Can any builders give me advice please!

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Rosie1974 | 22:43 Fri 31st Aug 2007 | Property
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We are considering buying a 150 year old 2 bed terraced cottage. It was modernised 22 years ago when a first floor extension was added to make a second bedroom and add an upstairs bathroom. A ground floor wall was removed to make the living room bigger. The survey says
It has been neglected for some years and needs the following work -
1) Joists replacing upstairs as the ones there are only just strong/big enough and the studded bathroom walls have dropped by about 1 inch leaving a gap at the junction with the ceiling.
2) Render outside and replace lintels and add new windows. (Extreme damp in front wall).
3) Install chemical damp proofing and internal waterproof plaster.
We know the cost of central heating, new kitchen and bathroom, but would like to know roughly how much the building will cost - we know it will be at least 20K but is it likely to be nearer 30K or even more?
Any advice appreciated - we would not do the work ourselves as we know nothing about building!
Would we be liable for any damage to neighbouring properties (its a terrace) or would the builders be liable?
4) Install roof insulation.
5) New fascia and guttering.
6) Foundations probably shallow - need re-doing?
Frost has caused some external cracking.


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Im not a builder. But we are currently selling our house which is nearly 100 years old. But the surveyor picked out absolutely everthing you could think of.

Since then i have had independant quotes for some of the things he mentioned (before the purchaser starts to negioate on price) and actually half the things he said i.e rising damp and found that most of what he mentioned was just covering his back and im sure to warrent spending that much money on a full report. Didn't need doing at all.
I am a builder/carpenter & joiner and I agreewith the aove. I I call these people scaremongers because thats what they do, they have No or very little practical experiance and follow everything by the letter - and some more to cover thier backs in case they got it wrong. Try and get hold of a builder who has done some work for someone you know for recamendation and get them to make a proper asessment of the work neaded. I was once called to a friends house which he had just paid alot of money for and he had been told that he could have dry-rot and it could have done �30,000 worth of damage. It cost �400 to put it right and took two days.
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Thanks - I had the survey done as we have no idea about building and I was concerned about the structural aspect. I thought the report gave a good picture - the joists that need strengthening/replacing is my biggest worry and possibly damaging walls of neighbours each side. You can see the walls are full of damp due to black patches and the damp meter showed red. It really is in a very sorry state.
If we bought it we would obviously want the work done properly, as if we went to sell in 5 years time someone else would get their own survey done...
Our surveryor's meter also went red and made bleeping noises. But when we got an independant damp man round there was only one small patch of damp. His meter didn't show up any of what the surveyor's meter did.
when you say frost has caused some external cracks what are you refering to? an existing render which has to be removed before the new is applied?
i thought that something like render is expensive, �35-�50 m2
why do you think the foundation needs underpinning?if the house has been around for 150yrs surely thats proof its stable
i think that the cost of your joist replacement is one the cheapest and easiest jobs to do, and new studding to the bathroom walls is easy and allows the possibility of a new layout
probably the only thing you dont mention is a rewire, this is a big project you,re taking on if it goes ahead. are you sure this is what you want to do,bearing in mind your lack of experience
the thing i agree with most is the moisture meter lack of credibility.they can be set off by the palm of your hand they are so sensitive
i would advise spending �20-25 on the Householders Bible, a book with an orange cover from smiths or waterstones. vv useful and will stand you in good stead for the future as this is obviously an area you wish to move into
it is a very specific book
On one of those house buying shows on TV it said those damp monitors are only for wood not plastered / brick walls.
Plus, I think half of the work you mention in the OP would qualify as grant work anyway, the warm front programme i think it is called.
As this is quite possibly the largest purchase you have ever/will ever make, why follow the advice of the doom-mongerers and skimp ?

Did you have a 'mortgage-survey' done ? This is where the tea-boy from your mortgage company gets sent round to make sure that the financiers are lending you less than the house will be worth.............

Or did you have a 'proper' structural survey done ? This will be by an RICS acredited surveyor who has spent years training and will appraise you of any current/future problems already identifiable.

All structural items are important.........but you may wish to discuss with a reputable contractor in which order they should best be approached............
Roof Insulation is probably somewhere at the end of the list of things to do..............but naturally, will have an impact on your fuel bills and will be required to conform with the new HIPS pack.
Any reputable builder ought to carry his own indemnity insurance (which you should ask to see) to cover any 'accidents' to your property or your neighbours or any passers-by.........
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I'm grateful for everybody's comments.
Terence - yes the existing render is cracking and needs to come off. What exactly does the householders bible cover - just renovating or houses in general?
Someone from southern electric came the other day to change/upgrade the meter, and he said that the electrics were all ok.
Dot - the warm front programme will be worth us looking into, thanks for that.
Monkeyeyes - yes it was a full structural survey by a chartered structural engineer.
The report says that settlement of the road outside was noted - what does this mean please? Rosie
rosie hi the bible is isbn no 0-9548674-0-8 for 6th edition 19.95 by mark brinkley, look on ebay or read first in waterstones etc
the first book in its field to mix info /advice with detailed yardstick costings for residential building projects by an experienced housebuilder/renovator
so much for the blurb pick it up and check it out, u will not be sorry 3d home designer cd-rom for �10, what a asset

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