PDA

View Full Version : New homes 'crumbling due to weak mortar'


Naughty Nigel
6th December 2018, 09:57 AM
So it seems that many newbuild homes are crumbling due to weak mortar.

BBC Report - New homes 'crumbling due to weak mortar' (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-46454844)

This is in addition to problems such as vibration throughout the house whenever the spin dryer is working.

According to the report, "Exactly why the weaker building material may have been used is unclear.

In some cases, the housebuilder may have simply used the wrong type of mortar. In other cases, errors may have been made mixing and laying the material on site."

Now let me think. How much does a bag of Portland cement cost? And how much does sand cost?

Given the race to build as many houses as possible in the shortest possible time and at the lowest possible cost is this yet another poisoned legacy for our children to inherit?

We have come to expect our homes to outlive us, but are they becoming just as disposable as cars and television sets?

TimP
6th December 2018, 10:01 AM
Given the race to build as many houses as possible in the shortest possible time and at the lowest possible cost

Is anyone, anyone at all surprised at this. Everything is made / built down to a cost.
Blame people for wanting everything at the lowest possible cost, not understanding that quality costs a bit more.

Jax
6th December 2018, 10:19 AM
In the "old days" bricklaying mortar was a 3 to 1 ratio. Now it appears 5.5 to 1 is the recommended ratio. If they've skimped on the mortar on these estates, heaven knows what the foundations are like if using concrete slab base construction. :eek:

Jax

Rocknroll59
6th December 2018, 10:39 AM
The building industry is going down the 'Potholes' :D .....i've worked in it for over 50 years and houses have never been built so badly as they are at present.

Naughty Nigel
6th December 2018, 10:48 AM
The building industry is going down the 'Potholes' :D .....i've worked in it for over 50 years and houses have never been built so badly as they are at present.

That is hardly good news when for most people a house is the biggest investment they will ever make.

The scandal of selling newbuilds leasehold and then demanding extortionate ground rents is also unresolved.

Rocknroll59
6th December 2018, 11:18 AM
Unfortunately its a combination of a few things....no real apprenticeships anymore and learning from past tradesman time served, cheap imported labour from outside the UK ( I have many horror stories to tell you if you have the time), drive to the bottom for labour prices, lack of control (no more clerk of works looking over work), national housebuilders too big and powerful, plus a few more.....but generally things are built too quickly and houses now all look the same where ever they are in the UK due to standardisation......its a great shame that houses built today will not be around in 50 > 100 years time as older houses that were built years ago. :rolleyes:

MJ224
6th December 2018, 11:21 AM
That is hardly good news when for most people a house is the biggest investment they will ever make.

The scandal of selling newbuilds leasehold and then demanding extortionate ground rents is also unresolved.

That explains why the Persimmon boss gets a £75 million bonus. What the F**k is going on in our society.

I understand it would be very nice to £75,000,000 in the bank, but really and honestly who needs that amount to live on/with.

It's a disgrace to all of us...………..:(

Wally
6th December 2018, 11:53 AM
As someone who has worked in the bulding industry,sadly, this 'news' is not 'new news.'

The mortar is now pre-mixed to a formula as used in laboratory tests. A case of one mix fits all. Even bricks, going back to the 60's with the incorrect mixture formula for different parts of the UK have suffered similar issues by beint too porous for the local conditions.

When an elderly lady home owner complained, - still under warranty - she was informed that to do so would make her house unsaleable? The gagging order is just anothe angle to shut out complaints.

This whole scenario, is just another version of the emissions scam. Like the emission scam, It won't go away anytime soon as long as they get away with paltry fines etc., that don't fit the crime.

Naughty Nigel
6th December 2018, 11:56 AM
That explains why the Persimmon boss gets a £75 million bonus. What the F**k is going on in our society.

I understand it would be very nice to £75,000,000 in the bank, but really and honestly who needs that amount to live on/with.

It's a disgrace to all of us...………..:(

And meanwhile people struggle throughout their working lives, and sometimes beyond to pay their mortgages to fund it.

Many people blame capitalism but there just seems to be a total lack of common decency and self control amongst these people.

Likewise the woman who pays herself £220,000,000 a year on the proceeds of gambling.

Wally
6th December 2018, 04:55 PM
That explains why the Persimmon boss gets a £75 million bonus. What the F**k is going on in our society.

I understand it would be very nice to £75,000,000 in the bank, but really and honestly who needs that amount to live on/with.

