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Severe vertical crack - at abutment of neighbour

Discussion in 'Building' started by babodonk, 28 Nov 2018.

  1. babodonk

    babodonk

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    Hi,

    Looking for a second opinion, as this forum is full of very good advice.

    Looking at buying a property, but the surveyor has raised the following serious issue:

    There is a severe vertical crack, at the abutment with the neighbouring property, on the left-hand party wall line, to the rear of the rear addition.

    The area has been repointed on several previous occasions but the cracking has re-emerged.

    Looking at the photos, the crack is very wide, and the movement significant on both sides.

    The movement may originate from either properties. Underpinning and tying the building together will be necessary if the movement recommenced/ or is deemed progressive.

    The surveyor recommends a structural engineer to understand the future repairing obligation. So sounds like the property will definitely need repairing.

    I have a few questions:
    Can the current vendor get their insurance to get the underpinning done? Is this even likely?
    Or do I keep the same insurance provider, inform them of the structural report, and when the issue reoccurs, will the insurance provider cover the costs of underpinning/tying and I pay the excess?
    Should I get the structural engineer's report with estimate of cost, and then try to negotiate with the vendor with a reduced price?
    Should I just walk away without structural engineer report?

    Funny thing is, both properties have just been put on the market, with the other sold STC. Bit of a coincidence, probably not. But the other property sold for very expensive price, so they would be thinking the same thing?

    thanks in advance for any comments!
     

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  2. Notch7

    Notch7

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    It looks like 2 extensions, back to back?

    Judging by the brickwork, my guess one extension is much older than the other -the RH one with the birds beak pointing being older I would say.

    So maybe 1 extension is done with much deeper footings than the other?

    There are some Crackologists on here so Im sure one will be along with far more valuable info (y)
     
  3. KenGMac

    KenGMac

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    babodonk, good evening.

    Sorry but am a bit confused?

    Is the vertical line of the crack in effect the center of the party wall between the two properties?

    As for your insurance questions? in general terms different insurers have at times diametrically opposed views on how to proceed in such cases? how your [Proposed] Insurer may or will react is in the lap of the gods??

    But in general terms, some musings as below?

    "Can the current vendor get their insurance to get the underpinning done? Is this even likely?"

    Short answer is yes, but? to instruct repairs both "owners" will have to have made a Claim for Subsidence, then the Insurers will have to agree on a joint repair option, at times different insurers will have diverse opinions as to what repair method would be acceptable to both Insurers.
    But??? what if one "owner" did not have insurance?? or what if one "owner" did not wish to intimate an Insurance claim that would be flagged against the property forever [and reduce the market value??] Could be as simple as the different "owners" shall I call it not seeing eye to eye??

    "Or do I keep the same insurance provider, inform them of the structural report, and when the issue reoccurs, will the insurance provider cover the costs of underpinning/tying and I pay the excess?"

    As above depends on your Insurer??
    BUT?? the Insurer could void any such claim siting [what is called] Pre-inception.
    Pre-inception damage, is best described as a condition affecting a property before the Insurance Policy was Incepted [the policy was taken out]
    Dependent on the insurer, the excess for Subsidence could escalate from the "normal" £ 1,000 to well who knows where???
    As an aside, you under the Insurance contract principles must inform your insurer of the contents of the report.
    For example, if you do not disclose the report, then down the line you intimate an Insurance Claim, the claim could be declined because of Pre-inception, or non-disclosure of pertinent information.

    "Should I get the structural engineer's report with estimate of cost, and then try to negotiate with the vendor with a reduced price?"

    OK a possible way ahead, BUT??? the the "owner" of the other property will have to commit as well as you??

    Finally [at last say all???] To accurately determine what is "Subsiding" or not??? both properties should have a "Level Monitoring Exercise" undertaken, unfortunately it is an expensive process to which both "owners" have to agree??? AND it will take at least 6 months minimum to undertake??

    Ken
     
  4. ^woody^

    ^woody^

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    It's two buildings. It's normal. Your surveyor is crap.
     
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  5. babodonk

    babodonk

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    @Notch7 - you are correct. Two extensions- with left one finished in 2010 per council planning reports, and the one on the right existing at the time - ( no planning permission documented at council )

    @KenGMac - yes it’s the party wall between two extensions of seperate properties.

    So there would be two different footings for the extensions- plus the two original Victorian houses.

    From your replies, the situation sounds very complicated to resolve, with both properties needing to agree before any work is done. Also, pre-inception waivers seems very risky.

    Thanks for your replies...
     
  6. tomfe

    tomfe

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    As already stated they are 2 different building joined together with a bit of mortar. They are going to move independently. Just fill the gap with some expansion join mastic.
     
  7. babodonk

    babodonk

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    bit of a follow up

    I had a structural engineer come and take a look. The engineer was of the opinion, that it is not a crack - but rather a gap between the two extensions. He said there has been some movement in the past history, several years ago, and most likely the other property, the end of terrace property has moved away. Just fill the gap with mastic.

    Thanks all for your replies
     
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  8. blup

    blup

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    It's always interesting and helpful to see a follow up post

    A chartered surveyor for our buyer identifed gaps in concrete slabs on the patio which he advised should be pointed as there was a risk of weeds growing through.

    Blup
     
  9. KenGMac

    KenGMac

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    babodonk, good evening.

    As blup it is good to see follow ups.

    On another front I regularly use Google street view to take a look at a property over time.

    Street view has, in some variants the ability to look back at several previous versions of the same image.

    What I am suggesting is that you use Street view to see if you can catch a view of the area of the property you are interested in, then go back and see if the width of the crack appears to have altered?

    I use this device in the work that I do, very handy at times.

    Ken
     
  10. DIYnot Local

    DIYnot Local

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