Survey and bay window crack

Joined
30 May 2022
Messages
4
Reaction score
0
Country
United Kingdom
Hi all

I'm due to exchange on a 1950s 3 bed semi detached house with a bay window at the front. We've had a L2 survey done that threw up a lot of minor points - house is generally quite dated. We spoke to the surveyor informally to figure out if anything was a showstopper - the answer was no, but their biggest point was a 10mm internal crack underneath the 1st floor bay window.
Front elevation:
There is some cracking to the bay window that has been repaired and reopened. This is indicative of differential movement of the foundations. The depth of the bay foundation is likely to be shallower than the main property and when the two differing structures move, they do so independently, which causes this type of cracking. Trial pits should be dug at the base of the bay, under the supervision of a structural engineer, to investigate whether or not the foundations require further support/underpinning

Internal wall:
Significant cracking was observed to bay. The cracking appears to be caused by differential movement of the foundations, as mentioned in external section. You should obtain a specification from a reputable structural engineer, to detail the best method of achieving further restraint to secure the bay to the main property.

We don't have a background in construction so unsure how problematic this is. A family member has taken a look and suggested that the issue is between the timber structure and brick wall, so we could use steel straps to fix back to the house when we're redecorating the house. From a quick glance online that seems consistent with what has happened with similar properties, particularly as the windows were replaced 5-10 years ago and may not have been providing the same load bearing support. However, conscious that if 'differential movement of the foundations' (subsidence?) is the cause then it may impact our ability to insure the house and sell it in future.

Really appreciate any insight on whether the problem/solution sound plausible? We're unsure whether we need to follow the surveyor's suggestion and additionally get a structural engineer around prior to exchanging contracts or if it's overkill. As long as this is fairly normal and the house isn't about to fall down, we'd otherwise be content to sort the problem out when we move in.

Cheers
 
Sponsored Links
Joined
15 Sep 2017
Messages
29,401
Reaction score
2,182
Location
S. Uplands
Country
United Kingdom
external pics of the whole of the front externally would be more useful.

I disagree with the surveyors comments on differential movement, it’s certainly not the first thing to consider.

If there are cracks on the ground floor dwarf wall around the bay, that might be indicative of a foundation issue.

Cracks on 2nd floor bays are hardly rare. Common causes are:

1) following replacement windows, either badly packed or upvc and no bay poles.

2) wall between bays not tied in well enough to brickwork

3) wall between bays rotten timber studwork or badly constructed timber.


Its true differential settlement is possible, sometimes the house foundation runs straight across, then an shallow bit is dug and cast for the bay, but also its as likely a foundation same depth as main foundation is dug and cast.
 
Joined
30 May 2022
Messages
4
Reaction score
0
Country
United Kingdom
Thanks very much for this. Linked the best photo of the external (unfortunately the plants might block the crucial bit).
The survey didn't throw up anything on the ground floor. We couldn't immediately spot from the photos where the surveyor had seen evidence of it being repaired and reopened either, though might be obvious to someone else.

What we're not sure about is how to proceed - our mortgage offer (pre interest rate rises) expires in mid August, and aside from the crack, we're keen to proceed asap.

The option for full piece of mind might be to get an engineer in to take a look prior to exchanging, but conscious of i) the time that will take ii) the price, and whether it would even give us a conclusive answer iii) the combination of the trial pits work being a bit invasive and potentially unnecessary, especially if (e.g.) the replacement windows are the more likely cause.

OTOH, we could proceed with one or a combo of your 1) to 3) once we've moved in, and essentially just monitor it over time.
 
Joined
15 Sep 2017
Messages
29,401
Reaction score
2,182
Location
S. Uplands
Country
United Kingdom
Thanks very much for this. Linked the best photo of the external (unfortunately the plants might block the crucial bit).
The survey didn't throw up anything on the ground floor. We couldn't immediately spot from the photos where the surveyor had seen evidence of it being repaired and reopened either, though might be obvious to someone else.

What we're not sure about is how to proceed - our mortgage offer (pre interest rate rises) expires in mid August, and aside from the crack, we're keen to proceed asap.