It's a disgrace to all of us...………..:(

Paid peanuts when compared to this bonus payout. *yes

:eek: --> Denise Coates, the co-founder and chief executive of gambling giant Bet365 (https://uk.pokernews.com/bet365-poker/), became the highest paid boss in the United Kingdom thanks to paying herself a record £199 million last year according to the company’s latest financial results.

Coates’ monster salary also came with £18 million in dividends, taking her pre-tax earnings to £217 million, dwarfing the previous highest UK boss’ salary, held by Sir Martin Sorrell of WPP, by almost £169 million.

Now we know why gambling is a mug's game. *yes

Jim Ford
6th December 2018, 05:52 PM
As someone who has worked in the bulding industry,sadly, this 'news' is not 'new news.'

The mortar is now pre-mixed to a formula as used in laboratory tests. A case of one mix fits all. Even bricks, going back to the 60's with the incorrect mixture formula for different parts of the UK have suffered similar issues by beint too porous for the local conditions.

I don't know much about building materials, but I've always understood that mortar uses soft sand and relatively little Portland cement in order for it to be flexible - with movement the mortar yields rather than the bricks cracking. The mechanism by which the mortar yields is a mystery to me - I can't visualise it. My house is 19th Century, so I guess it's got lime mortar which is supposed to be even more flexible.

Perhaps someone can explain the manner in which mortar flexes, without crumbling.

Concrete with sharp sand, ballast and Portland cement I can understand!

Jim

drmarkf
6th December 2018, 09:00 PM
No surprises here!

However, I still well remember labouring on building sites during my gap year and university holidays in 1972 & 73, and watching the foreman directing the drain laying team to bury the pipes at the regulation depth at the various junctions, but bring them up to 3’ depth on the long runs between.

The ‘10-year man’ came round regularly to check compliance for the building certificates, but he only had to do this around junctions...

These were on high-cost executive homes in the Midlands, so gawd knows what standards applied on cheaper housing. I take stories that buildings were better in the old days with a barrow load of hard core.

OM USer
6th December 2018, 09:51 PM
It will be just like the new builds going up on flood plains where there is a deal with the insurers to ensure that insurance can be obtained by the first owners...for a few years. After that the house is uninsurable and hence unsaleable. No doubt it will be the same with crumbling mortar.

Naughty Nigel
6th December 2018, 10:14 PM
No surprises here!

However, I still well remember labouring on building sites during my gap year and university holidays in 1972 & 73, and watching the foreman directing the drain laying team to bury the pipes at the regulation depth at the various junctions, but bring them up to 3’ depth on the long runs between.

The ‘10-year man’ came round regularly to check compliance for the building certificates, but he only had to do this around junctions...

These were on high-cost executive homes in the Midlands, so gawd knows what standards applied on cheaper housing. I take stories that buildings were better in the old days with a barrow load of hard core.

Small estates developed by private builders were generally better put together but the industry has long suffered with quality issues.

Our own house was built in the late 1960's and has its fair share of design flaws; mainly that the window are very big, and that energy was cheap in those days so little thought was given to insulation or energy conservation. But on the plus side it is of generous size whilst the materials used are of good quality. Barring natural disasters I have no doubt that it will still be standing long after I have shuffled my mortal coil, which is how it should be.

We expect our homes to be permanent, and like to spend time and money making them 'ours'. This is not just a case of crumbling mortar but of effectively making homes disposable. Given people's lifetime investment in their homes this is really unacceptable and I hope those responsible get taken to the cleaners.

As for Victorian houses, I have some experience of Victorian workmanship and it wasn't always that much better than we see today, but at least the materials were generally of good quality and would last for a long time.

TimP
7th December 2018, 08:26 AM
It will be just like the new builds going up on flood plains where there is a deal with the insurers to ensure that insurance can be obtained by the first owners...for a few years. After that the house is uninsurable and hence unsaleable. No doubt it will be the same with crumbling mortar.

Is that how it works with flood plains then? Are the local council planners / building control officers really that stupid? (In general they weren’t at the LA where I used to work, but I suspect that’s now changing with a ‘transformation’ project)
Still if someone buys such a property isn’t it a case of buyer beware, after all in a lot cases the clue is in the name ‘Mill St’ , ‘Watery Lane’ ‘River Cottage’ etc....

Bikie John
7th December 2018, 09:01 AM
It's nothing new - Salisbury is a pretty old city which was all built on a flood plain! Which is not all bad, it gives us some good photo ops occasionally, and so far (cross fingers, touch wood, stroke rabbit's foot, chew garlic etc.) we have escaped serious damage.

http://www.e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/500/1040923-web.jpg

There are a few houses where the cellars flood fairly regularly. The occupants just accept it as a hazard that comes with living in a nice location.

