things regarding damp and the roof. I have made it clear to the estate agents manager that I want the damp and the roof sorted before going any further… Not sure why I am dealing with the manager after initially dealing with a friendly helpful estate agent, but he is coming across untrustworthy and he is very pushy in his E-mail's trying to speed things up my end, when the hold up is there end and there is nothing required from me on my end besides the sending off the certificate of the title; which I have placed on hold till everything is sorted. It is his passive aggressive manner that has sort of given me alarm bells and made me wish to seek advice. The manager has stated the damp has been assessed and the 'small amount of work' will be done but also states that for the roof 'repairs or remedial work will be part of the maintenance of the fabric of a property'… Unfortunately, I know no one who specialises in roofs or damp and I know no one who has faced any similar issues with their homes/home buying. Can anyone offer any advice about what I should/shouldn't do? The home buyer report sounds as if I could be faced with some big bills in the near future and I am already paying more than what I think I should be for the property… the home buyer report also reflects this in their valuation of the property. The sections in question, from the home buyer report is below:
Section E1 (Chimney stacks): "The brick built chimneystack is somewhat out of plumb, however this is within acceptable tolerances. Some general repair and maintenance will be required. The flaunching (sand and cement support to the traditional terracotta pots), brickwork, stepped lead flashings and lower lead saddles require redressing and repointing. To repair the chimneystacks safely, contractors will have to use appropriate safety equipment e.g. scaffolding, hydraulic platforms, etc. This can increase the cost of the work. In general, chimney pots that serve redundant flues should be removed and the flues capped off and ventilated to minimise the risk of moisture penetration and internal condensation. Alternatively, an appropriate cowl may be fitted. Where there is a shared flue then the capping used should be adequately ventilated to prevent any risk of migration of flue gases and the lining of any adjacent flue still in use should be checked for adequacy."
Section E2 (Roof coverings): "The main roof frame is pitched and covered with Rosemary Clay tiles. No significant defects or distortion of roof pitches were noted from a ground level perspective beyond minor undulations although the covering requires repair and maintenance. Some courses are out of alignment whilst individual tiles have cracked or spalled. Ongoing tile slippage is likely due to progressive nail fatigue and an overhaul of the roof covering may be anticipated within the next few years. In the interim, repairs and maintenance will be required to suit. Should the roof ultimately be recovered in concrete interlocking tiles or similar we would emphasise that these may be considerably heavier than the existing covering that, as a structural alteration, would require relevant Building Regulations approval. This might also entail the strengthening, collaring and bracing of roof timbers to minimise the risk of any longterm deflection. Rebedding and repointing of ridge tiles may be foreseen soon. No ridge, pitch or eaves ventilation of the roof space is present as required under current legislation although this is to be expected within a property of this age. Suitable vents should be installed in the short term to alleviate condensation within the roof space"
Section E4 (Main walls): "No significant bulging or distortion of external brickwork was noted beyond minor undulations and cracking, and only minor areas of patch pointing are required; in particular below damp proof course level. Where walls are rendered this may conceal defects within underlying masonry surfaces. In this instance the rendering appears in generally sound order with no significant defects noted beyond isolated areas of unevenness and hairline surface cracking. It appears that Ordinary Portland Cement has been used to areas of remedial pointing which is rigid, cracks under stress, and is effectively non porous. This can result in the spalling of brickwork through the action of frost leaving the mortar standing proud to collect more water, increasing the masonry’s deterioration and for damp patches to form internally as the moisture evaporates through the more permeable internal finishes. The affected areas should be raked out to a depth of 2530mm and joints and perpends repointed using a lime mortar in a colour and finish which matches the existing. Recessed or strapped mortar joints should not be used. There appears to be a modern chemical injected damp proof course present that is not functional at present as indicated by dampness noted to the base of the internal ground floor walls. We refer you to our comments regarding rising damp in Section F3."
Section F3 (Walls and partitions): "Tests were taken with a moisture meter at random points to internal walls; floors and other surfaces and readings obtained indicate that an unacceptable level of dampness is present. Any timbers in contact with damp walls may be affected by rot. Plaster on walls affected by damp is likely to contain salts from the soil and until such plaster is removed and replaced with a salt and water resistant plaster, the walls will continue to attract moisture. Instruct a competent Property Care Association (PCA) registered damp proofing contractor to provide a report and estimate for these works and any necessary associated repairs. The contractor should provide a properly underwritten longterm guarantee and any defective plaster should be renewed in accordance with the contractor’s specification as failure to do so may nullify the validity of the guarantee. Please also refer to section J1. In conjunction with the above the contractor should carry out a full inspection of timbers and report on the presence or otherwise of dampness, rot and beetle attack. This with a view to carrying out a precautionary approved fungicidal treatment of exposed timbers as necessary."
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