So, about three weeks ago we inspected a property with a substantial basement space which had been 'converted' into habitable living space.  We would expect that the total value of the property was in the range of half a million pounds, with the basement being almost full footprint, which gives an idea of the scope of the conversion.

The reason for our visit, was that the property had changed hands and the new owners required advice on the basement which was converted by an unknown builder for a previous owner, which was now leaking.

In opening up, we found that whomever had undertaken the conversion had included extremely poorly designed & conceived means of drainage, which had clogged up in a relatively short space of time, with this affecting the living space over via low level deterioration of plaster wall finishes and mould growth, caused by water penetration through the included cavity drainage membranes.

The design was so poor that a large proportion of the work will require stripping out and replacing in order to provide a dry living space which will remain dry in the long term.

So, having identified the brand of the cavity drainage membrane installed, we called up our local supplier representative of the brand of membrane/system installed, who we know well and like a great deal, to give him what-for on behalf of the new owner who now has an expensive problem to contend with.

The rep appreciated what we were saying, but also stated that they cannot help it if people do not do what they are advised to do, such as 'including sump pump systems' - which for the uninitiated is a necessity on any project where the structure is fully below ground, and where the intention is to keep a space dry...

The issue is that there are contractors who do not know what they are doing and either through ignorance or choice, cut corners or implement poor designs which ultimately costs the consumer in a serious way, when basements flood.

So, if you're successfully selling waterproofing products and are doing very well thank-you; and are approached by general contractors to buy your products, what can you do other than try and give best advice even if they do not follow it?!

I don't blame suppliers because like us they must sell products or services to survive, and you can't take full responsibility for what others do, but it is a fact - and we are seeing this more and more - that consumers are falling foul of these situations, and they are the only ones losing out !

We received a call from a client in Cheadle Hulme, Manchester, advising that the sump pump alarm was operating.  Our Service Engineer attended the property out of hours at the clients request to check over the system.

BBC News reported:

'Heavy rain storms have led to severe flooding in parts of Greater Manchester'.

'People living in Stockport and Cheadle Hulme were thought to be the worst-hit, as a flood warning was issued for the River Bollin catchment area'.

'The Environment Agency said Knutsford, Wilmslow, Hale, Macclesfield and Bollington could also be affected'.

With regard to our waterproofing system, this was working hard but sucessfully protecting the habitable basement space, with the alarm indicating that the system was close to capacity, but with no issue occurring.

This system is over 12 years old, but being serviced annually by Trace Basement Systems so that it continues to function and protect as it was designed to.  We continue to innovate and provide increased protection to our clients, and in this case have offered upgrades to the client in question to double their protection.

I wonder how many basements were not so fortunate.

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