Emergency works on a Partially Earth Retaining Property

Emergency works on a Partially Earth Retaining Property
Rescuing a New Client on a very tight deadline!


We were contacted late in the day on a Friday afternoon by a contact of ours from Liverpool about this property. The client had purchased the property on a bridging loan to refurbish and turn in to a holiday let. A beautiful holiday let at that.

A company had been in and installed Internal Wall Insulation (IWI) throughout the property however, they had unfortunately overlooked the fact that one side of the property was actually partially Earth Retaining, meaning a section of the elevation was below ground.

This means it is under constant hydrostatic pressure. Hydrostatic pressure is ground water that is constantly trying to force its way through the structure, making lateral penetration a constant issue.

Nearing the projects completion, the powers that be informed the client that if this issue was not addressed, and a guarantee applied to all associated works then proceedings for repossession of the property would commence and the client would lose approx. £200k. If this wasn't enough to worry about, they informed the client that they would need the necessary works complete and guaranteed by the following Friday. That's right, at 18.00 on a Friday afternoon, we learned that in order to assist this client, we had less than a week to arrange and execute the necessary work.

In addition to the lateral penetration, it was found that wood boring insects were present in a small roof void above the utility room at the rear of the property.

And just for one, added, extra complication, the property is located nearly 50 miles away from our base in Thornton Cleveleys.

Work In Progress

A weekend of preparation, planning, ordering, quoting, communicating, reassuring and the like ensued. We were able to speak to some other, local clients who fully understood the severity of the situation and were amazing in allowing us to rearrange our existing schedule. We freed up a team and set about trying to rescue this amazing project for our new client.

We went to Wales to see the property we had already agreed to work on via photographs and videos. We commenced the necessary remedial works on the earth retaining sections and carried out a full damp and timber survey which is something else the powers that be had insisted upon.

We had to carry out all necessary structural waterproofing works in accordance with BS-8102 as well as maintaining the EPC certification the IWI system had provided.

We called in our friends at Bio-Kill Crown who would be assisting in the waterproofing system as well as providing the necessary guarantees. We agreed that the best method of water proofing would be a Type A, cementitious system.

We removed all existing wall coverings, including the IWI system, fitted base units, skirting boards and the like. The structure is stone built.

All stone work was cleaned down to a bare substrate and sprayed with an anti-salt solution.

A base coat comprising sand, cement and SBR was applied to all surfaces including the inside of the chimney stack which was "snug" to say the least.

A second application of the anti-salt solution was then applied to the render system.

The first application of tanking slurry was then applied at a thickness of at least 2.5mm. This was also applied to the floor to a depth of approx 350mm in to the room. On top of this, all internal angles, as in the floor to wall juncture, and vertical angles are filleted with a barrier mortar to create a stronger seal in the weakest parts of the structure. Finally, a second coat of tanking slurry is applied.

Our methods had to be slightly irregular to create the appropriate finish along with the IWI system. These walls were now approximately 150mm thick in areas, no amount of backing render would be suitable to reach these thicknesses.

We had no choice but to re-instate the metal stud framework. Installing this on top of an exposed tanking finish however, would NOT be suitable. Tanking is an EXTREMELY cold surface, meaning it condenses almost constantly. A constant stream of water washing down the surface of the tanking, behind the stud frame would lead to further issues in the future.

We applied a pre-bagged, renovating plaster to all areas. This render has good U-values meaning its surface is far less likely to condense.

The MF stud framework was then constructed, this was fixed to the ceiling and glued in place elsewhere incorporating the necessary braces to provide the required strength, all the while maintaining the integrity of the structural waterproofing system.

Where units are to reinstated we installed 18mm ply sheeting to the stud work to allow for good and thorough fixing.

Insulation backed plasterboards were then applied followed by a new, flat, smooth skim finish.

The roof timbers, in the small void above the utility room were chemically treated. The chemical used for treatment was a Dual Purpose treatment. This chemical is used to prevent and eradicate wood boring insects and fungal attack of timbers. It will also prevent the occurrence of wood staining fungi.


A flat, smooth skim finish was applied to all elevations that were previously tanked via the Type A system. All patch repairs feathered in to nothing so as the client only needs to apply a Matt emulsion, paint finish.

The site was cleared of all waste and excess materials.

The big question here though, is did we complete these works in time? Were the necessary guarantees and paperwork submitted by the enforced deadline, or did the client lose a colossal amount of money and time spent on the development....?

This is Fylde Damp Proofing Ltd. Of course the works were completed in time. Of course the necessary guarantees and paperwork were arranged and submitted by the enforced deadline. Of course the client didn't lose the colossal amount of money and time spent on the development.

It wasn't without its challenges, and huge credit MUST go to our operatives who, at the drop of a hat made all the necessary plans to be away from home and family for a week but between us, we did it.

This property will make a stunning holiday let in a stunning part of the World and we can't wait to have a stay there.

Emergency works on a Partially Earth Retaining Property
Emergency works on a Partially Earth Retaining Property
Rescuing a New Client on a very tight deadline!
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