Timber frame semi-D over first floor concrete walls

Discussion in 'Sites, planning, self-builds and extensions' started by Portobello, 5 Dec 2018.

  1. Portobello

    Portobello Registered User


    wondering if anyone can offer opinion.

    We have gone sale agreed on a ten year old house, immaculate - semi-d and turns out from survey that it was originally a two story detached dormer, split in two and the first floor and attic are timber framed, with ground floor concrete (from original construction). Original survey report which was not detailed at all said house in very good condition and mentioned
    • Windows - timber framed units.
    • House has timber fascia and soffit.
    • needing confirmation of external wall construction
    • damp reading beneath boiler - pressure test to carried out on system and confirmation re damp proof membrane arrangement
    When he rang me after survey he mentioned about needing to understand construction, but otherwise all fine, he mentioned also about possible fire retardent not being present to attic room - but this was not in report which was shoddy and vague.

    He left loads of open questions and it was hard to discern issues. He never followed up with the estate agent we subsequently found out. We responded with loads of questions and he just ignored us.

    It took a week to get in touch with the surveyor (engineer) as we were confused and today when we pressed him about it he said he had concerns over the construction - he wouldn't have built it that way - i.e,..concrete then timber frame on top, and it mightn't last 10 years, and would be 50:50 on buying it himself.

    I'm not sure why he would not have included all this in the original report.

    It sounds like a strong opinion, but we had to really press him as he never expressed anything like this in the report, so now we're in situation where we don't know if we can trust his opinion, albeit we're inclined to walk away from the sale. We don't even feel like we should pay him. We may look for a 2nd opinion of someone with the appropriate experience though guts tell us to walk away.

    We do have concerns over timber frame (damp, needing to know actual construction, longetivity)

    But I was wondering if anyone had any similar experience - where house amended to put timber frame from 1st floor upwards
  2. RedOnion

    RedOnion Frequent Poster

    Sounds like a standard building survey written from a template.

    I'd suggest getting a 2nd opinion, but from someone familiar with timber framed houses. Some people just advise against them, because they either don't understand them at all, or can't tell between a well constructed one or a poorly thrown together one. This isn't the only house in the country built this way (if it is in fact - it could be entirely timber framed, with a concrete block skin at ground floor level).

    Before that, do some information gathering yourself. Get the original plans from planning department - should be online if within last 10 years. Was the timber frame original construction, or added?
    Find out who builder was, and check their reputation.

    If you get a 2nd opinion - be at the house when they are. Ask your questions.
    Not everything goes into a standard report.
  3. Portobello

    Portobello Registered User


    thanks for the response.

    I wouldn't even have called the report standard, it was a summary and then a few pointers, wasn't on a room by room or feature basis.

    We had looked at the original drawings from the planning permission before getting the surveyor. The original house was concrete built, then he decided to split into two semi-ds and decided to add timber frame from 1st floor up, and actually this was a condition of the planning also.

    We're going to get a 2nd opinion, at least to validate the survey, agree with your points there
  4. Leo

    Leo Moderator

    I'd strongly suggest this too, and check out the qualifications of the next one to ensure they know what to look for. Many don't seem to have the necessary experience or qualifications, but part of that is down to consumers seeking out cheaper options. You see some advertised from a little over €200, it's just not possible to carry out a detailed inspection for that kind of money.

    Read this for a little background on the types of surveys available, qualifications to look for.