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Condensation

Client: Solicitors for owners
Situation: The houses are situated on a sloping site, with the swimming pools at basement level, with their roofs providing garden terraces at the rear of the existing houses.   After the first winter in service, rainwater penetration and condensation from the cold roof construction caused damp patches to appear on the swimming pool ceiling, which worsened and lead to partial ceiling collapse.The primary defects were an inadequate waterproof membrane to the terrace, inadequate drainage of the waterproof membrane and the lack of an adequate vapour barrier below the structural deck.
Action: Probyn Miers was appointed as architect to identify and analyse the defects and to consider alternative strategies for remedial works, including inverted roofs and pressurised roofs, and their respective advantages and disadvantages.
Result: The case was settled by negotiation with the architect.

 

Client: Property owner through his solicitor.
Situation: The project was a large extension to a detached house on a secluded, heavily wooded site. The additional accommodation included a living room, a guest bedroom suite, a double garage, a gym and a swimming pool with changing and shower facilities. The design was geometrically complex and incorporated several levels to take account of the natural slope of the site.Water ingress was apparent in several locations from the time the building was handed over and occupied. When roof coverings were removed to give access to rectify the leaks it was discovered that further significant deterioration was occurring within the roof construction because of the effects of condensation.In addition damp penetration became apparent in several areas and the property owner discovered that significant voids that had been formed beneath the floors of the store room, the garage and part of the gym, had no provision for natural ventilation.
Action: Probyn Miers carried out a site inspection and prepared a preliminary report. The purpose of the report at this stage is to assist the property owner in settlement discussions and negotiations with the Architect. It concluded that: i), the type of roof construction specified was not suitable for use as part of a swimming pool enclosure, ii), the detailed design of the roof would not prevent condensation or water penetration and would make effective maintenance impracticable, iii), the voids beneath the floors of the store room, the garage and part of the gym had been designed in such a way as to prevent the provision of natural ventilation, iv), the system of land drainage appears to be inadequate, and v), the design did not include an effective means of preventing the ingress of water from the ground.
Result: Awaiting further instructions as of 08 April 2013.

 

Client: Solicitors for the Architect’s PI insurers.
Situation: The Claimants appointed the Defendant as Architect for a new, substantial, detached house. The construction was traditional with cavity masonry walls faced with natural stone, tiled pitched roofs and bronze framed double glazed windows. The house was completed in 2008 and the Claimants moved in.  Subsequently: i), a number of windows leaked during a severe storm, ii), condensation appeared on the window frames, and iii), areas of damp appeared at the surrounds of several windows.  The Claimants then appointed a glazing and fenestration expert (Mr Rod Appleyard) and an architect Expert (Mr David Duckham) both of whom produced reports alleging defective design and/or construction.
Action: Probyn Miers prepared an initial report based on the information contained in the reports of Mr Appleyard and Mr Duckham. The PM report assessed the Appleyard and Duckham reports and gave opinions on specific issues identified by instructing solicitors. Several of these opinions were at variance with those expressed by the other two experts.The PM report was used to inform the Statement of Defence and BK attended conferences with Counsel while the Defence was being drafted.Subsequently, on 05 March 2013, BK visited the site in conjunction with the other two experts, the Claimants, the Defendant, the Contractor (2nd Defendant) and the window supplier, and has provided additional advice to instructing solicitors in the light of this visit.
Result: Following the site visit the Contractor and the Window Supplier have both appointed experts. A meeting of experts is expected to take place in May 2013 and provisional dates for mediation have been identified in June 2013.


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