Council team called in to save two homes from collapse

Published: Friday 18th May 18

Council building experts were called in to save two family homes in Balham that were in danger of collapsing.

Work being carried out in a basement at a terraced property in Cathles Road disturbed the foundations and prompted fears that both it and a neighbouring property could partially collapse.

Damage to the rear wall

Firefighters who’d been called to the scene by the builders immediately summoned staff in the council’s building control service who pumped tonnes of concrete into the basement and then erected scaffolding to stabilise the two stricken buildings.

The council’s building control team is on call 24 hours a day to respond to any situation in Wandsworth which may involve a dangerous building or structure.  

Wandsworth’s head of building control David Batsford said: “We got a call from the emergency services on Thursday morning telling us that there was a serious problem with these two properties and that they were in imminent danger of collapse.

“We were able to quickly get there with some equipment, which was fortunate because the buildings were in a precarious state.

“We had to then work in quite dangerous conditions to pour concrete into the basement  to stabilise the building. This was made slightly more difficult as the local authority were unfamiliar with the building because the construction works were being overseen by a privately-approved inspector.”

People can report a dangerous building or structure to the council at any time of the day or night. During office hours people can call (020) 8871 7620 or (020) 8871 6000 at all other times.

 Where necessary the danger will be removed immediately by the council's own specialist contractors under the close supervision of an experienced senior building control surveyor who will ensure that the work is carried out in the most suitable way”

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Recent comments

When is the Council going to put a stop to these unnecessary and, as seen here, extremely dangerous excavations. They are ridiculous and result in every smallish house being made huge thus limiting choice. Stop them NOW.
Carol Tibbs

22 May 2018

Don't know why this basement building is allowed. My friend sold her house in Derwent Avenue - off Kingston Hill - the new owners went to build a basement extension and the house collapsed - it was an end of road house so only one house affected. Another friend living off the Kings Road, Chelsea found she couldn't open her front door because her home listed. Basement building should be stopped.

19 May 2018

It is so concerning that planning permission is being granted for the excavation of basements in these kind of properties; and a very poor use of scarce council resources to put things right when they unsurprisingly endanger the surrounding properties.
Sue Demont

19 May 2018

A basement at a terraced property of this type? Who on earth gave planning permission? Who checked the expertise of the contractors? How was the work being monitored, and who will foot the bill not only for the costs incurred by WBC but of the residents?
Janis Humberstone

19 May 2018

We live a few doors down from this - will other properties be affected??

18 May 2018