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Building/ Structural Surveys
Typical semi-detached three storey house with cellar from just before WWI. The chimneys have been removed probably because they were in very poor condition and the roof replaced with a modern concrete tile one which raised concern about the structures ability to support the extra weight. Blocked cellar ventilation was a big threat to the property encouraging dampness which has caused decay of a joist and encouraged beetles. When the house was designed no thought had been given to protecting the occupier of the attic room from fire and the stairs to the attic room were steep with winding treads and difficult to use in the dark. An attempt to cover frost damaged bricks appeared to have used plaster rather than a sand and cement render which would make it vulnerable to water damage. The property had old lead water supply pipe and a corroding metal gas pipe. Insualtion of the attic room was considerably substandard.
Front view. The property has been re-roofed and a chimney demolished. Unusualy the bay window has been demolished. The reason is not clear.
Slates used to cap a redundant chimney. Our surveyors thought that it would be better if the chimney was also vented top and bottom to help prevent condensation.
Stains on the walls follow the lines of chimneys and are likely to be caused by acidic condensates of combustion soaking into the wall. This indicated to our surveyors that the interior of the chimney is likely to be in very poor condition due to the prolonged acid attack.
A crude and unsightly attempt to externally insulate the property which has solid walls and will be cold and prone to condensation
This wall appears to have been rendered with plaster which does not perform well in damp conditions. It should be rendered with a lime and sand based render which will allow it to breath. Modern cement based redners lock moistre into the building which with this type of property is unhelpful. The loss of paint is probably due to rain water blowing over the roof edge due to a poor roof edge detail.
A former coal drop which has now been blocked up depriving the cellar of a source of ventilation. Ventiation helps reduce condesnation that can encourage decay and beetles.
Beads of condensation on the floor joists and insualtion due to poor ventilation in the cellar.
Dceay of a joist end in a location that can only be due to condensation due to the poor ventialtion.
Props used to support the decayed floor joist. Note the plastic bags that block vents situated under the front door step. The rusty pipe is an active gas pipe that should be replaced with an alternative non corrosive material such as copper.
Beetle infeastations of the ground floor due to the damp cellar. The lack of a ceiling is a fire hazard
Damage to decoration on the side of the chimney breast. Porbably due to condensation in a cold corner or due to contaminates escaing from the chimney in which case the bricks should be sealed with a cement render.
A crude attempt to level a solid kichen floor that has slumped due to failure to compact the base before laying the floor.
Lead water supply pipe. In softwater areas the water is acidic and can attack the lead. This is not a problem in Melbourne as the water is less acidic and the minerals form a scale on the lead isolating it from the water over time.
Plaster forced thorugh lathes to secure it on an attic partition. The plaster is brittle and will easily break over time. There is no insualtion on the back of the partition so the room will be very cold.
Note the substantial timber that supports the attic floor compared to those of the adjcent bathroom ceiling. The substantial timbers suggest that the attic room ws purpose built. The plastic roof liner is unhelpful as it will encoruage condensation. Modern linrs are breathable.
These steps are immediately beyond a door making them a fall hazard. The door and those frontning the hall and landing should be helf hour fire resisting to protct the ocupier of the roof void and provide an esacpe corridor.
Steep steps with narrow tapering treads will require great care to use safely.