John

Ricoh
7th December 2018, 09:32 AM
I don't know much about building materials, but I've always understood that mortar uses soft sand and relatively little Portland cement in order for it to be flexible - with movement the mortar yields rather than the bricks cracking. The mechanism by which the mortar yields is a mystery to me - I can't visualise it. My house is 19th Century, so I guess it's got lime mortar which is supposed to be even more flexible.

Perhaps someone can explain the manner in which mortar flexes, without crumbling.

Concrete with sharp sand, ballast and Portland cement I can understand!

Jim
At the molecular level the constituents of mortar and concrete form ionic bonds and have 5 slip planes being characteristic of ceramics. On a macro scale concrete has larger grains and fillers interlocking making a physically stronger structure. Unlike metallic bonds with 6 slip planes, ceramics will break once shear force exceeds the ionic bonding force. Impurities in the mix, which are virtually impossible to eliminate, will lead to weakening and likely fracture zones.

Otto
7th December 2018, 09:33 AM
My house was built in the late C17 (we think, nobody knows for sure!) and the small town I live in is close to a flood plain. The main river floods every year without fail. Crucially though, the town was built on higher ground. I have a mill stream outside my front door and it's in some spate at the moment. The Environment Agency list my postcode as being in a "medium flood risk" area so consequently getting insurance is difficult and expensive. If this house flooded, York would be washed into the North Sea a couple of days later but try telling the insurance companies that. Even the local broker says it's very difficult. When I were a lad insurance was based on local knowledge and risk assessment but not any more. If you're in the wrong postcode, tough. I think this house will still be here in another 250 years but I doubt very much if many modern ones will be! Pretty much since Thatcher, everyone wants everything at the lowest possible price and with the rise of the internet and so much "free" stuff, I wonder where it will all end.

Jim Ford
7th December 2018, 10:01 AM
At the molecular level the constituents of mortar and concrete form ionic bonds and have 5 slip planes being characteristic of ceramics. On a macro scale concrete has larger grains and fillers interlocking making a physically stronger structure. Unlike metallic bonds with 6 slip planes, ceramics will break once shear force exceeds the ionic bonding force. Impurities in the mix, which are virtually impossible to eliminate, will lead to weakening and likely fracture zones.

Thanks Steve - I'm impressed (I hope you didn't copy and paste it from Wikipedia! ;) ). I'll need to digest it as I'm pretty vague about "ionic Bonds".

Jim

Naughty Nigel
7th December 2018, 10:05 AM
My house was built in the late C17 (we think, nobody knows for sure!) and the small town I live in is close to a flood plain. The main river floods every year without fail. Crucially though, the town was built on higher ground. I have a mill stream outside my front door and it's in some spate at the moment. The Environment Agench list my postcode as being in a "medium flood risk" area so consequently getting insurance is difficult and expensive. If this house flooded, York would be washed into the North Sea a couple of days later but try telling the insurance companies that. Even the local broker says it's very difficult. When I were a lad insurance was based on local knowledge and risk assessment but not any more. If you're in the wrong postcode, tough. I think this house will still be here in another 250 years but I doubt very much if many modern ones will be! Pretty much since Thatcher, everyone wants everything at the lowest possible price and with the rise of the internet and so much "free" stuff, I wonder where it will all end.

I am sure problems started a long time before Maggie became PM. The oil crisis and other factors in the early 1970's made cost reduction fashionable in the business world. Competition from Japan from the late 1960's onwards had also encouraged British manufacturers to cut costs and quality rather than raising their game to compete with the 'yellow peril' head on.

Nothing much has changed, but modern engineering has made cost reduction (or 'value engineering' as we were told to call it) more of a science than an art form; hence the results are more predictable.

So if you ever wondered why everything starts to go wrong with your car after 100,000 miles ......

As always it comes back to British management only being interested in this quarter's bottom line. :rolleyes:

Naughty Nigel
7th December 2018, 10:09 AM
It's nothing new - Salisbury is a pretty old city which was all built on a flood plain! Which is not all bad, it gives us some good photo ops occasionally, and so far (cross fingers, touch wood, stroke rabbit's foot, chew garlic etc.) we have escaped serious damage.

http://www.e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/500/1040923-web.jpg

There are a few houses where the cellars flood fairly regularly. The occupants just accept it as a hazard that comes with living in a nice location.

John

Well the Cathedral has survived for over 1,000 years, despite only having foundations going down about 3' below ground level. How did that ever get past the Building Superintendent? :)

Ricoh
7th December 2018, 10:33 AM
Thanks Steve - I'm impressed (I hope you didn't copy and paste it from Wikipedia! ;) ). I'll need to digest it as I'm pretty vague about "ionic Bonds".

