Our client wished to purchase a period house knowing they were to completely refurbish it so did not wish to commission a General Surveyors Report (RICS level 2 or 3). Their builder advised that providing a structural Engineer was satisfied with the condition of the fundamentals of the skeleton structure, they would proceed with peace of mind, knowing that almost everything else would be replaced.
Our service and advice
The house was known to be on clay soil and a tree had previously been removed following concerns over previous subsidence although the details were unknown. This had concerned other prospective purchasers who had not received any advice from a structural engineer.
The house appeared in reasonable condition at face value but was also generally tired and old fashioned so the client anticipated replacing the kitchen and bathrooms, together with replacing all windows, rewiring and re-plumbing. A builder had already advised the roof coverings and roof structure was fine.
There was minor cracking to the rear elevation which the builder thought was probably not serious but recommended the expert opinion of a chartered structural engineer.
We found the fundamental structure of the house to be in quite good condition and better than many that we inspect. We rated the property at about 7 out of 10 generally.
There were the usual signs of very old settlement (when the weight of the house when first built, squashes the soft soil) but no sign of any modern day subsidence. The line and level of external walls were generally good although internal floors sloped and we did recommend the buyer might wish to level the floors for aesthetic and practical purposes.
Our study of local geology maps combined with local knowledge gained over more than 30 years informed us that the risks of subsidence in the areas were somewhat higher than normal nut only when there were trees of some consequence nearby. On this occasion there were no trees of any significance so we considered the house a “normal” lending and Insuring risk.
From a structural point of view we were able to advise our client could proceed with confidence.
If you would like advice on any structural aspect of a property, we are here to help, so please don’t hesitate to contact us.