3 Westgate Street, Southery.

PE38 0PA. United Kingdom.



01945 660504

An Engineering Practice:

Based in the Heart of the Fens, North of Cambridge, Anthony-Johnson offers Structural, Geotechnical, Civil and Environmental Engineering services to Homeowners, Architects, Builders and Businesses in Wisbech, Kings Lynn, Downham Market, Thetford and surrounding areas

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Property Survey:

A client requested my assistance with a Structural Engineers Survey of his Semi Detached Property. The property, which had been placed on the Market, had previously remained unsold, with a prospective buyer “pulling out” of the sale shortly after having received a Structural Engineers report on the property.

Prior knowledge of the report produced by a local Structural Engineer meant that I approached this survey with trepidation. Professional indemnity can inadvertently result in the Engineer being overly Cautious when carrying out a survey for a prospective buyer, thereby finding faults in the property when there are none to be found. In conducting this survey for the vendor, I surveyed the entire exterior of the property, finding little more than a covered Air vent to the underside of the floating timber floor to the front elevation of the property.

A Resin injected DPC to the rear was unfortunately installed to a solid brick wall and whilst correctly corresponding to an internal concrete ground bearing slab, would do little for a property of this age. However, further inspection revealed moss to the exterior face of the wall, extending up to the underside of the original DPC but no further, This indicated that masonry above the original DPC remained dry and free of internal moisture.

The interior of the property was similarly immaculate and the lack of cracks, damp, movement or dry rot within the property itself indicated that it was in sound condition.

In-experienced Building Works

Blockwork Pier debonded from masonry

I was engaged by a local client with a view to carrying out a Structural Survey of her recently completed detached Garage. Built from Single skin Brick, with trussed roof, the structure had been initially designed by an Architect and included Brick Piers integral with the walls. The builder had unfortunately opted to build the Garage differently, opting for a single skin brick wall with blockwork piers, affixed back to the brickwork with wall ties in the Mortar Bed Joints.

The key issue with this solution wasn’t the fact that the blockwork piers had separated from the masonry walls though. It was the fact that the piers, which should have been built up in a “stretcher” and “bearer” fashion from brickwork, so that it formed an integral part of the masonry, was included in the original design to prevent flexure on of the brickwork horizontally. It was on these grounds that I advised the client to withhold further payment to the builder until works were rectified, citing the fact that the building was “not fit for purpose”.

However, the building suffered from other significant defects including a concrete floor that had been poured and troweled so poorly that it was uneven and had “dusted” in places, exposing an uneven, rough finish that was exhibiting excessive wear and had a weakened surface. Laid with a view to carrying vehicular traffic, the surface would have continued to wear to a point where aggregate could be dislodged. During poor weather conditions, vehicles entering the garage would introduce road salts and water to the concrete surface which, given it’s sub-standard finish, would be excessively porous, thereby allowing chemical attack and more deterioration.

I advised the client that the existing surface to the concrete would require grinding back to expose the harder underlying concrete and a bonded screed, suitable for vehicular traffic, poured. This would also remove the issue of the finished floor level being uneven and have the added benefit of achieving the desired finished floor height, thereby minimizing ingress of surface water from the driveway to the front of the building.