Where to get advice about old timber framed buildings? Longish

A happy new year to one and all.
I recently inherited my late fathers house. Late Tudor farmhouse and a big old barn of a place (no pun intended). Listed G2. Timber framed, brick infill to the ground floor, wattle/daub or similar to the 1st floor, peg tiled roof. The exterior is rendered & painted, timbers are exposed throughout. All timbers appear to be oak and in good condition mainly. Over the last few days I've had the chance to have a good look around and what I see dismays me greatly. The wiring, plumbing & ch have all been completely renewed in the last 10 years and there are no known problems with these. However, I can't find any other aspect of the old place that does not need major attention. Most of the problems I know how to deal with, but one in particular needs professional advice I feel. The main rooms on the ground floor are about 25ft square. The ceilings are supported by 12" x 12" beams in a + arrangement. The cross is central to each room and formed by a single timber span with the 2 'arms' double morticed/tenoned to that single span. Joists of 9"x6" are morticed/tenoned to the 2 arms at about 18" centres. A very substantial structure. In one room only the single span is bowed downwards by about 3" and this is immediately noticeable. Equally worrying is that the tenons of the 'arms' have pulled out by at least an inch on each side. I presume this is a result of the main timber bowing. As you might imagine this worries me greatly as a failure of these timbers could be catastrophic. To the best of my knowledge this problem has arisen quite recently, certainly within the last 20 years. I could jack up the ceiling beams and put a 12x12 oak prop beneath the centre of the cross. This would effectively destroy the appearance of a lovely room. I would be more inclined to jack the structure up beyond level and then secure the 2 arms together using a substantial metal strap or straps. I'm worried about what effects any jacking operation might have upon other parts of the structure. Thus I feel expert advice is needed. Anyone know where I can ask for such advice please?
Many thanks
Nick.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Nick wrote:

Where are you nick?
If in east anglia, have some good carpenters who can fix this stuff.
I'd say a structural engineer would be first port of call - pay for a full structural survey. A couple of hundred probably and worth every penny.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Thats true in other parts of the country too

Agreed (is this a first NP?!) but be sure you speak to a structural engineer who is experienced in old buildings like this. Call the SPAB free helpline to get a list of names. www.spab.org.uk
Anna
~~ Anna Kettle, Suffolk, England |""""| ~ Lime plaster repairs / ^^ \ // Freehand modelling in lime: overmantels, pargeting etc |____| www.kettlenet.co.uk 01359 230642
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Anna Kettle wrote:

No it isn't, because I don't know of them Anna :-)

Indeed.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

big
peg
and
10
need
needs
are
to
morticed/tenoned
this is

'arms'
best of

the
other
penny.
Thank you for the sound advice. I'm in Bucks, not a long way from Heathrow (unfortunately). I guess a full structural survey is a good way to start into this venture. I'd be pleased if a couple of hundred would cover it but I fear that won't be the case. Most certainly a couple of days as least.
Do you know of any good tilers ? I'm told there are about 120,000 in total and some repair is urgently required. We used to use an American Indian from Devon. Best tiler I have ever seen. He went off the scene some years ago and all since have done more damage than good.
Nick.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
The first thing to remember is that in a listed building, particularly of that age, there is very little that can be legally done without getting formal listed building consent from your local planning authority. Indeed is a criminal offence to make many changes without such approval. Unfortunately it means your will have to wade through a lot of bureaucracy. You need to choose a structural engineer or surveyor who specialises in such buildings. It does not come cheap and the figure quoted by someone else is absurd.
Peter Crosland
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Peter Crosland wrote:

That was all it actually cost me,from such a firm.
Perhaps its absurd, and they were being nice.
It wasn't a detailed survey, just a 'what is happening, why, and what are my options' Tht cost me about 150 quid.
The indicated costs involved were such that not being listed, I decided to re-make most of the structure, and what I found when doing it made me go for a complete rebuild ultimately. It wasn't that great a cottage, but the location was fabulous.
you can see the result at www.larksrise.com if you like.
In the process I invoked the same engineers again to validate the new structures. That cost 350 quid for a day or two of calculations.
Nothing compared to the final cost of doing the work.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Um, but a quick opinion on a non-listed building is very different from the full structural survey on a grade 2 listed property, which is what you were originally suggesting!
Christian.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Wed, 5 Jan 2005 13:49:21 -0000, "Christian McArdle"

Did you get a written report or simply face to face talk? Reports take time to write (punters expect you to be able to spell, for example) so the cost goes up
The OP is in the London area so he will be charged more than you were charged in Silly Suffolk
Anna
~~ Anna Kettle, Suffolk, England |""""| ~ Lime plaster repairs / ^^ \ // Freehand modelling in lime: overmantels, pargeting etc |____| www.kettlenet.co.uk 01359 230642
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Anna Kettle wrote:

The first was a face to face, but the second time ws a full writen report - both from Andrew Firebrace lot.
The first let me know waht I was in for: The second was in fact detailed calculations on a particular piece of construction that we wanted to use.

