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    Risk of subsidence

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    Hi all,

    I just had the survey back for a potential house we want to buy but its come back as a medium to high risk of subsidence. The home report shows no signs of cracking or subsidence but off course they could have missed it, it been covered up etc. The property information pack also says it hasn't been underpinned and no it isn't effect by high premiums.

    Does anyone have any idea of who I can contact, maybe the council to see if there was any risk at the time of subsidence when planning permission was given?

    thanks

    24 Comments

    Don't bother, better to walk away now and find another house.

    If you need a mortgage, then would they be prepared to lend?
    Could you cover the costs if underpinning was necessary?
    It could be worth it based on costs, risks, and a massivlely lowered asking price.
    You would need some sort of structural engineer to view it and give an opinion

    I'd be concerned that if you did buy it and subsidence occurred, your insurance my not settle as you were aware of the increased risk and didn't inform them accordingly.

    If you do proceed, ensure that the survey is written such that it specifically states that "the report can be relied upon by third parties" (or named mortgage provider) - and not just yourselves.

    We recently bought a property that had suffered subsidence caused by a collapsed drain (non mains drainage), the subsidence was on an extension to the main house built many years ago that we plan to knock down anyway.
    The hoops we had to go through simply because the the survey didn't contain this phrase were immense, the surveyor would not amend the report as it would affect his liability insurance, countless phone calls and emails eventually sorted it 1 day before exchange of contracts.

    If you really want the property (as we did) my advise would be to get professional advise and speak directly to your mortgage providers claims department to get an idea of what you'll need in advance, the stress and aggravation will be huge otherwise.

    The survey report, the home report and the property information pack all do different things. Just because 2 of them don't mention subsidence does not make the survey report wrong.
    Armed with that survey information you could perhaps negotiate a huge discount on the property and you could now seek out quotes for buildings insurance. Personally, I would do what kester76 said.

    Original Poster Banned

    tardytortoise

    The survey report, the home report and the property information pack all … The survey report, the home report and the property information pack all do different things. Just because 2 of them don't mention subsidence does not make the survey report wrong.Armed with that survey information you could perhaps negotiate a huge discount on the property and you could now seek out quotes for buildings insurance. Personally, I would do what kester76 said.



    Sorry, I may have got my documents mixed up;

    Property information pack - no under pinning, no high premiums
    Home buyers report - no cracking, no signs of subsidence
    Local searches - moderate risk of Potential for Shrinking or Swelling Clay Ground Stability Hazards

    I don't believe there ever has been or currently is signs of subsidence

    so why if all that, are you at risk of subsidance any more with this property than another??

    we have clay ground and were surrounded by at least 4 council owned trees that were too large for the area.
    we have just finished a long and stressful claim for subsidance for our property due to the trees taking even more moisturise from the ground. Subsidance excess' are generally £1000
    if you want my advice, walk away and look for another house if there is a high likelihood of subsidance although if it's just because of clay soil I wouldn't let that solely decide for me.

    Original Poster Banned

    Gillybean177

    so why if all that, are you at risk of subsidance any more with this … so why if all that, are you at risk of subsidance any more with this property than another??



    This is exactly what I'm trying to understand, the local searches are computer based/ geographical based searches no one actually looks at the property unlike the home buyers report.

    Im guessing every house in the street has the same "risk" due to us living in a high clay area

    Soil type;
    Soilscape 18:
    Slowly permeable seasonally wet slightly acid but base-rich loamy and clayey soils
    Edited by: "cokezone1112" 9th Sep 2016

    cokezone1112

    This is exactly what I'm trying to understand, the local searches are … This is exactly what I'm trying to understand, the local searches are computer based/ geographical based searches no one actually looks at the property unlike the home buyers report.Im guessing every house in the street has the same "risk" due to us living in a high clay areaSoil type;Soilscape 18: Slowly permeable seasonally wet slightly acid but base-rich loamy and clayey soils



    Regardless of these reports you should always get a FULL structural report on any property you seriously are thinking of buying by an independent surveyor. It is only this report you can trust when it comes to possible subsidence - after all if they get it wrong you can sue them! But do watch out for mealy mouthed ambiguous comments.

    Do not rely on any mortgage companies survey/

    As said above, you need a Full Structural Survey on this property. You should also make inquiries to establish if any houses in the area have suffered subsidence. Personally I wouldn't walk away, I'd run.

    Original Poster Banned

    tardytortoise

    Regardless of these reports you should always get a FULL structural … Regardless of these reports you should always get a FULL structural report on any property you seriously are thinking of buying by an independent surveyor. It is only this report you can trust when it comes to possible subsidence - after all if they get it wrong you can sue them! But do watch out for mealy mouthed ambiguous comments. Do not rely on any mortgage companies survey/


    What's the difference between a structural report and the home buyers survey?

