Expensive building catastrophy

I know that subsidence is a problem here and in July had to have a terrace pillar propped up by Jean Pierre, the builder who built the original little house and terrace.  At the same time I had Lionel Martinez, the builder, look at the damp patches in my bedroom (now worse).

Damp in bedroom
Damp in bedroom

He came again today with his équipe.  They climbed on the roof and found some damage in the lead surrounding the solar panels, which they fixed temporarily.  I’ve phoned the plumber and he will sort this out soon I hope (under the ten year guarantee).

Lionel and his men were convinced that the main source of damp came from below.  At first they wondered about a leak in the underfloor heating (horror – that would have meant taking up the tiles, and I have no spare).  Then they looked at the subsidence in the jacuzzi terrace (buit after the house, by Jean-Pierre) and went underneath and looked at the foundations and saw evidence of damp coming down the wall.

They are convinced that the damp is caused by water collecting against the house and seeping into the external wall and going up as well as down from there.  I have been trying to just live with this subsidence as the thought of rebuilding the terrace is too horrific.

Subsiding terrace
Subsiding terrace

But now I have to contact Jean Pierre and get something done pretty urgently to stop rainwater seeping into the foundations.  At the very least I think he is going to have to build a trench, improve the water protection against the house and channel the water off the terrace.

The problem is that Jean Pierre blames me for the subsidence, saying I insisted on him paving the terrace before it had settled.  That is not true and I fear there is a pattern of him trying to evade responsibility when things go wrong (like the pillar on the terrace I pointed to earlier in this post).  Also, he works on his own and struggles to make a living.  So I fear I am going to be shelling out money I can ill afford – particularly as I watch my income plummet following the Brexit vote!

What I should really do is have the whole terrace repaved, probably getting rid of the jacuzzi at the same time.  But I can’t afford to contemplate such a big project, or to think about it just before going into hospital.

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