If its so silly why are you here Anna?
Silly is london. Suffolk is sane.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Indeed. London is madness but it is the better place to be if you want to haul in the shekels
Mind you, life in London demands that the shekels be spewed out again nearly as quickly whereas a nice country walk costs only shoe leather
Anna
~~ Anna Kettle, Suffolk, England |""""| ~ Lime plaster repairs / ^^ \ // Freehand modelling in lime: overmantels, pargeting etc |____| www.kettlenet.co.uk 01359 230642
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Christian McArdle wrote:

I was not suggesting a 'full structural survey' - merely a quick - thats all fine mate, but I don;t like the look of that bit: Could be ten grand to re-do that sodden rotting wall and timberwork to grade II and you won't know till you try' sort of survey.
Whether my timber cottage was listed or not had no implications on the survey cots - only on repair costs.
If it had been listed I would never have bought it, haveinga fair idea of its state.
Which souns FAR worse than the OP's by the way. I had one ceiling that was sagging a foot, main structural timbers cut through for doors, and all pulled out of their soctes as well, old bits of larch and broom poles used to repair rafters, peremannet rising damp, and rotten floor boards, and, as we eventually found, only about 30% of the structural timbers actually sound.
The survey that I had, was to do with a new roof. The engineer basically said it wasn't strong enough to support anythng other than thatch, or the shingles it had.
All advice was 'take it back to sound and start again, or knock it down and start again.
We tried the first, and ended up with the second.
I am certain that a day with a competent engineer will let the OP now whether he has a 2k bill, a 20k bill or a 200k bill on his hands.
That's the sort of knowledge you can get for a couple of hundred.
Ive got frieds in prtecsiley this sort of situation, and they are doing it bit by bit. Tackling the most urgent first, and upgrading and modernising as far as the listed building poeple will let them. Its not so bad really.
It seems to average out at about 10k per room to replace and repair strutural timber work, and replaster to a nice standard.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

is
bureaucracy.
such
is
I fear you are correct in all points mentioned. Nick.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

He sounds well off I'm sure he has a kidney and a few other bits he can auction of on E-Bay or somewhere to keep the heritage people happy.
Flog the thing and get a relic in Wales or a disused croft in the Outer Hebrides. If you have to make repairs at least there is only you it will all come down on. Or rather if it does, and you survive, you won't have to reinstate it to someone else's specs.
--
Posted via Mailgate.ORG Server - http://www.Mailgate.ORG

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Sat, 1 Jan 2005 21:24:01 -0000, "Nick"

You will find you are entirely within the grasp of the local authority Listed Building Mafia. It would be foolhardy to spend anything without speaking to them first (not that it will give you any comfort - but it may save a small amount of money initially).

Yes - two excellent ones in South Herts who do a lot of work in the Sth Bucks area www.tk-tiling.com (also my neighbour, but their workmanship is superb).
--
Peter Parry.
http://www.wpp.ltd.uk/
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Try:
http://www.periodproperty.co.uk/cgi-bin/discussing/forum2.pl
a discussion forum, but more oriented towards old buildings. "An American Indian from Devon"?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

venture.
won't
Thank you, I have been in the clutches of the planning dept. for some years. The listed building mafia is all I need right now! I will contact them, I mean the tiling firm!
Nick
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Don't get too taken in by Peter's paranoia about the so called "listed building mafia". The important thing is to make sure you ask them before you start any work. That way if they do object you will not have to spend lots more undoing work they won't authorise. Remember that they are human and doing their job. A lot depends on how you treat them which seems a basic point many ignore. Confrontational tactics seldom get the best results.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Nick wrote:

No. It took an engineer less than a couple of hours to identify the crucial weaknesses in my old cottage, and predct what I would find when the walls were dismantled.
And come up with three suggestions all of which were sound, and two of which had not occurred to me.

There are many reputable tiling firms, but don't even go there until you are sure you have a sound structure to pin them to.
Its vital that you stabilise the structure, and make good any rot, and pin any weaknesses. In the meantimne all you should do is temporarily make good anything that lets in water, but its not worth spending oodles of cash on: Because I suspect that yu will need to strip back and make good any rotten timber work, and if the structure is collapsing a bit, use steel or whatever to pull it all back together - the engineer will know the key vital areas - and maybe have to replace rotten roof timbers as well.
Once you have done that get Anna to advise on re-doing the details - any lathe an plaster walls that you have had to remove to get at vital bits etcx..
She's the antique craftsman. I am just an engineer :-)
Though not specifically of the structural sort sadly.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

FMR No!
Opening the Yellow Pages and picking out any old structural engineer is just asking for a complete cock-up with a timber frame, let alone an old one. It'd be like asking EDS to build a big IT project - sure, they do a job that covers the same title, but they've never actually seen such a thing done right before.
Talk to a local big framing shop and ask for recommendations, or web search down your own. But there are very few structural engineers with timber frame experience, and you need it.
And they're all dead easy to fix anyway. There's a reason why places like Avoncroft can afford to pull down derelict framed building and re-erect it in a museum - they really are very simple to perform "huge" repairs on, compared to more modern building methods.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.