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Modern House With Internal Floor Lower Than Ground Level

Postby HouseWorrier » Mon Apr 23, 2018 6:35 am

Hi everyone,

We've lived in our 2001 built house for 5 years with no issues related to this, but I had a bit of a paranoia attack yesterday for some reason and have really got myself worked up.

Down the side of the house is a large, shared driveway which leads to several garages behind us. That ground is, at one end, about five courses of bricks higher than the floor inside our living room the other side of the wall. There is a drain which runs the length of the house, separating the wall from the tarmac. There are then what look like upended paving slabs laid between the drain and the wall:


As you can see, at the back of the house they have actually bothered to address the issue by leaving a gap between the steps and the wall. So why did they think it was ok to leave it completely built up along the side?

Surely this is a recipe for rising damp? You can just about see the DPC in the outer leaf, which is above ground on the outside, but quite a lot higher than the internal floor. Could the inner DPC be quite a lot lower than the outer one? I thought they were supposed to be about the same? I'm not really understanding why the outer leaf of a cavity wall would need a DPC anyway, as the bricks are supposed to withstand driving rain etc without transferring to the inside?

I had a look at our homebuyers report and it doesn't really mention anything about this, only that "the main walls have a dry lined inner leaf and outer skin of brick, separated by an air gap. The walls contain a plastic damp proof course". It also refers to the need to cover the "small but dangerous gap between the side gate steps and the house", so presumably they did notice the change in gradient and the fact that the house is actually below ground level at the side!

I am now having nightmares that when we go to sell, a more vigilant surveyor might have concerns about this and the house will be unsaleable. Is this a valid concern or am I missing something and it's not a problem? And does rising damp just suddenly become a problem, or would we know by now? We have had some very very wet spells since living here and I've never so much as smelled dampness in the living room - and I have a very sensitive nose.

Thanks for reading. Any thoughts would be much appreciated.
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