Case Study: Suspect Damp Proofing Failure

Introduction

Water penetration problem in privately rented residence. In the 1990s, the private landlord converted a rural stonewalled building into living accommodation. The conversion included new ground-bearing floors with thermal insulation, damp-proof barriers and the walls refurbished using modern dry linings and damp-proof membranes. The building being partially built into a hillside, the design included a drain. The refurbishment functioned without fault for over 20 years until localized damp patches began to appear. This gradually extended from the base of earth retaining walls to almost all perimeter walls. The tenant was moved to another property. The building’s partial below ground situation focused all assumptions on speculated failure of the damp-proofing measures.

Work undertaken

H+R were asked to investigate. Early investigations involving infrared thermal imaging indicated a significant thermal anomaly. This helped identify a slight, but the sole moisture source as a progressively increasing leak from a concealed central heating pipe. The damp-proof barriers had not failed, but had in fact contained the leaking water. This eventually spread across the entire footprint of the building, the wall and floor finishes absorbing it upwards.

How we solved the problem

Despite the extensive escape of water, rapid and accurate moisture source detection facilitated a quick repair. H+R specified and monitored accelerated drying and rehabilitation works. Our professional involvement facilitated the landlord’s negotiations with the insurance provider. For the insurer, H+R certified the damage restitution as complete.