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Customer Complaints

I had a bricklayer build a small pond brick wall 3 years ago and the customer is complaining the jointing has failed and is crumbling 

I have offered to get the wall re pointed which in my opinion should resolve the issue 

He has said he has had a proffesional bricklayer look at the wall and been told it should have had damp proofing and needs to be knocked told and re built and he would not accept it being re pointed 

In his letter he said if i am not prepared to do this he would get a bricklayer to re build it and claim the money back through a small claims court 

This is the first time i have experienced anything like this is there any advice anyone can give 


Many thanks 



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  • PRO

    I studied architecture. Many years ago so have no over view of this but am not an expert .a DPC is there to stop moisture travelling into a building and so keep it dry.  A single skin brick wall would not need a DPC the major effect suffered would be spalling of the facing brick, blowing of the face of the brick due to frost. 

    I would call his bluff and contact trading standards to mediate. Your offer seems resonablre to me.

  • Does he mean a virtical damp membrane? If so, and the wall is retaining soil, then he is right. If he means a standard horizontal DPC, then all this would do, would be to weaken the structure, unless a course of engineering bricks are used. 

    However, the jointing should not crumble after 3 years DPC or not and is a construction fault. The mortar could have been an incorrect sand/cement ratio, maybe it dried out too quickly in full sun or even attacked by frost. 

    • Hi Colin

      it is the outer wall of a raised square pond and he is talking about horizontal dpc

      There was a frost the night after it was built and my suggestion is that is whats caused the problem 

      Its the threat of legal action i am more concerned with has i have never had any issues with complaints in the past 



  • PRO

    Being an older guy I would tell you not to put a plastic damp course in a garden wall, as a strong wind or impact will allow the wall to topple over.

    Engineering or semi-engineering bricks too two courses above finished ground level and the right mortar mix, then straight on up with the facing work.

    However retaining walls can remain damp, do semi-engineering bricks may be needed all the way up and/ or a vertical damp membrane at the back.

    But as this is a pond wall it must be waterproofed at the back.

    Presumably there isn’t a issue with the bricks, merely the pointing, so repointing seems fair.


  • PRO

    Is there any possibility that the customer or someone under their instruction has cleaned the wall with acid and/ or a pressure washer?


    • good point andrew thank you although i dont suppose he will admit to that if he had 

      Many Thanks 


  • i would not have put a dpc in it as it will have a sidways load rather than a vertical load and would cause a week spot, i persume it has been built in english or flemish bond or simular to give it strength with a pond liner witch in turn will have moisture behind it 

    try offering him a independant inspection by letter (recorded delivery) and keep a coppy of all corespondence 

    i have a concreate path that I did 2 years ago it has spalled this winter with the extreem cold and wet 

    • PRO

      I agree, a plastic DPC would allow a retaining wall to slip off its foundation.

      In this instance I am picturing a very low wall without much thrust behind it, but still wouldn’t expect a DPC through it.


  • Hi All thanks for answers to date 

    i have attached a photo of the wall in question 

    The grass around the base is artificial which i installed at a later date 


    • The internal wall is solid concrete blocks 


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