01782  944945

Principal: Steve Butler MRICS Chartered Surveyor    

Steve Butler Chartered Surveyors
Marcus House, Park Hall Business Village, Park Hall Road, Stoke on Trent, ST3 5XA  

Open 8.30am to 6.30pm


RICS Expert Witness Reports






In the County Court of Stoke on Trent






CPR Part 35 Expert Report

by SJM Butler, MRICS


On the single instruction of Mr and Mrs

(The Plaintiff)


In respect of a defective conservatory at



1. Instruction


2. Qualifications


3 Description of the defects.


4. Investigation


5 Conclusion


6. Statement of truth


Appendix 1 – Photographs of the defects referred to in section 3.


  1. Instruction


  1. To prepare an expert report on the single instruction of Mr and Mrs McCaffery with a view to resolving a dispute in connection with a defective conservatory installation following an inspection on 29th July 2013.


2.      Qualifications


2.1    I am Steven John Macgregor Butler, a Member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyor trading as a sole practitioner. I qualified in 1992 and have in excess of twenty years experience of surveying residential properties, and preparing reports on defective workmanship.


3.      Description.


3.1       The property was originally a rectangular semi-detached house constructed             about 1965 with mostly suspended timber first floors facing approximately   North. At some time a single storey extension of the kitchen has been     constructed at the rear of the original property projecting about 1.8m


3.2       In recent months a conservatory has been built adjacent and projecting beyond      the kitchen extension. The conservatory slightly wraps around the kitchen to     accommodate the projecting wall on that side of the conservatory whilst     maintaining a flush internal wall face.


3.3       The conservatory has a brick faced walls probably with block lining, glass roof       with three faces and two hips supported on a PVCu clad steel frame. The        glazing sheets in the roof appear to be supported by PVCu clad steel rafters      running between the base and apex of the roof. A side window on the east             elevation and bi-folding doors for almost the full width of the south elevation          are PVCu framed with double glazing. The west elevation has no openings. A gutter is attached to the steel frame that forms the base of the roof. A general             photograph the conservatory is shown at Photograph 1.


3.4       The owners of the property have concerns about the construction of the      conservatory and most particularly water ingress that has manifested as        occasional drips from the roof when it is actually raining, and damp stains in             the bottom corners of the window opening on the east side of the property             shortly after it has started raining. The damp corners of the window opening          are shown at Photographs 2 and 3.


4.0       Investigation.


4.1       Measurement of the steel frame at the base of the conservatory roof on the             west side suggested that it and thus the head of the wall supporting it have a     fall of about 2.5cm in the 4.0m length of the conservatory. This is shown by     Photograph 4.


4.2       Inspection of the east side of the roof where the conservatory wraps around the     kitchen extension suggest that the base of the conservatory roof adjacent to the           kitchen extension is at a different level to the section of roof that projects         beyond the kitchen and is above the east side window. This is shown by the           slope of the glass and the frame at the juncture as shown in Photograph 5


4.3       Inspection of the conservatory roof glazing showed that there were gaps    between it and the supporting frame and movement of the glass and or frame         in relation to each other. It is possible to insert objects between the glass and   frame seals as shown by Photographs 6, 7 and 8.


4.4       The projection of the roofing sheets at the edge of the conservatory varies considerably. Photograph 9.


4.5       It is considered that the various gaps between the seals of the frame and     glazing of the roof and distortion of members and cladding are due to the        metal frame on which the roof sits distorting. This is likely to be due to the       heads of the walls that it sits on not being level as the frame was manufactured      in a factory conditions as a complete unit.


4.6       Inspection of the steel frame at the base of the roof above the wall projecting         beyond the kitchen extension shows that silicone seal has been inserted into a    number of holes in the frame. Photograph 10.


4.7       The owners of the property are of the opinion that the water ingress into the           sides of the window opening reduced following the insertion of this silicone.


4.8       It is considered that water in able to enter behind the gutter of the conservatory     most probably due to the distortion of the roof structure and then run in or      along the steel frame at the base of the conservatory roof. Once it reaches the   end of the frame it then runs down the sides of the window frame causing the       damp in the corner of the window opening nearest the kitchen extension.


4.9       It is not possible to see how the water might reach the base of the other side of      the window opening. Possibilities are that as the window frame sits in a ‘U ‘         shaped member water is able to run along the bottom of the frame from the      end nearest the kitchen extension. Alternatively there may be holes on the underside of the roof edge frame that allow water to enter on to the top of the          window frame near the furthest end form the kitchen extension, and again   run       down the side of the frame to the bottom corner of the window opening.


