A Structural Engineers Specific Structural Inspection Report (SSI) for a first-floor conversion flat in Southfields, South West London.

A freeholder contacted us because of a lack of landlord’s consent following the construction of a ground floor rear extension.

Specific Inspection Report, Southfields, South West London

Reason for contacting us

A freeholder contacted us because of a lack of landlord’s consent following the construction of a ground floor rear extension. The landlord wanted reassurance that the property remained safe now that the ground floor extension was complete. They asked us to comment on damage to the first floor flat which may or may not have occurred because of the building work.

Pole Structural Engineers Reports were contacted by the landlord who was seeking a reputable, independent, and highly experienced structural engineering firm specialising in engineers’ reports in the Southfields area of South West London.

Pole service offer

In response to the client’s requirements our qualified Chartered Structural Engineer recommended a Specific Inspection Report.

There are two distinct types of structural engineers reports:

1)   A localised, very specific and limited Structural Engineers Defect Report or a Specific Structural Inspection Report (SSI);

2)   A broader Structural Engineers General Movement Report, or General Structural Inspection Report (GSI), which focuses on matters of cracking and movement only.

Specific-Inspection-Report-SouthfieldsOur Report

A familiar mid-terrace period property has long been converted into separate ground and first floor flats.

A single-storey rear extension with side return had been built some three years earlier and, while Town Planning permission and Building Regulations approval had been obtained, the ground floor lessee had omitted to obtain landlord’s consent.

In recent times the landlord had noted cracking to the first floor flat and was concerned that this may have occurred either during the building work or because of lack of support following the removal of various walls to facilitate the ground floor rear extension.

Our Findings

The property in SW18 was found to be commensurate with age with the normal signs of historic settlement, which were of long standing and independent of the matter in hand.

We found the first-floor flat decoration to be extremely dated with a range of normal plaster cracks due to old lath and plaster and very aged decoration.

There were all manner of shrinkage cracks and normal vertical gaps between abutting walls, and cracks between wall and ceilings, all entirely normal. But we found no sign of any deflection-related cracking and, crucially, no sign of any structural distress in any of the loadbearing walls above.

All the damage was confined to non-loadbearing partitions and to very dated lath and plaster which had not been decorated for some decades.

Our Conclusions

Pole Structural Engineers Reports were able to reassure the landlord that the Southfields property remained safe.

We pointed out that all the cracks were normal plaster cracks. These may or may not have occurred during the building works in the flat below as, no matter how careful a builder, there is always some physical vibration, and it is common to expect minor cracking in such walls during building work.

The learning points include remembering that, as leaseholders, people are obliged to notify their landlords when undertaking any material building work and landlord’s consent is always required for extensions and alterations.

While in theory the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 does not apply when undertaking works to the ground floor in terms of its relationship with the first floor, it is always prudent to have a schedule of condition to record the state of the decoration before and after the building work. This protects both parties, and the builder, and allows a fair conclusion to any damage caused.

Can we help you?

If you would like advice on any structural aspects of your property, our Structural Engineers are here to help you so please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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