Bowing house wall - tie rods?

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Background - our house was built in the 30s, has a square footprint around 8x8m, and has no foundations to speak of. It's made of stone + lime mortar, and the walls are between 50 and 60cm thick.
When we bought it 2 years ago, we noticed that the back wall had at some point in the past bowed, so that while it's still attached to the outer walls, it's come away from the internal partition walls, causing a lot of cracks between the end wall and the partitions, and the end wall and the ground floor ceilings.
We filled these cracks so that we may study future movement. Two years on, the wall seems to have shifted by another mm or so.
The wall isn't sinking - there are no cracks at floor level downstairs. The cracks appear about 1m above floor level, and increase in size as you go upwards.
Similarly, the wall is still firmly attached to the two exterior side walls. So it's only moving outwards in the middle. It's bowing.
I know the traditional fix for this is to tie the two opposing walls together with steel tie rods, and spread the load on the outside of the walls using steel plates.
I am considering doing this to our house. The obvious place to run the steel rods is between the floor and ceiling. This would be fine, since they'd run parallel to the joists.
Has anyone done this before, and do you have any advice to offer? Is there anywhere when I could read up on this? Basic stuff - like how big the rods should be, how big the plates should be, how far apart, how many (two seems very common), that kind of thing.
TIA
--
Grunff


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Just reading the first part of your post and I would advise you to call in an engineer to take a look. If this movement is continuois, then something needs to be done to stop it. You say that it is opening further and further every year, so it will eventually get the point of no return and may collapse.
If the movement had taken years to open to a couple of millimeters, then it is not as urgent, but as you say your problem is happening over a shorter period of time, then it might just be safer to get it looked at.
Good luck with.
PS. And just another point. Ask your insurance company what they think. (this came from the little woman sitting behind me, who seems to be up on that sort of thing)
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BigWallop wrote:

Well, yes, that's the obvious answer, but I'm looking for more info at this stage.
TBH, I'm not terribly worried about the wall collapsing, because [a] It's very unlikely to do so, given that it's stood this long, and is supported by a great big stone porch on the outside, and [b] Even if it did, it really wouldn't be the end of the world, and would give us a good reason to rebuild the house.

It's been on the move since at least the 60s, because we found some 1960s newspapers stuffed into one of the bigger cracks.

Thanks. No google link? ;-)
--
Grunff


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[a] But you say it is still moving... What gives you confidence that the movement will stop before it eventually collapses ? I don't think "it's stood this long" is a particularly sound reason, engineering-wise !
[b] Do you think this wall is non-structural ? What's to say your house won't come down with it.
I think you ought to get a structural engineer to take a look (was anyone other than a surveyor involved when you bought the place). You could start off the whole process with a call to your insurers, but be warned that after a claim you may be unable to ever change companies.
I had a bulging back wall re-tied as part of the mortgage conditions on my house - the outer leaf had come adrift from the inner (structural) wall.
--
Mail john rather than nospam...

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John Laird wrote:
I think you ought to get a structural engineer to take a look (was anyone

Structural engineer is MANDATORY. NOT expensive either usually. DO WHAT THEY SAY and then you can sue them - or your insurance company can, when the house falls down.
Its really not expensive to put a tie rod through and tighten up the bolts.
Just make sure its as specified by certified engineers with liability insurance.
Then you are covered against mistakes.
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The Natural Philosopher wrote:

What qualifications should one look for in a structural engineer? Are all structural engineers listed in the yellow pages equal?
--
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Try a Chartered Civil or Structrual engineer, a decent engineer needs C Eng after her or his name.
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"James Salisbury" wrote | > What qualifications should one look for in a structural | > engineer? Are all structural engineers listed in the yellow | > pages equal? | Try a Chartered Civil or Structrual engineer, a decent engineer needs | C Eng after her or his name.
You want a Structural Engineer who will be MIStructE (Member of the Institute of Structural Engineers - www.istructe.org.uk but I don't think they have an online member listing[1]) and CEng as well.
Owain
[1] They do have http://www.findanengineer.com/ but it's a paid-for listing rather than a comprehensive register of members. You could try a local reference library for the IStructE Sessional Yearbook and Directory of Members
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Remind me where you are, Grunff? I have a pal who is a structural engineer and is distinctly lacking in BS when explaining things to the likes of me - and is happy to give DIY instuctions. He travels a fair bit judging by the rate he gets through cars. He's based in west London.
--
*It was all so different before everything changed.

Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@argonet.co.uk London SW 12
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Dave Plowman wrote:

Hi Dave,
I'm in mid Devon. That would make for an 8 hour total drive, which is a fair bit. But thanks for the thought.
If your mate is down this way on other business, that would be very handy.
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Yes - I'd say so too. ;-) And in any case, a local man *should* be the best bet as he'll be familiar with the quirks of regional differences in construction and soil conditions etc.

I'll certainly mention it.
--
*Why is the third hand on the watch called a second hand?

Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@argonet.co.uk London SW 12
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Grunff wrote:

The most important thing is that they have insurance. If you ask your local building inspector I am sure he will know who to use.
I am pretty sure that they have some certification. Institute of structural engineers or summat. Round here ther is just one company, who everybody uses. The way I had it from everybody was 'if you use X, and do what they say, then you are completely covered' I did, and it cost me a measly couole of hundred quid AFAICR to get an aspect of my design fully qualified and specced out. I have a thick report on loadings and deflections and so on that is very impressive, and completely impenetrable, and satisfied the builiding inspector and the architect.
The thing is, it doesn't cost a huge amiount extra to use a big rod versus a small one, and they overspecify to cover their arses, so whatever they recommend won't be 'good enough' it will be 'massively more than good enough' and they make their money from the report and recommendations, not from installing extra bits at your expense.
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The Natural Philosopher wrote:

Just spoke to them, and they're sorry, but they just can't recommend anyone.
--
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There is an institute, dont have the name to mind at the moment.
At a pinch you could contact the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors - a building surveyor probably isn't what you want, but they shoudl be able to point you to the correct Institute.
The Institute will most probably have strict rules on the minnimum amount of PI Insurance that members carry (including run-on after they cease business), and this shoudl be one of your questions when evaluating candidates, but not one of the first ones!. If you go to someone and one of your first questions on the phone that you ask is about their insurance cover they will probably think that you have some ulterior motive and may refuse the business.
If you get a spec from them and a certificate of completion or statement of their satisfaction with the work or whatever then I see no reason at all why you shouldn't DIY it - don't see that a certificate from a builders would be necessary.
cheers Richard
-- Richard Sampson
email me at richard at olifant d-ot co do-t uk
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Sign of the times, I'm afraid. By recommending someone they could probably be held jointly liable if things went wrong.
--
*Failure is not an option. It's bundled with your software.

Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@argonet.co.uk London SW 12
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"Grunff" wrote | The Natural Philosopher wrote: | > The most important thing is that they have insurance. If you ask your | > local building inspector I am sure he will know who to use. | Just spoke to them, and they're sorry, but they just can't | recommend anyone.
Not sure if my posting last night made it through; to repeat myself:
You want a Structural Engineer who will be MIStructE (Member of the Institute of Structural Engineers - www.istructe.org.uk but I don't think they have an online member listing[1]) and CEng as well.
Owain
[1] They do have http://www.findanengineer.com/ but it's a paid-for listing rather than a comprehensive register of members. You could try a local reference library for the IStructE Sessional Yearbook and Directory of Members
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Owain wrote:

Thanks. They appear to be in very short supply around here. I've spoken to someone who sounds competent, who will come and do a survey next week. Will keep you posted.
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John Laird wrote:

No, the wall most certainly *is* structural, and the house would most definitely come down with it. But that wouldn't be the end of the world. That's what I'm saying.

Hmm..maybe. No, we didn't have a structural survey done (we were fully aware of the problem).
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Grunff wrote:

It may well be the end of your world if you are in the house when it comes down.
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Darren Griffin wrote:

I think it has a fair way to move before that happens, and would be pretty obvious that something bad is about to happen. Houses very rarely spontaneously self destruct without warning.
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