Our client was buying a poor condition probate sale property with known cracking to the rear. They were prepared to proceed if the damage was minor and easily repaired. The house was not insured for subsidence by the current owners estate.
The client did not want to separately appoint an RICS Surveyors report as they intended a complete refurbishment so there was little that would be kept apart from the skeleton structure.
POLE Structural Reports service
We recommended our Structural Engineer’s General Movement Report; a general MOT/Health check of all the main walls inside and out.
The house occupied a steep slope and was surrounded by large trees, many on neighbouring land. The area is also well known for its highly shrinkable London Clay subsoil. The rear of the house had significant diagonal cracking within both party walls close to the rear corner although damage to the rear elevation itself was minimal. There were numerous other cracks but we were satisfied those were minor plaster cracks. The front of the house was sound.
Although the cracking was not serious and could easily and inexpensively be prepared, we advised there was a greater than normal probability of the damage reoccurring year on year.
There were so many large trees in neighbouring gardens, which could not realistically be pruned or felled, it was foreseeable that repeated subsidence damage was a significant risk.
The house was not insured for subsidence by the current owner and we advised that few Insurance Companies would be interested in providing Subsidence Insurance in the circumstances. This meant that even if our client was happy to risk proceeding without Insurance, they would find it difficult to resell the house in the future, since most mortgage offers would insist on subsidence cover.
The client appreciated the practical advice and on this occasion did not proceed.