    Original Poster Banned

    airbus330

    As said above, you need a Full Structural Survey on this property. You … As said above, you need a Full Structural Survey on this property. You should also make inquiries to establish if any houses in the area have suffered subsidence. Personally I wouldn't walk away, I'd run.


    What's the difference between a home buyers report and a structural survey?
    Edited by: "cokezone1112" 9th Sep 2016

    Most importantly the FSS will be backed by the reputation, liability and the insurance of the surveyor. So, if he gets it wrong you can sue him. The last FSS I had done took about 4 hours to complete and resulted in a report on every aspect of the the house and its surroundings amounting to about 50 pages. It is not 100% full proof, if the surveyor suspects a problem, he will highlight it, but some things need an engineers report for full security. Also, if a problem is disguised or inaccessible the survey might not cover it. The downside is cost, ours was 1% of the market value which hurt, but compared to the risk, cost and heartache of buying a bad house, it is money well spent. I am told the average price is about 0.7% of value. Most suitable for older homes or anything suspected of being problematic.
    Homebuyers Report is similar, but won't look under or around the obvious. I had one of these recently and it was surprisingly comprehensive, but that was on an 18 month old property of low risk.
    Edited by: "airbus330" 9th Sep 2016

    If the house is built of bricks, the cracks would be visible as they will be the size of a 20p coin lying flat. Did you get a full structural survey?

    cokezone1112

    What's the difference between a structural report and the home buyers … What's the difference between a structural report and the home buyers survey?


    This web page explains the differences
    rics.org/uk/…ys/
    Other available web pages say the same. Who advised you to have the home buyers report?

    Original Poster Banned

    mutley1

    If the house is built of bricks, the cracks would be visible as they will … If the house is built of bricks, the cracks would be visible as they will be the size of a 20p coin lying flat. Did you get a full structural survey?



    Did a home buyers report, through Connells

    "The structural condition of the walls appears to be generally satisfactory and we found no evidence of significant cracking, subsidence or structural movement. The main walls all appear to be satisfactorily straight and true to the eye, and generally well pointed."

    Original Poster Banned

    tardytortoise

    This web page explains the … This web page explains the differenceshttp://www.rics.org/uk/knowledge/consumer-guides/home-surveys/Other available web pages say the same. Who advised you to have the home buyers report?


    Ah perfect, so we went for level 2 a Home buyer report as the house is only 20 years old with no outbuildings and a very small garden

    cokezone1112

    Did a home buyers report, through Connells"The structural condition of … Did a home buyers report, through Connells"The structural condition of the walls appears to be generally satisfactory and we found no evidence of significant cracking, subsidence or structural movement. The main walls all appear to be satisfactorily straight and true to the eye, and generally well pointed."


    Who is the Estate Agency for the property you are thinking of buying?
    Connells by any chance?

    cokezone1112

    Did a home buyers report, through Connells"The structural condition of … Did a home buyers report, through Connells"The structural condition of the walls appears to be generally satisfactory and we found no evidence of significant cracking, subsidence or structural movement. The main walls all appear to be satisfactorily straight and true to the eye, and generally well pointed."



    Most valuation report will come up with some risk for subsidence as a lot of area have clay soil but if the surveyor says that there is no evidence of cracks or evidence of further movement then you should be fine if the bank is happy to lend you the money and you want the property.

    Underpin costs vary depending on extent of works needed but could run to £50k or more.

    It could be that the clay subsoil around the property has a high plasticity content therefore more prone to movement. Obvs you haven't said the area but London clay in the South is one of the worst for this.

    If it is then the issue arises when you have mature trees nearby - Oaks, Poplars, Willows and Leylandi are high water demand and cause the most problems.

    Should mention that subsidence is also caused by mining, sink holes or faulty drains etc.

    Oh and I would also contact your local authority and check with Building Control for any history of subsidence local to the property.

    Original Poster Banned

    tardytortoise

    Who is the Estate Agency for the property you are thinking of buying? … Who is the Estate Agency for the property you are thinking of buying? Connells by any chance?


    Don't think so, it's richmonds estate agent in Hampshire. Connells is who natwest use ie the bank who the mortgage is with. I don't think they have any connection

    Original Poster Banned

    marboy

    It could be that the clay subsoil around the property has a high … It could be that the clay subsoil around the property has a high plasticity content therefore more prone to movement. Obvs you haven't said the area but London clay in the South is one of the worst for this.If it is then the issue arises when you have mature trees nearby - Oaks, Poplars, Willows and Leylandi are high water demand and cause the most problems.Should mention that subsidence is also caused by mining, sink holes or faulty drains etc.



    That's what I'm thinking, it's simply a clay area. In Hampshire btw. I would guess most houses in the area and other heavy clay areas for example south London would all say the same thing.

    Interesting. I'll definitely contact them and see for any previous claims in the area
    Edited by: "cokezone1112" 10th Sep 2016
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