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stopping the front wall of a listed building from falling down..any experiences?

(9 Posts)
pussinwellyboots Thu 18-Aug-11 19:32:20

In laws live in a grade 2 listed house. They've had a structural engineer assessing the property for the past few months and the front wall of the house is moving and something needs to be done urgently. They're looking at putting ties in to stop the movement and prevent the house falling down.

Has anyone had any experiences of this? What sort of cost might they be talking about? - (I know it's going to depend a lot on the details) (they're very private about money but are very anxious about it - and dh is anxious that they're not telling us), what sort of disruption might they be facing?

It's a 4 bed detached, sizeable but not huge.

HappyAsASandboy Thu 18-Aug-11 19:59:41

Our house had this done, though it was shortly before we moved in.

In our house, the insurance people covered all costs and arranged it all, though obviously the owner had to facilitate access etc. From looking at the work after it was dine, I'd imagine it would have been fairly disruptive to live in the house during the work, but ours was empty and for sale.

Our side wall (square detached house) was falling away. They put 90 degree braces in the corners of the rooms on the affected side, set into the walls, on the inside of the house. They then filled the holes back in with plaster, not decorating as the policy states that they don't need to 'make good' if the decor was more than 15 years old (because it needed doing anyway ...)

So, if the braces are to go in the Walls from the inside like ours, there will be significant disruption and decoration. But then you sometimes see houses with braces on the outside? Can't see the listed people going for that though.

HappyAsASandboy Thu 18-Aug-11 20:04:45

Sorry, posted too soon.

I meant to add that there us a Listed Buildings Owners Club here I've found them really useful for advice and contacts - they're very much about keeping listed buildings in use, so are very practical about work on buildings! They'll do their beat to help you find a workable solution rather than stick to the rules and preserve the historical integrity of a house that falls down smile

pussinwellyboots Thu 18-Aug-11 21:31:43

thank you so much for that happy...just off to look at that website now

unfortunately it sound like the insurance won't cover it, but I don't know the details.

SybilBeddows Thu 18-Aug-11 21:31:58

we considered buying a listed house that had a bowing wall so we looked into it. You often see ties on the outside of old houses - big iron Xs or Ss usually - so I don't think there is necessarily be a problem with getting listed building consent for it, though of course they would have to go through all the paperwork.
The issue is, what it is tied to: that will decide how much disruption there would be. In our case it would have meant putting rods between the floors, ie between ceilings and the floorboards of the rooms above, and then through the next structural wall I think. In some cases the ties are just through the wall itself.
I imagine they are looking at a bit of furniture shifting and redecoration but I don't think they'll have to move out of the house or anything.
Not sure about the cost but I don't think this is a hugely complicated job involving many men for weeks so I don't think it would be scarily big - certainly not a lot compared with the amount any house's worth goes up and down with fluctuations in the housing market.

wonkylegs Thu 18-Aug-11 21:58:59

It really depends on the details I'm afraid , if it's simple pinning it mightn't be too bad but it depends on the details if there are other associated problems (roof, founds etc) it could be very expensive and disruption great
It depends on what's causing it - it's hard to comment without more details
I would try and sit down and talk to them. Make sure they are getting good professional advice and them to ask as many questions as they need to - any professional worth their salt should be advising them at their level as a consumer

pussinwellyboots Fri 19-Aug-11 14:50:00

thank you all for comments, I'm pretty sure that they've got good advice and are using reputable companies, I think that we'll just have to leave it to them and trust that they will let us know the details if they need to.
It does sound like the ties will have to go under the floorboards, so imagine there will be a lot of re decoration.

GrendelsMum Fri 19-Aug-11 15:42:48

Total guess - £50k for the work plus then the costs of redecoration as necessary? It MIGHT be surprisingly little disruption - we've had various bits of a timber frame repaired around us, while the house is just cheerfully held up on accro-props.

Note that this is presumably a repair rather than an alteration, so listed building consent is not needed, but then they won't get the VAT at 0% on building materials and labour.

atalantis Thu 25-Aug-11 21:34:03

We're going through this at the moment. We live in a grade II thatched house. The rafters under the thatch (which just covers the middle part of the house) have rotten and come away from the plate (the beam that runs horizontally across the front of the house). We had the conservation architect over today. I'd initially budgeted £20k for tying in and repair of the rafters (they're tree branches rather than sawn rafters) but he said that the cost was unlikely to be that high. Perhaps half that, he thought. The thatch itself is going to cost just less than £20k to replace.

I do think it's going to be very disruptive as it will involve taking the whole roof off. We can't decide whether it would be cheaper just to move out or whether to put a 'box' over the whole house. To add to the fun, I've just discovered that I'm expecting dc3 (total accident) in April. A newborn and no roof? Yikes.

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