Destruction Caused by Leaky Gutters

The power of water and its destructive affect on the built environment is highlighted in a recent case dealt with by PACT
And  the moral of the story ?
‘Seasonal property maintenance is essential if problems later on are to be avoided’

October 2021

When opticians, F Norville  Ltd, went into Administration, PACT was instructed to provide valuation and sales advice over a number of the company’s properties including retail outlets in Dursley and Wotton Under Edge.  

While the latter was quickly sold to an adjoining owner the shop on Dursley High Street proved a little more problematic.




Neglect and Disrepair

A traditional, three storey Victorian building with ground floor retail and residential accommodation above,  the property was found to be in average decorative order.  However it was evident that general maintenance had been neglected  with the flat-roof, bay window at first floor level showing signs of water ingress for occurring for some time.  A local roofer was initially appointed to replace the flat roof and flashing which we thought would solve the problem.

This however proved to be only the beginning.


The Power of Water

Having stripped off the felt roof over the bay window it quickly became apparent that the failure of the felt covering was not the cause of the water entering the building.  What we had not anticipated was that the front elevation, at first and second floor level, was of structural timber frame construction and that the box gutter had been leaking for probably 20 years causing extensive wet rot, to not only the substantial wall plate that formed the box gutter, but also to the timbers forming the front of the property.



Having established the extent of the damage it was apparent that the front elevation was no longer structurally sound and structural engineers were instructed to advise on the steps needed to ensure the structural integrity of the building.

The engineers produced drawings and a Specification of Works to be included in the refurbishment programme,.  This was priced by the roofer and these costs were verified and confirmed as reasonable by local quantity surveyors.


The Solution

  • Due to the extent of the damage the front elevation had to be rebuilt in materials to match those being replaced, this part of Dursley being in a conservation area.
  • The work took approximately 10 weeks to complete with a total cost in excess of £60,000.
  • Local contractors and professional firms were used for works undertaken, securing competitive quotes and supporting local businesses during the pandemic





Lessons learned

The moral of this story is that annual property maintenance is essential if problems later on are to be avoided.  If the gutters had been regularly cleaned the leak would have been identified and an early fix would have avoided this substantial cost.



Find out more about our empty property & property caretaker services:  Property Caretaker Service 


RELATED ARTICLES: [Planned Property Maintenance]

Joint Administrator | Liquidator:  Simon Girling, c/o BDO LLP, Bridgewater House, Finzels Reach, Counterslip, Redcliffe, Bristol BS1 6BX 


Local Contractors employed in this project:

K & R Roofing Ltd, 19 Barton Field, Cambridge, Gloucester, Gloucestershire, GL2 7DH
Davidson Walsh Structural Engineers,  37 Prestbury Road, Cheltenham,  GL52 2PT
Adams Fletcher & Partners Quantity Surveyor- North Ground Suite, The Wheelhouse, Bonds Mill, Stonehouse, Glos, GL10 3RF