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Sloped Floor Landing: What Steps Should I Be Taking?


phammond

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Hi All,

I could really use your input on this situation.  I'm in the process of buying a semi-detached house that was built in the 1920-ish.  The first floor landing slopes to one side (very noticeable was you stand on it) that makes me quite concerned.  The vendors have said they've had a RSJ beam installed in place of a wall that was removed on the ground floor, below the first floor landing and have said that the slope is not an issue.  We have a Level 3 building survey being carried out on the property in a few weeks but the surveyor says they won't be lifting carpet/floor boards etc. and that they will recommend other contractors to do an intrusive survey if they deem necessary.  

What steps should I take in order to make sure I have a definitive answers as to what why the first floor may be tilted and how to get it fixed?  I have always assumed having a Level 3 survey is the best next step but as it's none-intrusive, is there a better option?  Obviously none of these things are cheap and I understand that I'd need to pay to get these answers but I don't want to have to pay people just to be told to speaker to (and pay) someone else.

Thanks for any input or experience with this you may have.

Philip.

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You really need to find out why the floor is sloping. Is there subsidence - does the whole house slope that way? Are there cracks showing movement? is it a floor board problem? Is the RSJ at the right height / or the correct width?

I would ask to see the building control documents for the removal of the wall & the calculations for the RSJ. Perhaps get it checked out by a structural engineer.

Once you know the reason you can decide on a course of action.

Good luck :)

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2 hours ago, julia urquhart said:

You really need to find out why the floor is sloping. Is there subsidence - does the whole house slope that way? Are there cracks showing movement? is it a floor board problem? Is the RSJ at the right height / or the correct width?

I would ask to see the building control documents for the removal of the wall & the calculations for the RSJ. Perhaps get it checked out by a structural engineer.

Once you know the reason you can decide on a course of action.

Good luck :)

Thanks J.  Would you suggest having a structural engineer look at it prior to having the RICS survey done?  Or would having them both done in either order be a good choice anyway?

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If you have raised the concern with the surveyor pre-survey and they aren’t willing to open it up, are they the correct surveyors ? (I’d stick with a surveyor re: diagnosis as opposed to an engineer). 
You want to know; what caused the movement and when (as in recent or historic); has the cause been remediated; and is the remediation of a sufficient standard.  
Regarding a ‘fix’, if the slope is tolerable and the movement has been remediated, is work justified ? 

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10 hours ago, alastairkennedy said:

If you have raised the concern with the surveyor pre-survey and they aren’t willing to open it up, are they the correct surveyors ? (I’d stick with a surveyor re: diagnosis as opposed to an engineer). 
You want to know; what caused the movement and when (as in recent or historic); has the cause been remediated; and is the remediation of a sufficient standard.  
Regarding a ‘fix’, if the slope is tolerable and the movement has been remediated, is work justified ? 

Thanks, A.  The surveyor has stated that they do not do "intrusive inspections" but I've told the vendors that we'd need the carpet lifted and floorboard lifted so that the surveyor can look in and assess.  I'm concerned the vendors may refuse but if they do, we'll need it lifted and inspected at some point prior to purchase so we know what's going on.  Is that fair?

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It depends on your appetite for risk.  You should be able to determine the probable cause of movement from inspection; and from decorations/finishes/skirtings/etc the approx age of repair, and if further movement has occurred.  All without opening up.  
To understand what repair was done, you need to open up.  But, do you honestly care about fully understanding the detail of repair if all evidence points to the repair being successful without further movement over a significant period of time.  If effective, you aren’t going to be changing it. 

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4 hours ago, alastairkennedy said:

It depends on your appetite for risk.  You should be able to determine the probable cause of movement from inspection; and from decorations/finishes/skirtings/etc the approx age of repair, and if further movement has occurred.  All without opening up.  
To understand what repair was done, you need to open up.  But, do you honestly care about fully understanding the detail of repair if all evidence points to the repair being successful without further movement over a significant period of time.  If effective, you aren’t going to be changing it. 

Thanks for your input, A

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I would let the surveyor do his thing and ask to see all relevant paperwork, then you can decide whether you need to get a structural engineer or not. if your vendor is shy about giving you information I would take that as a bad sign - if they are open and honest about what has been done, with all the relevant paperwork, I would feel more confident.

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18 hours ago, julia urquhart said:

I would let the surveyor do his thing and ask to see all relevant paperwork, then you can decide whether you need to get a structural engineer or not. if your vendor is shy about giving you information I would take that as a bad sign - if they are open and honest about what has been done, with all the relevant paperwork, I would feel more confident.

Thanks J. Fingers crossed it's only a cosmetic issue.

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