ABOVE: The photo of a damp meter shows that this wall which is shared by the communal hallway and one of the ground floor flats at Devon Court is soaking wet. The wet wall has resulted in extensive internal condensation damage to the flat decorations and rotted the wooden window frames. The cost of repairs (£3,500+) were paid for by the flat owner.
Over a period of two years 2017 to June 2019 the HHGE Flats Block Managers have organized 5 separate surveys costing over £1,500 (paid for via the service charge) NONE of which have been able to explain the ultimate cause of the damp. In this and linked blogs I explain both the cause of the damp and the solution.
DRAINS & SEWERS
Each set of 3 flats is served by an open gully for wastewater and a single soil pipe at the rear. The 4 gullys and 4 soil pipes serving the block flow into a single foul sewer which runs from back to front between Devon Court and Essex House to the main foul sewer which runs along Links Road. The whole block of 12 flats is also served by 10 separate rainwater downpipes, 6 at the front, one at each side and two at the back which run to a separate surface water sewer(rainwater sewer) which also runs along Links Road.
RESPONSIBILITY FOR DRAINS MAINTENANCE
Repairs to the main sewers are the responsibility of the local water authority. However responsibility for the wastewater pipework and the rainwater pipes between Devon Court and the main sewer are the responsibility of the HHGE Flats Block Management-wherein lies the problem.
BROKEN DRAINS AND GULLYS
As at June 2019 the connections between the 4 gullys at the rear of Devon Court and the mains sewer are broken and leaking the wastewater from Devon Court into the soil at the rear and underneath Devon Court.
In addition most of the 10 rainwater downpipes which collect all the water from the roof appear to be broken and leaking at the junction with the ground. This means that the original purpose- to remove water away from the soil surrounding the building – has failed.
CONCLUSION REGARDING DAMP PROBLEMS AT DEVON COURT
A large amount of water including most of the rainwater that falls on the roof together with much of the wastewater from baths and sinks is soaking into the ground under Devon Court.
There is no vapor barrier between the wet soil and the wooden floor planks in the flats. The rising warm air in the flat will draw moisture from the damp ground up into the flats which will then condense on the coldest walls.
HOW TO FIX THE DAMP PROBLEMS AT DEVON COURT
Neither the broken gullys nor the broken downpipes are fulfilling the purpose for which they were originally installed. Once they have been repaired and the ground under and around Devon Court has dried out the damp will disappear.
See Damp Problems at Essex House: Essex House: Broken gully causing damp & woodworm 24 November 2020