INSPECTIONS AND REPORTS
Need a Basic Quote?
If you are the owner of a property as your primary residence which has a known problem such as woodworm, dry-rot, rising damp, then in many cases we will provide a free inspection and quotation.
Damp / Timber Reports
A significant part of our surveying work is based around providing specialist damp and timber surveys for prospective purchasers or sellers of domestic properties, often as a requirement of a mortgage valuation survey. These surveys start at around £90 + vat for a basic non-invasive damp / timber survey and written report (although larger properties, or properties not located in our immediate local area, are charged at proportionately higher rates). In the vast majority of cases, this level of survey provides sufficient information to the client and / or their lender regarding the extent of problems and the likely cost of remedial work.
Rented or commercial properties
If you are a tenant, landlord or agent, then we make a modest charge, starting from around £90 + vat, to visit, inspect and report on any particular damp, timber or structural problems.
Building / renovation projects
If a contractor or developer has a project in progress then we usually provide free inspections and quotations. If a project is still at the tendering stage then we can often provide a free quotation or ball-park estimate based on architects drawings, measurements or other suitable information, without a physical site visit.
SPECIALIST CONSULTANCY OR CSSW WATERPROOFING DESIGN
This is a service which has seen a significant increase in demand over the past few years. David Reynolds can be engaged on a paid Consultancy basis to provide expert and impartial diagnosis of various damp issues or decay problems, or to provide waterproofing design specifications for basements and other below-ground structures in line with BS8102.2009. We can also advise or specify on methods of damp-proofing buildings and structures of different types.
We can undertake on-site moisture testing for masonry using a Carbide test kit, which gives a much more accurate result than the conductivity-type surface moisture-meters which can occasionally give very misleading results.
Most of our paid consultancy work is carried out on behalf of commercial clients, however we are equally happy to provide this service to individual private clients who are seeking an independent, professional and impartial assessment and diagnosis.
Our consultancy rates are highly competitive in comparison to those of many architects, engineers or chartered surveyors.
Rising damp is a very genuine problem but is widely misunderstood. It's also frequently diagnosed where it doesn't exist at all.
The majority of buildings constructed in Cornwall before around 1900 were not built with any form of damp-proof course (DPC) at the base of the walls, and many have sustained some degree of rising damp which affects only the lower parts of the walls. True rising damp is relatively uncommon in buildings constructed after the Victorian period, however existing damp-proof courses are occasionally “bridged” by higher external ground levels or solid floors, with similar effects to actual rising damp.
The usual remedy is to remove the salt contaminated internal plaster, install a remedial damp-proof course to prevent or control further rising damp, and then to replaster the walls using a system designed to withstand the effects and migration of the residual salts and associated hygroscopic moisture.
Chemical DPC systems
We use a range of BBA Approved liquid and gel based systems to prevent or control rising damp. These are installed at the base of effected walls via a series of small holes drilled into the masonry. Liquid DPCs are usually installed using low-pressure injection or irrigation methods to treat the intended course of masonry, whilst the more concentrated gel systems are designed to diffuse slowly into the substrate.
This involves the introduction of a low static electrical charge into the masonry, via a series of titanium wire anodes installed into the base of the walls and connected to a mains electrical circuit via a small transformer. This static charge interferes with the surface tension which is essentially responsible for creating capillary action, and thereby eliminates any further rising damp.
BASEMENTS AND CELLARS - Waterproofing design.
We specialise in the design and / or installation of structural waterproofing systems in existing basements and cellars, and in new underground structures.
This may be to provide basic damp-proofing for a storage or workshop area, or a full waterproofing system installed to BS8102 for use in a domestic living area.
We can design a bespoke structural waterproofing system, whether to be undertaken by the client or other contractors, or installed by or experienced team.
As full members of the British Structural Waterproofing Association – BSWA – we are completely independent of any contractual links to particular manufacturers or systems, and whilst we often adopt the materials and designs of larger system manufacturers such as Newton we are free to design, specify, install and fully guarantee our own bespoke system using one (or a combination) of the various excellent systems and products on the market.
Often mis-used, the term ‘tanking’ is defined as the complete sealing of a below-ground structure to literally form a tank to withstand water ingress. There are many tanking products available, and those most commonly used on existing structures are cement-based waterproof slurry coats (such as Vandex or Thoroseal) or render systems (such as Sika). The tanking products we use are BBA Approved, however their performance in service is dependent on the suitability and preparation of the substrate, and we therefore only usually specify a tanking system where there is a very low risk of hydrostatic water pressure.
Water management (cavity-drain) membrane systems
Much more effective and reliable than conventional tanking, these systems involve the installation of a moulded plastic ‘cavity-drain’ membrane, designed to allow water penetration through the masonry walls where it is controlled and channelled to a drainage system within the floor, sometimes incorporating a sump and electric pump. In the majority of situations these systems have significant advantages over normal tanking methods.
There are a number of different species of wood-boring beetle that can be found in buildings throughout the UK, including Common Furniture Beetle and Deathwatch Beetle – the two main species requiring remedial treatment.
We use a number of different preservatives and application methods, depending on the individual circumstances of the infestation; including surface spray treatments, application of paste- or gel-based treatments, and injection of liquid- or gel-based preservatives.
We only use treatments containing either Permethrin or Boron (Borate) as the preservative ingredient. These are highly effective and very safe products with odourless (or very low odour) characteristics, meaning that in many cases treatments can be carried out whilst the building is occupied, without any health risk to the occupiers.
DRY-ROT AND WET-ROTS
A good understanding of the nature and biology of wood-rotting fungi enables us to undertake effective remedial treatment with the minimum of disturbance.
In most cases some degree of timber replacement will be necessary, however the targeted application of deep-penetrating preservatives enables us to preserve in-situ timbers which many of our competitors would remove with associated additional cost and disruption.
In most cases we use only the safest Boron (Borate) based preservatives in solid, gel or liquid forms to eradicate fungal infections and to preserve new or existing timbers.
We are also able to undertake general building and timber repair work often associated with fungal decay problems, and we also specialise in timber-resin repairs using the patented Rotafix TRS system.
We are able to undertake low-disturbance, working structural repairs for most common structural problems including bowed walls, failed lintels, settlement / subsidence cracks, failed or corroded cavity wall-ties and many other problems.
In most cases we would design and install a remedial system based on helical steel technology, where thin stainless steel helical reinforcing bars are bonded into the masonry using resins or grouts. We can easily and cost-effectively solve most common structural problems by undertaking well-established working methods, successfully proven over time.
Where more unusual problems are encountered, we can usually provide a custom repair system designed and tailored specifically for the circumstances. Our helical steel repair systems are suitable for use on almost all types of masonry including thick traditional stone walls, and even buildings constructed of cob.
PLASTERING AND POINTING
In addition to specialist damp-proofing, structural work and timber preservation, we can also undertake any associated building work.
This may range from simple, localised replastering to the extensive renovations of an older property.
We often undertake renovation work using traditional lime materials for plastering, external repointing and rendering. Our extensive experience has shown these to have major benefits – both in terms of damp control and appearance. Visit www.cornishlime.co.uk for further information.