4.10     The owner of the property advise that they have tested the window of the conservatory to ensure that water cannot be penetrating though the window     frame or junctures with the glazing panels or walls. Water is apparently still      able to enter the conservatory when the window is covered with a water proof       membrane. Water apparently does not appear at the base of the windows when           only they and not the roof have been sprayed with water by the owner.


4.11     Further investigation revealed very poor brick work on the exterior of the   conservatory with inconsistent and in particularly fat joints and much spillage          of mortar on to the brickwork. Photograph 11.


4.12     The positioning of the air bricks that allow under floor ventilation of the     conservatory is such that area of the under floor area will not be property           vented making them vulnerable to decay. The under floor air flow to the         original part of the property will also be restricted.


4.13     The frame of the folding doors appears to be fitted out of plumb. Whilst the          doors operate properly at present it is possible that this may cause problems in    the future.


5.0       Conclusion


5.1       The conservatory is considered not to be fit for purpose due to the water    ingress


5.2       The fundamental cause appears to be a failure to build the various walls that           support the roof structure to the same height.


5.3       Lack of a level base causes the roof structure and coverings to deflect making        them vulnerable to water ingress that is able to migrate to the window    openings although these are some distance away from the roof.


5.4       In order to rectify the problem it is likely that substantial parts of the          conservatory walls will have to be demolished in order to provide a level base      for the roof structure.


5.5       It cannot be determined if the roof structure and glazing sheets will be capable      of re-use. This is likely to be dependent on whether they have been distorted      whilst in-situ.


5.6       Additional under floor vents should be provided on the end wall of the      conservatory below joist level to allow a good flow of air below the floors of     the conservatory and original part of the property.


6.0.   Statement of Truth


6.1    This report is prepared in accordance with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors Expert Witness Practice Statement.


6.2    I, Steven John MacGregor Butler, declare that:


  1. I understand that my duty in providing written reports and giving evidence is to help the Court, and that this duty overrides any obligation to the party who has engaged me, or the party who has paid or is liable to pay me. I confirm that I have complied with this duty and will continue to comply with this duty.
  2. I confirm that I have made clear which facts and matters referred to in this report are within my own knowledge and which are not.  Those that are within my own knowledge I confirm to be true.  The opinions I have expressed represent my true and complete professional opinions on the matters to which they refer.
  3. I have endeavoured to include in my report those matters which I have knowledge of or which I have been made aware that might adversely affect the validity of my opinion. I have clearly stated any qualifications to my opinion.
  4. I confirm that I am aware of the requirements of Civil Procedures Rule 35, Practice Direction 35, of the Civil Justice Protocol for the Instruction of Expert to Give Evidence in Civil Claims and the Practice Direction on Pre-Action Conduct.
  5. This report has been prepared in accordance with the Code of Practice for Experts.
  6. I have indicated the sources of all information I have used.
  7. I have not, without forming an independent view, included or excluded anything which has been suggested to me by others (in particular my instructing lawyers).
  8. I will notify those instructing me immediately and confirm in writing if for any reason my existing report requires any correction of qualification.
  9. I understand that:
    1. my report, subject to any corrections before swearing as to its correctness, will form the evidence be given under oath or affirmation.
    2. I may be cross-examined on my report by a cross-examiner assisted by an expert.
    3. I am likely to be the subject of public adverse criticism by the Judge if the Judge concludes that I have not taken reasonable care in trying to meet the standards set out above.
  10. I confirm that I have not entered into any arrangements where the amount or payment of my fees is in any way dependant upon the outcome of the case.



Signed                                                                         Dated


SJM Butler                                                    31st July 2013


Appendix 1 – Photographs of the defects


Photograph 1 - General view of the conservatory



Photograph 2 - View of the window opening near the kitchen extension. (Supplied by property owners).



Photograph 3 - View of the window opening near the sliding doors. (Supplied by property owners).



Photograph 4 – The fall on the base of the roof structure.



Photograph 5 – Slope of the frame and glass at juncture of the conservatory and kitchen extension.




Photograph 6 - Gap between the glazing unit and frame.



Photograph 7 - Gap between the glazing unit and frame.



Photograph 8 - Gap between the glazing unit and frame.



Photograph 9 Varying projections of the roof sheets.



Photograph 10 Mastic covering holes on the roof base frame.



Photograph 11 Poor brickwork.







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