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The wall plate to this roof has suffered from severe biodegradation and has been partially removed. The rafters in the surrounding area now rest on a wall plate that is not structurally sound and therefore a partial collapse of the roof is possible. A fungal infestation was evident in the timbers, and we considered that it could remain active. The most likely cause of the defect is that the roof has had a persistent leak, allowing the wall plate to become saturated for a prolonged period presenting ideal conditions for fungal infestations to develop. An attempt has been made to repair the wall rafter/wall junctions locally; however, substantial rotten material has been left in place and we consider therefore that this is not a permanent repair.

A permanent repair would involve removing roof coverings and effected roof timbers and replacing the wall plate to the extent that it is damaged by biodegradation. Much of the roof structure is hidden from view by boarding and insulation, and uncertainty over the extent of repairs required will persist until major works commence. Timbers will need to be cut back to expose the core of the timbers so that the extent of the infestation can be understood.

It should be noted that remedial work is likely to be extremely disruptive and, in some instances, a costly temporary roof is required to protect internal finishes during works leading to an escalation in repair costs. The most likely reason for the permanent repair works being deferred by the current owners is that they may intend to undertake the work when substantial works to replace the roof coverings are undertaken.

It is essential, even with a property that appears in a good condition, that you have a thorough survey undertaken so that you can understand the implications of defects, and the budgetary allowances that you should make when taking on ownership.

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