Damp basement fix (long)

Hi folks,
This isn't DIY as such (although some DIY will be required once work starts), but your advise and suggestions for options in how best to approach fixing this problem would be appreciated.
My house is a 100 year old mid-terrace with no foundation (just a few courses of bricks on to the ground). I assume that the basement *was* a wash-room - it has a sealed up fireplace and *had* an open drain (effectively the room was open to the elements). It is about 2/3 underground and about 6ft 6" high.
About a year ago it was extensively modernised with the intention of creating extra living space. The coal shoot space was converted in to a bathroom (shower, toilet+macerator, sink), a space was dug out beyond the area of the existing basement to create a kitchen, the open drain was walled up and sealed and the entire space was wired for electrics, plumbing, central heating etc, carpeted, plasterboarded, smoke & heat-alarmed etc.
Unfortunately, the work was carried out without proper consideration for damp (it wasn't tanked) and the plaster in the main room and corridor areas, plus the woodwork in the kitchen are showing indications of the presence of damp (mould appearing from ground to about 50 cms up). And there's a persistent dank smell. The mould is popping up in areas where the plasterboard walls are in contact with the ground, around the window, on side walls, by the stairs leading to the ground floor - effectively the moisture seems to be being sucked up from the ground. Further, the builder chose to paint the original brick walls before fitting the plasterboard with some sort of tar and then mounted the plasterboard on to horizontally mounted batons, off the wall.
The kitchen and bathroom walls were covered with plastic cladding which therefore aren't showing signs of damp, but the MDF carcasses of the units fitted in the kitchen area are showing signs of mould, again presumably being sucked up from the ground in which they're in contact. The bathroom having a tiled floor and usual bathroom-type, non porous fittings, shows no indication of damp.
I have been advised that the fix to all this is to strip walls and floors back to bare brick/concrete, have the tar sandblasted off and refinish these surfaces. A couple of options have been suggested by different people:
1) Tank floor and walls up to a height of about 1 metre throughout and fit a water-well-type-thing at the lowest point, connected to a pump (this in case of emergency flooding). Then refinish walls and floors.
2) Have DPC installed around lowest possible point of wall around rooms and tank floor and very bottom of wall up to level of DPC. Walls could be left as bear brick or resurfaced, at my choice.
Either way I've been told that the wall surfaces have to be refinished up to the ceiling, as these must be ripped out so that the tar can be removed (this is preventing moisture trapped within the bricks from escaping, I'm told and the horizontal batons onto which the plasterboard is mounted are prevent air from flowing over the wall, between the bricks and the plasterboard).
I would like to leave the bathroom space be and have been told that it *could* be OK, but likely would simply need work doing after a few years anyway (tiles might start to pop up off the floor and suchlike) - not sure whether to take a chance on this or not.
It all seems such a waste given the otherwise finished state of the space, but I know that it cannot be used for its intended purpose until the problem is put right. I just want to keep the cost to the minimum necessary and avoid ripping out as much as possible.
I know you cannot see the area for yourselves, but from what you've heard and with whatever experience and knowledge you guys have, what would your advice and recommendations be?
Many thanks.
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On Thu, 5 Jan 2006 05:55:49 -0000, "JustMe"

You need some TOP quality professional advice, that has some form of insurance backed guarentee.
Why ?
As damp problemes like this go, there are many solutions, what one guy lives and dies by, may indeed work, but the next guy will rubbish. Whichever system you choose, you have to follow the instructions to the letter, and not mix systems.
You may have a case against the orignal designer of your solution - assuming they are still in business. If you have a written contract you will have a better chance.
Rick
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wrote:

approach
underground
walled
areas,
of
builder
with
units
no
these
fit a

case
and
left
to
sure
space,
problem
It would make a change!

I would love to say I do, but this is complicated. I have to proceed as if he no longer exists.

Thanks for the info - can anyone recommend a specialist in the Manchester or Salford region who can carry out a survey and quote?
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Http://advanceremedialservices.com/index.php
Not cheap, and you may have to wait a couple of weeks before they can come and do a survey - which is possibly a good thing.
Straight talking, and hard working firm who I have known for 18 years as both an estate agent and a customer.
I have always found them to do a good job, give good advice, although you must follow their instructions to the letter to claim on their guarantee....
All the best
--
Richard Faulkner

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On Thu, 5 Jan 2006 05:55:49 -0000, "JustMe"

Are you absolutely sure this is coming from outside and isn't condensation? The idea of putting a kitchen and bathroom (shower?) in a cellar with un insulated walls isn't exactly the brightest idea of the century. What is the ventilation in the basement?
--
Peter Parry.
http://www.wpp.ltd.uk/
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wrote:

areas,
of
I don't know that it *isn't* condensation, but the area has been and is unoccupied at the moment (because of the damp issue) and the shower and toilet are only used occassionally. The window shows no indication of condensation.
Ventilation for the bathroom area is provided by an extractor, connected to the lighting and timed (so that it stays active for several minutes after the light is off). The same applies to the kitchen space, in which no cooking or food storage/preparation has ever taken place. Otherwise, the window (about 1 metre square at one end of the main area) has one of those spinning air-flow things mounted on it and, at the opposite end of the room, there is a circular vent of similar size, directed to the stairwell which is open to the rest of the house - that and when the doors are open, air is free to flow through.
Don't know if it's relevant, but the central heating works in the space and I have been turning the radiators on during the colder weather (the problem has existed for about seven or eight months and I'm only now getting it together to get it sorted, cos I ran out of cash when the job was "completed"). Truth is that the visible signs were apparant quite soon after the work was completed, so I don't think that radiators/lack of radiators are relevant.
From what I've been told (by a friendly neighbour/builder who has no axe to grind nor agenda and whose authority I trust) the damp is likely coming UP from the floor.
Thanks.
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On Thu, 5 Jan 2006 05:55:49 -0000, "JustMe"

Have you seen "Holmes on Homes" on Discovery Home and Lesiure (about 12:00), he does quitye a few "leakey basements", which will give you some ideas on what to look for
Rick
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wrote:

approach
underground
walled
areas,
of
builder
with
units
no
these
fit a

case
and
left
to
sure
space,
problem
No, I don't have Discovery. What does he refer to?
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JustMe wrote:

Hm. Aldi have some reasonable-looking snips in now, they're not dear.
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On Fri, 6 Jan 2006 08:33:50 -0000, "JustMe"

Mike Holmes is a sort of Tommy Walsh, but less fat, and more able. He takes other peoples screw ups, rips them apart showing what is wrong, and then puts it all back right. The aim of the game is to teach the public how things should be done right, what to look for, how to ensure you are not being ripped off.
He does a couple of leeky cellars, I thought if you saw the shows you might get some ideas on what to look for when your contractors come back.
There is one where he digs the house out of the ground, and tanks the outside, and at least one other (may be two) where he deals with problems from the inside. None of the cleaalars are old brick ones, but many of the techniques he uses are applicbable.
What I don't understand with your, is why you blocked up a perfeclty working drain in the floor, which you could have used.
The shows may be avalaible for download somewhere.
Rick
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