Jim
No haha, I studied Physical Electronics and as a grounding in the first year we had to engage with material science.

Bikie John
7th December 2018, 11:21 AM
Well the Cathedral has survived for over 1,000 years, despite only having foundations going down about 3' below ground level. How did that ever get past the Building Superintendent? :)

Masonic handshakes, I suspect :)

The cathedral is a little bit higher than the meadows. During these floods the close very nearly flooded, but the meadows cover a huge area so once it is all covered like this it would take a huge amount of water to raise the level by another centimetre. The main road from Bristol to Southampton, the A36, passes the river just outside the city and during these floods the level was up to within about 6 inches of flooding. Since the river could drain the water at pretty much the same rate as it was arriving from the hills at this point, there wasn't too much risk. Cutting off the A36 could paralyse quite a swath of southern England.

At the moment the river is fairly clear so the water is able to drain at a reasonable rate. We recently fought off an application from Mr. Sainsbury The Dismal Grocer to build a new superstore on the flood plain. The planned construction would have kept the store dry but impeded the drainage capacity of the river, so if there were a sudden load of water it would have backed up into the city much worse.

John

Naughty Nigel
7th December 2018, 11:42 AM
Masonic handshakes, I suspect :)

At the moment the river is fairly clear so the water is able to drain at a reasonable rate. We recently fought off an application from Mr. Sainsbury The Dismal Grocer to build a new superstore on the flood plain. The planned construction would have kept the store dry but impeded the drainage capacity of the river, so if there were a sudden load of water it would have backed up into the city much worse.

John

I like the idea of funny handshakes John, but think this was probably long before the Masons had become established. :)

(They also fell out with the Catholic church but that was much later.)

I am interested in your comments about Sainsbury's planned development. I lived near to Guildford until about thirty years ago, and that too was prone to a bit of flooding. The River Wey runs through a narrow valley at Guildford so some flooding can be expected. There were some large water meadows upstream of Guildford which absorbed a lot of water during the winter, and most of the land around the river in the (then) town centre was of fairly low value. I also vaguely remember there was a big timber yard beside the river which flooded regularly but nobody worried too much.

Then, in the 1960's Debenham's had the bright idea of building a new department store on the site of the old timber yard, but encroaching into the river itself so that cafeteria users could enjoy watching the boats and swans. To make maximum use of space the store had an underground car park, and a basement below river level.

To everyone's surprise this new 'obstruction' in the river caused massive flooding, whilst the basement and ground floor of the store regularly flooded. I presume it is still there but you really do wonder at the intelligence of developers who think they can outwit nature.

Jim Ford
7th December 2018, 01:49 PM
Well the Cathedral has survived for over 1,000 years, despite only having foundations going down about 3' below ground level. How did that ever get past the Building Superintendent? :)

I remember being told by the guide that it's the only example of English Perpendicular still standing - all the rest have fallen down! It's sitting on a bed of gravel that has saved it.

It's well worth going up in the tower.

Jim

Otto
7th December 2018, 02:25 PM
I am sure problems started a long time before Maggie became PM. The oil crisis and other factors in the early 1970's made cost reduction fashionable in the business world. Competition from Japan from the late 1960's onwards had also encouraged British manufacturers to cut costs and quality rather than raising their game to compete with the 'yellow peril' head on.

Nothing much has changed, but modern engineering has made cost reduction (or 'value engineering' as we were told to call it) more of a science than an art form; hence the results are more predictable.

So if you ever wondered why everything starts to go wrong with your car after 100,000 miles ......

As always it comes back to British management only being interested in this quarter's bottom line. :rolleyes:


I agree Nigel. I recall buying a cassette recorder back in the early 70s. It was badged "Bush", a British brand with a long history, but on the back it said "Made in Japan for Rank Bush Murphy". That was the first time I'd seen an ostensibly British brand selling Japanese-made products but it became pretty much standard practice of course.

The famous old hi-fi company H J Leak & Co were bought out by Rank as well. At the time their Stereo 30 amplifier was judged one of the best available but after the takeover it was replaced by the Delta 30. The story at the time was that Rank designers took as many of the parts as they could out of the Stereo 30 without damaging the sound too much! I think it was about that time that the phrase "built-in obsolescence" came into common usage, when companies started to realise that if they made products that lasted too long they'd eventually go out of business. I still blame Thatcher though :D.

Naughty Nigel
7th December 2018, 02:43 PM
I remember being told by the guide that it's the only example of English Perpendicular still standing - all the rest have fallen down! It's sitting on a bed of gravel that has saved it.

