Anti-seismic scaremongering. ...

05/20/2013 - 22:14

We have a derelict 300m2 farmhouse which we'd planned to make our home and to start renovation work in a few years . I'm hearing horrifying stories of people abandoning such renovations mid project owing to anti seismic regs pushing the cost up. If you leave the original structure untouched would these measures still be as bad, ie if there was no extending happening etc? Could we really have bought a sound but unrestorable, uninhabitable house? Seems crazy that our one with thick,  flexible lime and stone walls has stood for 300 yeras but could now be classed dangerous unless weve got silly money to throw at it and maybe lose it's character in the meanwhile. Arghhhhhh.....!! Has anyone got any positive to say?


rachel68 Our experience is that we bought an old chestnut drying barn, which had never been a house. We had to have it dismantled and then a huge concrete pad laid. A new house was then built, but clad with the old stone - adding on to the original footprint at the same time. My memory of this is that, if your house has been a house, then different rules apply. Get yourself a good geometra to advise. By the way, what area are you in? Best wishes

The requirement to comply with current anti-seismic requirements depends on the extent of the work being done (and, as fabbriche points out, if there is a change of use, or if the house has been declared inagibili). I vaguely recall that when you bought your house there was some catastal inadequacy, which just possibly would put it into one of those categories.However, hopefully not!In a normal house case, if you are totally replacing roof timbers, or floor timbers, you will probbly have to bring the whole structure up to current anti-seismic standards. If you are just relaying floors and redoing the roof covering, and not significantly enlarging any openings in the walls, you should be okay.It's a difficult area, because it is basically down to the geometra (or his engineer) to make the decision - and if you get one who you think is being hyper-cautious it is not a bad idea to get a second opinion. If your roof timbers are sound, and strong enough to take a thinnish concrete reinforced slab on top to consolidate the roof, then it is just a repair. If you are obliged to reinforce the house to comply with anti-seismic regs it isn't such a huge deal. The option of using steel - creating a welded ring of steel angle or channel buried in the floor or roof construction, often at both first floor and roof level, anchored into the stonework - is quite discreet: the only visible signs may be a few steel plates showing on the outside of the building, and these can be quite decorative. It isn't cheap, (probably it is more costly than the commonly used concrete ring beam which has difficult to overcome aesthetic implications), but it isn't prohibitive.Extensions are not an issue - the norm is to build these entirely independent structurally, (connected only by a bit of mortar) which means only the new work has to comply.

 Thank you so much. That gives me a good knowledge basis to start from. I agree that it's not the end of the world to see a bit of metal if it serves a useful purpose and as long as our budget doesn't get doubled itmlooks like we'll find ansensible solution!  Now back to the more immediate problem;   how to remove dripped wax and little oil marks from an unsealed cotto floor!

I find it easiest just to call such marks 'patina' coolAcid won't help, possibly a substance termed decerante - wax remover - which is designed to strip old wax polish off floors might help with the candlewax. Other housewifely solutions involve kitchen paper and a hot iron, but I doubt you'll make the marks invisible. White spirit gets candlewax out of oriental carpets rather effectively...