Nanny Knows Best

Nanny Knows Best
Dedicated to exposing, and resisting, the all pervasive nanny state that is corroding the way of life and the freedom of the people of Britain.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Help My House Is Falling Down


I was watching Sarah Beeny last night on "Help My House Is Falling Down", in which each week she comes to offer advice to people who (for reasons that escape me) have bought houses without conducting a full structural survey only to find that they are falling apart.

Anyhoo, last night featured a house with numerous problems; amongst which was a bowed wooden floor. The floor was duly ripped up and it could be seen that the joists, at some stage in the past, had been hacked at thus weakening their structure and causing the floor to bow and become unsafe.

Now, the logical solution would be to remove the weak joists and replace them.

Yes?

You would think that wouldn't you?

Well loyal readers I should point out that last night's house was of course Georgian, and therefore counted as a "listed" building, thus it came under the "protection" of one of Nanny's conservation officers.

Sarah informed the viewers that the officer had ruled that the joists must not be removed, but that extra joists could be put in.

Therefore, at extra expense, steel joists were inserted.

Please can someone tell me how leaving unsafe wooden joists, which will never be seen under a floor, and adding steel joists actually "preserves" our "cultural heritage"?

A house is meant to be a home, ie a "living" embodiment of the people who own it. Putting everything in aspic, merely because it is old, and refusing to allow sensible safety upgrades (when they don't affect the appearance of the house) is absurd.

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7 comments:

  1. Oh the wonders of the "consevation officer" in your local planning department. We own a large flat on the top floor of a lovely old building. It was listed and placed in a conservation area in 1977. In about 1975 the then owners installed upvc double glazing. Now, the windows are so small and so high up that to see them from the road you have to be looking at the sky.

    We asked, as we are obliged to do, via a £350 "application fee" to replace these 30+ year old knackered and blown windows with exactly the same thing. Refused.

    Don't mind that so much - understand the power to require us to reinstate original features, etc. etc.

    Here's the rub. For the last 9 months I have been trying to get advice from the planning department as to what they will accept (at three times the cost of upvc, obviously). There is no other building in the area of the same design and no way to get a "comparable", and no-one has lived here long enough to remember what was here before. 13 emails later, 14 telephone messages to this conservation officer, and two complaints. Not a single reply - ever.

    Emails are always bounced because his box is full. Every time I have phoned he is either on leave or off sick (usually off sick). When I have complained I have asked what I should do. The best answer I have received is "I don't know, really". The council's website invites us to enquire for advice and assistance. The council's employees (in my experience in this department) are incompetent, timewasting, time serving wastrels who wouldn't last five minutes in the private sector.

    As you say, this is my home. I want to do it up and make it nice. I can't because some incompetent serial sicky thrower who clealry would have fitted in just fine in old east german state employment has parked his arse in the planning department, no doubt on 50k per annum plus pension etc etc.


    No doubt when I finally get a response it will be in the same vein as your post about joists. I dread to think what bizarre instructions we will receive or what other hoops we will have to jump through or other costs we will have to bear.

    I'm thinking of having a stained glass window put in at the front depicting the burning of the council offices.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh the wonders of the "consevation officer" in your local planning department. We own a large flat on the top floor of a lovely old building. It was listed and placed in a conservation area in 1977. In about 1975 the then owners installed upvc double glazing. Now, the windows are so small and so high up that to see them from the road you have to be looking at the sky.

    We asked, as we are obliged to do, via a £350 "application fee" to replace these 30+ year old knackered and blown windows with exactly the same thing. Refused.

    Don't mind that so much - understand the power to require us to reinstate original features, etc. etc.

    Here's the rub. For the last 9 months I have been trying to get advice from the planning department as to what they will accept (at three times the cost of upvc, obviously). There is no other building in the area of the same design and no way to get a "comparable", and no-one has lived here long enough to remember what was here before. 13 emails later, 14 telephone messages to this conservation officer, and two complaints. Not a single reply - ever.

    Emails are always bounced because his box is full. Every time I have phoned he is either on leave or off sick (usually off sick). When I have complained I have asked what I should do. The best answer I have received is "I don't know, really". The council's website invites us to enquire for advice and assistance. The council's employees (in my experience in this department) are incompetent, timewasting, time serving wastrels who wouldn't last five minutes in the private sector.

    As you say, this is my home. I want to do it up and make it nice. I can't because some incompetent serial sicky thrower who clealry would have fitted in just fine in old east german state employment has parked his arse in the planning department, no doubt on 50k per annum plus pension etc etc.


    No doubt when I finally get a response it will be in the same vein as your post about joists. I dread to think what bizarre instructions we will receive or what other hoops we will have to jump through or other costs we will have to bear.

    I'm thinking of having a stained glass window put in at the front depicting the burning of the council offices.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Ken;

    You ask;
    "Please can someone tell me how leaving unsafe wooden joists, which will never be seen under a floor, and adding steel joists actually "preserves" our "cultural heritage"?"

    My Answer;

    Mmmmm No.

    ReplyDelete
  4. As a side issue, we watched the programme in increasing disbelief as this seemingly witless family "suddenly" realised that they appear to have bought the San Andreas Fault sandwiched between courses of brickwork. Did they have a survey? Why are they so calm about it all?

    As for preserving cultural heritage, that remodelled kitchen didn't look very Georgian to us ..

    ReplyDelete
  5. It should be quite acceptable to run new joists alongside the rotten ones,without this steel business,i have performed this on quite a few floors,walls and ceilings of listed buildings in my several decades as a carpenter,provided the timber is "treated" to building grade,there should not be any problem,might stink a bit to begin with because it is necessary to spray the rotten timber with fungicide ,but introduce a few smelly humans ,thier children plus dogs/cats and you will not notice.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I watched Homes under the Hammer today (I love this programme). ANyway, a guy bought some land at an auction which already had planning permission for three twon houses. (NOTE: this is from a few years ago). Nice guy who loved building houses. When they went back sveral months later, there were three beautiful houses, almost complete. He said he would never build a house again. All the new legislation re building regulations (eco friendly stuff) had made the job longer, with more unneccesary expense and lots of frustration.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Uncle John1:06 AM

    Some years ago the 'very rich' owner of a Tudor mansion near where I live took lots of advice from historians, and arranged for work to remove various 19th Century alterations and decoration, and return the original appearance.

    Oh NO! says Nanny - it was 'listed' with all those bits, and they must stay.

    ReplyDelete