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Property Renovation

All the TV programmes like "Homes under the Hammer" and "Cowboy Builders" emphasise how important it is to get a real construction expert on your side if you are considering the Renovation of any Property.


Common Property Defects

There are lots of potential problems that can cost a lot of money if you do not spot them before You buy a property for renovation:-

Flat Roofs

The lifespan of a flat roof covering is much shorter than that of tiles or slates.

If a flat roof is leaking it will be obvious from inside the building - modern flat roof technology has improved considerably but large flat roof areas can still be very costly to replace.

External Ground Level.

The external ground level should be at least 150mm (6”) below the damp proof course.

Drives and patios are often re-laid by amateurs who breach this important guideline.

Often the ground level is too high because there is a real problem with getting rainwater to drain away from the building and so this sort of fault can be very costly to put right.

Injected Damp Proof Course

This involves drilling a series of holes adjacent to where the original DPC would have been and injecting them with a fluid which will increase the density of the brickwork and prevent dampness passing through.

Such treatment is normally covered by a warranty and if the company that issued the warranty has ceased trading the work may need to be carried out again by a bigger company that will probably charge a lot more because its guarantees are actually worth having.

Chimneys Stacks

There may be planning restrictions on the removal of old chimney stacks.

If not, and the stacks need to be repointed or they are leaning over consider the removal of the stack entirely - it will add value by adding space within the building at comparatively low cost.


Trees are notorious for the effect they can have on foundations and drains.

But not all trees are the same - the type must be identified before jumping to conclusions as foundation movement can be caused by all sorts of things.

Never - under any circumstances - jump to conclusions on the cause of cracking in the walls of a building.


Some movement is to be expected in older style properties and is usually only treated as a serious defect if it is recent or progressive. If there has been significant structural movement to a property you will need to get a survey report from a Qualified Engineer - Surveyors do not have the skills required to do this.

Lateral Restraint Tie Bars

Lateral restraint tie bars run through the property from side to side and will have visible plates showing on the side of the property.

They work by restraining a bowing gable wall by tying bulging brickwork back to the internal floor structure.

It is more common to see these fitted on older style Victorian properties but they still work now.

However the best way to hold a building together that has bulging walls is to install a perimeter concrete tie beam at eaves level - this costs more but is much more effective because the stresses imposed on the existing brickwork are much lower.

Chimney Breasts

Chimney breasts that are no longer in use should be vented to stop the build up of moisture in the adjacent walls that will eventually penetrate through to the internal surface of the chimney breast and cause staining.

Soil & Vent Pipes

Old cast iron soil and vent pipes may not be too rusty too work but the fittings that have been cast in the brickwork will have rusted and the pipework may be just about to fall off the wall.

Sub-floor Ventilation

The ground floor of most old houses consists of a suspended timber joist and board floor. The void beneath requires ventilation to prevent decay and this is provided by air bricks in the external walls.

Extension with a solid concrete floor can block these vents and they have sometimes been blocked to prevent vermin access after they have been damaged.


Both top and bottom sashes in old houses should move easilly with intact sash cords.

Modern uPVC windows are vulnerable to thermal movement and are often poorly fitted. The seal to the double glazed unit can fail allowing condensation to become trapped between the two pieces of glass and this will need the sealed unit to be replaced.

Timber Insect Attack

Wood boring beetles thrive in warm damp areas so it is advisable to look closely in areas where the timber is usually exposed such as in understairs cupboards or on stairs down to basements

Electrical Installation

A modern consumer unit does not necessarily mean that the property has been re-wired - look at the wiring in some of the sockets to see whether the insulation is pvc or the old rubber type.

Most older propertiers will have a host of wiring defects but it may not be too costly to bring the installation up to date it is done before the property is replastered.

Removed Chimney Breasts.

Was Building Regulation approval sought - if Gallows Brackets have been used on lime mortar walls they may be unsafe.

Is there an old chimney stack in the roof space that is about to fall into a bedroom?

Loft Conversions

If there is a Building Regulation completion certificate for a loft conversion then it should be fine - but if there is not it is extremely like that it is structurally unsafe and will not have the required means of escape in the case of fire.


Contact Pentacon

If you are thinking of buying a property to renovate or have already bought one and have found some severe defects Pentacon would be pleased to help.

So give me a call and email me any photos of the building and any other relevant information.

I will provide free advice in an Email on how to deal with your Problem.

Just text or call me on 07557 966 459.

I look forward to hearing from You



Best Regards


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