It's well worth going up in the tower.

Jim

That is interesting information Jim. In truth many of these old building have fallen down and been rebuilt several times over the centuries, and of course have been enlarged or altered. Some, such as Carlisle have ended up being much smaller than they were owing to a whole nave falling down.

Given our lack of engineering knowledge at that time it is remarkable that so many old churches and cathedrals in particular are still standing. And to think they did all this without mobile phones or the internet.

It is all down to faith you see. *yes ;)

I would love to climb the tower of Salisbury, but I wouldn't want to be the person who has to change the light bulb on the top of that spire. I don't mind heights but I really don't trust long ladders! :)

My son and I were lucky enough to have a 'lock in' at Salisbury for a few hours one evening after Evensong, with nothing but a pile of organ music for entertainment. :D

I have to say it was quite a surreal experience, and the organ there is one of the finest in the country, originally being a Father Willis from the company's Liverpool works.

Naughty Nigel
7th December 2018, 02:51 PM
I agree Nigel. I recall buying a cassette recorder back in the early 70s. It was badged "Bush", a British brand with a long history, but on the back it said "Made in Japan for Rank Bush Murphy". That was the first time I'd seen an ostensibly British brand selling Japanese-made products but it became pretty much standard practice of course.

The famous old hi-fi company H J Leak & Co were bought out by Rank as well. At the time their Stereo 30 amplifier was judged one of the best available but after the takeover it was replaced by the Delta 30. The story at the time was that Rank designers took as many of the parts as they could out of the Stereo 30 without damaging the sound too much! I think it was about that time that the phrase "built-in obsolescence" came into common usage, when companies started to realise that if they made products that lasted too long they'd eventually go out of business. I still blame Thatcher though :D.

I remember Leak well. So many of these great brands were destroyed by ill-informed cost cutting and bad management. Quad survived in private ownership for a good while longer, but is now owned by the Chinese IAG Group along with Wharfedale and a few others that I have forgotten.

Philips was one of the biggest HiFi manufacturers in Europe and had some good (if under-rated) products. It seems impossible now but Philips and Sony co-invented the Compact Disk player in the late 1970's, but Philips ended up selling re-badged Marantz CD players built in Japan, or perhaps it was the other way around.

Jim Ford
7th December 2018, 03:12 PM
I would love to climb the tower of Salisbury, but I wouldn't want to be the person who has to change the light bulb on the top of that spire. I don't mind heights but I really don't trust long ladders.

ISTRC that was mentioned - the Clerk of Works does it! You can get up to the parapet just below the spire. Much of the stonework was eroded by the weather and I was quite leery of leaning on it. I didn't want to have to shout BELOW if it gave way!

Within the spire itself are what's left of the scaffolding and a winch that was used during building. There are massive basalt pillars taking much of the weight of the tower. They're bowed inwards!

On the floor, directly under the pinnacle of the spire is a brass plate with the word 'Center' - the American spelling! This was put there before Dr Johnson produced his dictionary and the spelling of words often differed.

I think it was on a Winchester Cathedral tour that it was pointed out that some of the timbers within the roof space had odd holes and cutaways in them. We were told that they were from recycled ship's timbers, which were often used.

When I visit cathedrals I always try to see if there are tours to the 'hidden corners'!

Jim

Otto
7th December 2018, 03:25 PM
Yes, Wharfedale made some pretty good speakers back in the day. They also introduced the first "hi-fi" cassette deck in the UK market but it was made in Japan by Nakamichi. Actually just about every "hi-fi" cassette deck was made by Nakamichi including the one I bought with the old Goodmans name on it. It was a very good machine. Wharfedale were also owned by Rank for some time and if Wiki is to be believed the brand was owned by Argos in recent years!

When I was a student in Leeds I was in the market for some new speakers and a friend and I went to the local hi-fi dealer to listen to a few. My friend took his own along too for comparison purposes. They were an obscure Japanese brand and didn't sound very good - the salesman scoffed at them and scornfully described them as "a bit Wharfedaley" :D.

I had an early Marantz CD player, a CD-84 if I remember rightly. Marantz were owned by Philips at one time and I think my CD-84 had a Philips transport. Eventually it refused to play any discs and remains in the attic until such time as it becomes valuable again ;).

Another friend has a Quad 33-405-FM3 system and swears by it!

Otto
7th December 2018, 03:28 PM
When I visit cathedrals I always try to see if there are tours to the 'hidden corners'!

Jim

Should you ever visit Florence make sure to do the full tour of the Duomo. The way that thing is built is astonishing!