A River Runneth

I was appointed to undertake a full building survey (structural survey) of a Grade II listed farmhouse in rural Essex.

When inspecting an outbuilding at the rear of the site, descending the steps into the cellar, I found intact wattle and daub (e.g. infill panels made from made from mud straw applied onto a lattice of branches), covered with haired lime plaster and carpenters marks within the stairwell down to the cellar; fairly typical for a property dating from the 17 Century.

However, on entering the brick paved cellar I found water running freely and continuously from one corner of the cellar.

While the presence of a cellar is fairly typical in properties of this age, I have come across wells within properties previously, I had not seen effectively a water course within a building before.

Channels had been cut into the floor pavers. In the opposite corner (S) of the cellar the pavers have been lifted and an area has been excavated. A modern pre-formed polypropylene, inspection chamber base tray has been positioned in the bottom of the excavation and connected to an out-flow pipe through the rear wall. Water constantly flowed into the drainage tray, both from within the cellar and around the out-flow pipework opening in the wall.

The property owner added the tray and connected it to the surface water drainage, which discharges into the pond at the bottom of the rear garden. This replaced the adjacent sump and sump pump, which was installed by the previous owners. This would suggest that the basement has been “wet” for at least 30 years.

Technically both of these would constitute alterations to the property and should, therefore, have received Listed Building Consent.

As there is no statutory limitation for prosecution for unauthorised alterations to a listed building and I was unsure whether consent had been sought I advised the purchaser to discuss this with their legal advisors.

Project reference code 153.

A River Runneth

I was appointed to undertake a full building survey (structural survey) of a Grade II listed farmhouse in rural Essex.

When inspecting an outbuilding at the rear of the site, descending the steps into the cellar, I found intact wattle and daub (e.g. infill panels made from made from mud straw applied onto a lattice of branches), covered with haired lime plaster and carpenters marks within the stairwell down to the cellar; fairly typical for a property dating from the 17 Century.

However, on entering the brick paved cellar I found water running freely and continuously from one corner of the cellar.

While the presence of a cellar is fairly typical in properties of this age, I have come across wells within properties previously, I had not seen effectively a water course within a building before.

Channels had been cut into the floor pavers. In the opposite corner (S) of the cellar the pavers have been lifted and an area has been excavated. A modern pre-formed polypropylene, inspection chamber base tray has been positioned in the bottom of the excavation and connected to an out-flow pipe through the rear wall. Water constantly flowed into the drainage tray, both from within the cellar and around the out-flow pipework opening in the wall.

The property owner added the tray and connected it to the surface water drainage, which discharges into the pond at the bottom of the rear garden. This replaced the adjacent sump and sump pump, which was installed by the previous owners. This would suggest that the basement has been “wet” for at least 30 years.

Technically both of these would constitute alterations to the property and should, therefore, have received Listed Building Consent.

As there is no statutory limitation for prosecution for unauthorised alterations to a listed building and I was unsure whether consent had been sought I advised the purchaser to discuss this with their legal advisors.

Project reference code 153.