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Advice on cracks to internal plasterwork in house I'm buying after survey please!

Discussion in 'Building' started by Fishwalker, 15 Jun 2020.

  1. Fishwalker

    Fishwalker

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    Hi!

    I wanted to get some more views (from builders if possible but anyone who knows about property construction), on cracks to internal walls of a house we are hoping to buy.

    Due to lockdown we've been stalled since having a full building survey done back in Feb.

    And due to the discovery of an unsupported chimney behind the wall in question with cracks, the vendor has paid for the full rear chimney of the 1920's semi (one of two) to be completely removed costing 5k!

    They've provided building control certification of it being done to current standards by email and I've ran the work past my building surveyor by email.

    Thing is, our surveyor wants to charge for going back to give their updated opinion on the state of the cracks. I understand that this is in their t+c's but figured I'd arrange a viewing of the house once more before deciding to book them back in and that's happening tomorrow.

    I'm really nervous, (not least by the estate agent following us around). I plan to try to measure the cracks and compare the results to what the surveyor recorded back in February (they advised to monitor them over 3 months but no actual monitoring guage was fitted). I took photos at the time (attached)

    The worst cracks are max 3mm and are on an internal lath and plaster wall travelling along the upvc rear window's upper wood trimming, then across horizontally under the coving, before travelling diagonally down and finishing as a hairline crack beneath the picture rail, which is not cracked.

    The surveyor hasn't been able to provide 100% reassurance that the cracks are not down to settlement from the kitchen diner extension added in 2016 (built on clay soil) but we've ruled out drain problems, which the surveyor recommended we had checked out.

    The vendor paid for a cctv inspection that gave them the all-clear but for some slight scaling, and there are no trees near enough to cause concern. There are also French drains all around the house and it is otherwise very well maintained.

    Would you let these cracks put you off buying an otherwise well proportioned family semi that is ceiling price for the street in an ok neighbourhood?

    There are a few other cracks in the rear kitchen wall below the affected bedroom wall above the door and in the landing corner to old plaster there but not as concerning.
     
  2. the cracks in the blue room would concern me . is that an external corner?
     
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  4. ^woody^

    ^woody^

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    Unless they have specialist knowledge, don't use a building surveyor to report on cracks - in fact the RICS prevents surveyors commenting on things outside of their expertise. Use a structural engineer to report on cracking.

    If you want opinion here, you need to post external views, and wider angle to show the cracking in context of the rest of the building.
     
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  5. Johnny Allround

    Johnny Allround

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    So before selling up the vendor has already parted with 6k. Well I wouldn’t be to concerned about the cracks every house in Britain moves especially if there on a busy road. That’s why you see mortar movement on roofs so inevitably you will get settlement cracks were new additions have been built. Surveyors should have your best interest at heart but in my experience when you ask them to commit to a conclusion there’s always the well I’m not sure unless we have further investigation?. As for the drainage report I’d love to see that, 1920s built property semi detached has a section 24 written all over it. Hope this helps, good luck.
     
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  7. Fishwalker

    Fishwalker

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    Hi. Sorry I never got back on this. I've actually been scared to check the thread!

    We visited the house and the vendor (who's lived there 12 years and really spent quite a bit on high end features)has had the cracks professionally repaired along with building regulations sign off on the removal of the rear unsupported chimney that was situated directly where the worst crack was in the blue room picture.

    This wall is an internal lath and plaster wall with the chimney breast running through on the reverse bathroom side.

    My partner and I actually felt the problem had been resolved to our satisfaction such that we decided not to get the building surveyor back at further cost.

    Friends have shown me similar seasonal cracks and cracks close to new extension additions and I just think that having been able to look at the previous home buyers survey that said there was no recent evidence of movement, combined with our surveyor's view that there was no sign of cracking externally to the house or its render on the upper half, that it is worth taking the risk buying it.

    I'm more worried now about the house being in a medium to high risk flood zone but no property owners I've spoken to have said the nearby houses have ever flooded and I'm planning to fit non return valves and other anti flood features when we move in to try and be proactive. The whole city is on a flood plain so short of building houses on stilts re: climate change, it is a risk that again we are having to take as we need a home as a matter of urgency and haven't seen anything else we like as we do this near our friends and family. It is insurable too. I'm getting quotes of £397 a year for building and contents.
     
    Last edited: 29 Jul 2020
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