Stepped cracks in mortar

22 Apr 2015
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United Kingdom

Bought a house last year, had a separate building survey done (about this time last year) and have just noticed some stepped cracks in the mortar of the brickwork under the front living room window. They've been there for a while by the look of it, and someone has obviously tried to bodge a repair.

The survey report says:

"Generally our inspection has shown that the main walls of the property are in a sound condition with no signs of recent structural movement and from this we would make the assumption that the foundations are adequate for the type of building and likely ground conditions."

So I was wondering if there was nothing to worry about, or this might be signs of subsidence? If so, how has the survey missed this?

Thanks for reading.
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Hi John,

The house was built in 1969. It's in York and on clay.
In common with a lot of 'crack threads', you only show a close-up of the crack.

In addition, we need to see the bigger picture - literally - to see the crack in the context of the house.
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The fact that the rather ugly repairs have cracked again suggests that the movement is ongoing. The fact that the cracks extend below the damp proof course suggest that it is probably ground movement so probably subsidence.

Having said that don't panic just yet. The movement looks very slight so could be a relatively simple fix.

Surprised that the surveyor/valuer did not notice it though, it looks pretty obvious, unless there was a plant or something obscuring it at the time of the survey. Certainly worth raising a complaint against the survey firm and possibly taking it to the ombudsman if necessary.
Thanks for the replies. The only photo I have at the moment (at work) is the one from the report, so pretty rubbish resolution jpeg:

I've pointed out the area. There were a couple of plants near it but not enough to be missed by a supposedly competent surveyor.
Looks like initial settlement to me. Cracks don't start to get serious until they are 4-5mm. The repaired joints (I say 'repaired' in the loosest possible sense) don't appear to have cracked. The ones that are still cracked look original to me. Bottom line is I se nothing I would be worried about except it looks a bit crappy.
Thanks for the reply. I have taken a couple more photos for context.

Not actually sure the underlying deposits are clay, on reflection. I think they might be fluvial.

It's not unusual to see cracks under the centre of wide openings due to a difference in loading between the centre of the opening and the sides.

As jeds says, probably not any cause for concern, particularly if there are no cracks higher up, eg where the rendering meets the brickwork

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