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After One Week…

Our bathroom looks like this!

The horizontal ceiling timbers have been temporarily removed so the roof can more easily be insulated, the brick chimney breast has now been almost completely been taken down, and most of the crumbling wall plaster removed.   The space now looks enormous!  Back in Victorian times when the WC was located outside, this would have been a decent sized bedroom.

The contractors weren’t originally going to remove the old plaster, but there were a number of somewhat worrying cracks in the brickwork that became apparent after the initial demolition that we needed to reveal to fully to assess.   You can see one crack in the middle image running diagonally across the high level bricks beside the chimney breast. The third image shows the other and deepest crack which was a full brick deep.

I had my structural engineer come by last Friday morning to take a look at the situation. Although all of the 6 cracks need structural repair, the same solution can be applied throughout by using steel Helifix ties like this, which makes the overall repair job simpler to undertake.   Every 500mm, the mortar joint between bricks is ground out, and a spiral steel rod is inserted horizontally. The joint is then resin filled to ‘stitch’ and bond the brick wall back together to prevent any further movement.

Although not entirely unexpected with these old buildings, we were of course hoping to avoid too many additional costs.  On all my jobs at work we typically advise clients working with existing clients to allow for a 5-7% contingency fund for unforeseen site circumstances… however I hadn’t really taken my own advice and lets just say we had budgeted this job quite precisely.  So, to avoid a significant increased cost for this essential repair work, we decided to omit the structural work involved in increasing the corridor opening into the back room area by 400mm.

I had wanted to give Alex a bit more generous head height than a standard door (which he only just fits under), but for about £1500 we have decided to forgo this ‘luxury’.  This change actually has the added benefit of providing enough depth above the door opening to fit our boiler so it is neatly out of the way, and not taking up any valuable floor space. My original plan to do this was not quite going to be possible because of the pipework crossover runs required, but now it will be feasible.

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