Ask a Tradesman
1) should a builder check a lead drain channel which subsquently damaged his new rendering ? 2) should the builder have anticipated a saltpeter problem, caused new rendering to fall off ?
I had water leaking into my ground floor walls (inside and outside) through a balcony located above it. The builder put a water proof membrane over the cavity wall and coping stones on top to keep the water out. He also re-rendered the whole rear of the ground floor, first putting PVA on the bricks (under the balcony) rather than patch up the damage from the previous water leak. One year later the new exterior rendering has crack severely, together with adjacent render on a return wall to the side under the balcony, caused substantially by water leaking from a formed lead drain channel from the balcony feeding into a plastic hopper into a drain pipe. The lead had a hole above the old rendering on the return wall and seeped down behind it and around the corner to the new render. Also there is white power on many of the the bricks under the new render (now taken off) the building is saying that this is saltpetre and that is the reason for the render cracking off and that the water was just a specific localised problem.
Question 1) Is it reasonable to expect the builder to have checked the lead channel even though he was not working on that specifically ? It was 30cm below the new coping stones and he had to remove the hopper to paint the house which was part of the job.
Question 2) Should the builder have anticipated the saltpeter problem, and replace the rendering at his cost, or is it just my bad luck and I should be expected to pay towards having it lathed this time and re-rendered and repainted ?
The water that ran down behind the rendering is the problem , I'm guessing it happened over the bad winter ? Once the water gets behind and then freezes this pops the rendering off , as for if that was his job to check all the lead would have been discussed , just because it is close to the work he completed doesn't mean he's liable , if he had changed the lead and this had happened, I would expect the builder to return and complete job properly , hope this has helped you
Answered 3rd Jul 2011
Was the hopper or the lead cream - crackered before he touched it? i wouldn't think he'd re-fit it knowing it was leaking or damaged if he'd just rendered the surface the water was likely to run down.
I had something similar last year - a property i was rendering had knackered gutters, obviously i suggested getting them fixed because whats the point of rendering with water running and splashing down the walls - but you could visibly see the gutters were damaged without water in them, dripping etc.
I don't really think you're builder could have anticipated this........ no one likes doing jobs twice anyway...........
Answered 4th Jul 2011
It is reasonable for any builder to check the route cause of any remedial work after a problem has occurred.
Diagnosis and correction are standard practice prior to new work being carried out that's the builders job.
However, every project should be taken on face value, that is:
What the customer understood to be the problem to be.
The clarity of explanation to the builder.
What the builder told the customer he understood the problem to be and what he could do to remedy it.
The agreement between the customer and builder of both price and what is expected.
A further agreement of what is expected if the work fails.
What the builder actually did in comparison to this to fulfill his commitment to his work and customer and...
Did the builder know what he was doing?
There is always a reason as to why work will deteriorate.
Failure to identify and correct the route problem and failure in the installation process.
Efflorescence is a problem.
As a plastering and rendering company ourselves we always treat this first as salt may be drawn through the render and be deposited on the surface as they dissolve.
The render should contain inhibitors and be sound enough to prevent water ingress etc.
This is a liability question.
Its about what was agreed, the guarantee the builder places on his work and the quality of the work he carried out.
Customers should not be left to deal with such problems having paid for the job to be done correctly in the first place...
Answered 25th Jan 2012