Structural Letter Report on Two-Storey End of Terrace Property
This structural inspection report was prepared and commissioned under the instructions of our client, Shannon &Guy Harper. We have been requested by our client to carry out a general site inspection of property of the whole property,
where cracking had occurred in multiple places, located at 36 Meadlands Drive, Richmond in the area of figure highlighted below. A single, non-disruptive site visit inspection was conducted on the 10th Friday January 2020. The weather condition at the time of the inspection was clear and cold.
This report is intended primarily for information and is to be read in conjunction with any other specialist reports and investigations. In accordance with our standard practice we must point out that this report is based upon our inspection of
the premises and any other information made available to us, both written and oral, which we have assumed to be correct. Structural Engineering Services will not accept liability to any third party for any loss, consequential or otherwise, for whole or parts of the conclusion and recommendations provided in this report.
Brief Description of The Existing Property
The property appears to be a two-storey end of terrace house build approximately around the 1950s. The
property appears to be formed with a brickwork façade, timber floors and traditional cut roof. The local geological map has been highlighted in the figure indicated below. The superficial deposits below the property is Alluvium which is a combination of clay, silt, sand and peat and Kempton Park gravel member which is combination of sand and gravel. The underlying bedrock appears to be London Clay therefor, clay is expected to be found at various depths below the property. We carried out a non-intrusive general site inspection of the property to observe and note any structural concerns that may have occurred and provide any necessary recommendations for structural repair work.
With regards to the ground floor of the main building:
- In the kitchen several hairline cracks can be observed.
- A tapered hairline crack on the ceiling perpendicular to the floor joists.
- A horizontal cracking in the rear elevation wall.
- Small hairline crack is observed above the door opening near lintel bearing, small vertical crack is observed in the flank wall near the ceiling going behind the cupboards. The crack only appears only on the inside and no signs of cracking on the exterior brickwork has been observed.
- In the living/dining room more cracking has been observed.
- Small hairline cracks have been observed in the ceiling of the living/dining area.
- Small bow is observed in the decorative timber above the chimney at ceiling level.
- Similar bowing of decorative timber is observed in the rear corner of the living/dining room
- Small hole is observed in the ground floor ceiling of the living/dining room.
With regards to the first floor of the main building:
- The client has confirmed that the toilet had flooded and has caused the floor to bounce excessively. The timber joists span side to side and were exposed for inspection. The timbers look in relatively fair condition but show signs of water damage and dampness.
- In the first floor bedroom 1 adjacent to the bathroom a few cracks has been observed. The door frame seems to have deflected and dropped slightly on the right hand side.
- Small hairline crack has been observed above the entrance of bedroom 1.
- A single hairline crack spanning the entire width of bedroom 1 is visible. The single crack diverges into smaller cracks at approximately mid-span of the room width.
- Another hairline crack is observed in the corner of bedroom 1. Initially travelling vertically and then diagonally towards the window opening.
- Small crack in the ceiling of bedroom 1
- Small diagonal crack in the corner of bedroom 1
- Several cracks are observed in the ceiling of the bathroom
- Bedroom 2 door frame is tilting to one side and supports glazing to top of frame. Glazing does not seem to be damaged
- The loft area with props coming down on the wall separating bedroom 1 and bedroom 3
With regards to the exterior of the property:
- The exterior of the property is in reasonably good condition. However, some of the roof tiles above the party wall line seem to have shifted slightly.
Conclusion and Recommendations
- The property is overall in fairly good condition. Fine hairline cracks are fairly common for properties of this approximate age and are not considered of structural significance. These cracks can be left untouched or masked using normal decoration and suitable linings as defined in the Digest 251 ‘Assessment of damage in low rise buildings’
- The floor joists in the bathroom show signs of damp and the client has expressed his concern about the level of deflection and squeaking. Since this area has been subject to flooding in the recent past we would recommend that the floor joists are completely exposed and inspected for damage. Although we have inspected some of the floor joists which showed signs of damp there may be areas where the timbers have deteriorated excessively. New timber joists can be installed between the existing joists. This would provide additional strength to the floor and prevent it from bouncing and deflecting excessively.
- The wall separating the first floor landing and the bathroom seems to be solid and sitting directly on the joists. This area seems to have dropped causing cracking and deflection in the window frame above the door frame in bedroom 1 and the bathroom. This his potentially caused by the movement of the wall separating the bathroom and the first floor landing.
- The wall is to be exposed in order to determine its construction. The floor joists below the wall need to be exposed in order to ascertain how the wall is supported. If the wall is solid masonry we would propose a steel beam to span side to side above the kitchen to support that wall. Alternatively, if the wall is stud we would expect the joist below to be doubled up or tripled depending on the span of the joists above the kitchen. Condition of these timbers to be inspected and potentially replaced and/or reinforced using additional timber.
- The cracking at the flank wall of the property is unlikely to have developed in the
blockwork. However, the plasterwork in this area could be removed partially in order to expose the blockwork and assess if any cracks are visible. The cracks are less than 5 mm wide and classified by Digest 251 as category 2 of damage ‘cracks easily filled’ and are easily masked using suitable linings. The crack is not visible on the external face of the brickwork.
- The slight sagging of the decorative timber above the chimney and in the corner of the living/dining room are likely result of poor workmanship and is unlikely to have structural implications.
- Cross braced timber noggins are provided between the existing floor joists. It appears that one of the cross braces has protruded below the ceiling line and is visible in the lounge/dining room ceiling. The timber joists are to be exposed in this location in order to rectify the cross bracing timbers.
- The cracking in bedroom 1 may have been caused by the deteriorating ceiling joists due to dampness. Ceiling
joist to be exposed, inspected and potentially replaced. The cracking is less than 5mm and easily masked using suitable linings as per Digest 251 ‘Assessment of damage in low-rise buildings’
- Although the soil below the property is likely to contain clay (refer to figure 4) and there is a medium size tree to the front of the property, no signs of settlement or heave have been observed.