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RICS Expert Witness Reports
Badly replaced roof that leaked in numerous places. The major problem was failure to choose the correct tiles on a very shallow pitched roof. The tiles were also badly laid with varying overlaps. The under sheet that might have helped resist wind blown moisture was also badly laid. The contractor also damaged the adjacent properties roof but did nothing about it.
The black dots are where water has dripped through a ceiling
The roof has a very shallow fall. Such roofs have to be carefully designed with the correct tiles and then carefully laid to ensure that they are water tight.
Measuring the overlap of the tiles. This tile is almost flat. Its contact with the steeper pitched tile above will be minimal.
Poorly laid under sheet will allow wind and moisture to blow through the roof.
Here the under sheet is missing altogether
Tiles that sit badly creating large gaps for water to blow through.
To the left is the roof of the adjacent property. The tiles sag because the properties shared the battens that support the tiles and the contractor that replaced them on the subject property sawed through them at a point where they are not supported causing them to sag under the weight of the tiles.
The tile has snapped. Nothing is securing it to the batten and it is very likely to slip.
To prepare an expert report in accordance with Part 35 of the Civil Procedure rules for use in Court proceedings in connection with a contract for the recovering of a roof.
I am Steven John Macgregor Butler, a Member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyor trading as a sole practitioner. I qualified in 1992 and have in excess of twenty years’ experience of surveying residential properties and preparing reports on defective workmanship.
The dispute relates to the recovering of the roof at the above property following which the owner Mrs Woodward claims that the ceilings have leaked in a number of places.
The property is an end of terrace three bedroom house constructed about 1970. It has cavity brick faced walls and a pitched concrete tile roof. The roof is hipped and has three faces.
Measurement suggests that the property has a depth of approximately 8.0m and that from the side elevation to the end of the hipped section is approximately 4.0m measured horizontally along the front and rear elevations.
The tiles used to recover the roof appear to Marley Smooth Modern Eternit tiles.
The roof rises from eaves to apex by approximately 1050mm. Simple geometry suggest that the roof has a pitch (angle to the horizontal) of about 15 degrees.
Stains consistent with possible leaks was noted at the juncture of ceilings and external walls. Holes had also been drilled in the front bedroom ceiling in a manner consistent with trying to ensure that a ceiling did not collapse due to water sitting on top of it. You report that water also came through the ceiling at the bathroom light fitting although there was no evidence of this.
Defects revealed by inspection:
1) Marley’s brochure states even if laid carefully to Marley’s instructions the Smooth Modern Eternit tiles are only engineered for use on roofs with a pitch of 17.5 degrees or greater, and that to achieve water tightness the tiles must have an overlap of at least 100mm.
For avoidance of doubt Marley and other manufacturers produce tiles for roofs with a pitch of 15 degrees.
2) Tiles on the side elevation were measured as having overlaps of only 600mm.
3) Whilst the roof has a general pitch of 15 degrees the tiles immediately above the external walls are laid to a considerably lower pitch. The steeped pitched tiles laid above thus sit on the back side of their bottom edge. The effective overlap of the tiles is thus negligible. To be effective the overlap relies on the tiles sitting tightly together for the full 100 mm.
4) A number of tiles adjacent to the hips appear to sag as if the battens on which they sit are unsupported. An unsupported batten was also noted inside the roof void just below the apex of the roof and adjacent to the hip on the back face of the roof. It appeared not to have been secured to the hip rafter properly. Again the sagging of the tiles will reduce the effect of any overlap.
5) The bottom edges of a number of tiles were damaged which would reduce the effectiveness of the overlap which tiles on the tiles sitting tightly together.
6) A tile adjacent to the party wall on the adjacent property also sags. It is conjectured that when the original battens have been removed from the subject property that the batten on the adjacent property has been broken.
7) Tiles from the subject property have been laid over the top of those on the adjacent property. The reason for this could not be established.
8) The juncture with the roof of the adjacent property has been made water tight by cementing half round tiles from bottom edge to the apex of the roof on each face. This has not been necessary where a number of other identical roofs have been replaced on nearby houses.
9) The lining sheet on the underside of the tiles is insecure in places causing it to hang. This will allow moisture to blow into the roof void.
The roof is inherently defective due to the failure to select the correct tile for the shallow pitched roof.
Defects 2 to 8 are consistent with shoddy workmanship
As the neighbour’s property has been interfered with the work would appear to contravene the requirements to serve notice under the party wall act.
It is considered that the roof is not fit for purpose and that as the tiles are not suitable for the pitch of the roof they will have limited salvage value.
It will be necessary to strip the roof make good the battens and lining and then recover with tiles of the correct specification.
Statement of Truth
This report is prepared in accordance with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors Expert Witness Practice Statement.
I, Steven John MacGregor Butler, declare that:
i. I understand that my duty in providing written reports and giving evidence is to help the Court, and that this duty overrides any obligation to the party who has engaged me, or the party who has paid or is liable to pay me. I confirm that I have complied with this duty and will continue to comply with this duty.
ii. I confirm that I have made clear which facts and matters referred to in this report are within my own knowledge and which are not. Those that are within my own knowledge I confirm to be true. The opinions I have expressed represent my true and complete professional opinions on the matters to which they refer.
iii. I have endeavoured to include in my report those matters which I have knowledge of or which I have been made aware that might adversely affect the validity of my opinion. I have clearly stated any qualifications to my opinion.
iv. I confirm that I am aware of the requirements of Civil Procedures Rule 35, Practice Direction 35, of the Civil Justice Protocol for the Instruction of Expert to Give Evidence in Civil Claims and the Practice Direction on Pre-Action Conduct.
v. This report has been prepared in accordance with the Code of Practice for Experts.
vi. I have indicated the sources of all information I have used.
vii. I have not, without forming an independent view, included or excluded anything which has been suggested to me by others (in particular my instructing lawyers).
viii. I will notify those instructing me immediately and confirm in writing if for any reason my existing report requires any correction of qualification.
ix. I understand that:
a. my report, subject to any corrections before swearing as to its correctness, will form the evidence be given under oath or affirmation.
b. I may be cross-examined on my report by a cross-examiner assisted by an expert.
c. I am likely to be the subject of public adverse criticism by the Judge if the Judge concludes that I have not taken reasonable care in trying to meet the standards set out above.
x. I confirm that I have not entered into any arrangements where the amount or payment of my fees is in any way dependent upon the outcome of the case.
SJM Butler 30th April 2015
SURVEY OF A DEFECTIVE ROOF NOTTINGHAM DERBY NEWARK GRANTHAM EAST MIDLANDS