The option for full piece of mind might be to get an engineer in to take a look prior to exchanging, but conscious of i) the time that will take ii) the price, and whether it would even give us a conclusive answer iii) the combination of the trial pits work being a bit invasive and potentially unnecessary, especially if (e.g.) the replacement windows are the more likely cause.

OTOH, we could proceed with one or a combo of your 1) to 3) once we've moved in, and essentially just monitor it over time.
cracks around a bay aren’t a biggie in the scheme of things.

cracks are awfully common after upvc replacements are fitted.

and cracks where bay dwarf walls join main house are common too.

Yes repairs will cost money, but in the low thousands not ten and more.
 
Last edited:
Sponsored Links
Joined
3 Sep 2006
Messages
36,465
Reaction score
5,141
Location
West Mids
Country
United Kingdom
Where is the crack? Upstairs, downstairs - both, in the brickwork or plaster, up the frame, inside, outside, both?
 
Joined
15 Sep 2017
Messages
29,401
Reaction score
2,182
Location
S. Uplands
Country
United Kingdom
Where is the crack? Upstairs, downstairs - both, in the brickwork or plaster, up the frame, inside, outside, both?
If you click on image in first post then scroll sideways additional pics can be seen.

the cracks are upstairs where bay wall meets main house.
 
Joined
3 Sep 2006
Messages
36,465
Reaction score
5,141
Location
West Mids
Country
United Kingdom
Upstairs cracks only, in a supported timber bay with retro-fitted plastic frames below it says the issue is most likely caused by the window frame installation not the foundation.

Why the numpty surveyor has not even mentioned this, I don't know. Well I do, but .... :rolleyes:
 
Joined
15 Sep 2017
Messages
29,401
Reaction score
2,182
Location
S. Uplands
Country
United Kingdom
the main purpose of house surveys these days is to be used as leverage by the buyer to lower the price.

They don’t have much to do with reality.
 
Joined
30 May 2022
Messages
4
Reaction score
0
Country
United Kingdom
Thanks all, that's reassuring. Annoyingly the survey was intended to put our mind at ease, but not really had the desired effect!

I think we'll likely proceed to exchange, and do the work we think is more likely causing the problem around the window, and then monitor.

Can I ask if anyone has views/experience of dealing with the insurance? The process seems to ask quite broad questions around whether there are any signs of subsidence (e.g. cracks) or whether the property has been subject to a survey that "mentions any settlement, movement or structural defect".

My understanding is that indicating subsidence on a property is quite a big deal and not sure we'd be able to take it back once we've ticked that box. The vendor pays normal insurance, so I assume they've never declared anything - probably as there are a number of possible reasons for that crack. However, the survey does mention "movement" (even if we disagree on likelihood), so not really sure where that leaves us if we say no, and something did happen to the house down the line. Really appreciate advice.
 
Joined
3 Sep 2006
Messages
36,465
Reaction score
5,141
Location
West Mids
Country
United Kingdom
Well, a crack in a wall may well be a sign of subsidence unless you get it diagnosed as something else.

At the moment, from your surveyors report you have subsidence and you know about it.
 
Joined
30 May 2022
Messages
4
Reaction score
0
Country
United Kingdom
That makes sense. I had thought it was a bigger deal to declare that sort of thing, but presume most of the country would say they have a crack in the house, so perhaps not?

I'm not sure if I'm better off just paying the higher insurance premiums, or seeing if it's likely a structural engineer would ever conclusively determine that the problem is not being caused by subsidence. It feels like paying for a survey, paying for an engineer to give an inconclusive view, and still having to pay higher premiums is the worst of all worlds! (Aside from the house falling down)
 
Joined
30 Dec 2018
Messages
11,503
Reaction score
1,609
Country
United Kingdom
My two pennarth - Inside, the gap is wider at the top than the bottom, there is no gap at the bottom, which suggests to me that it happened when the new window frames were installed. They were too tall and were forced in and the only thing which could give room was that front wall under the window. It's not subsidence, the lower edge has not moved. Take the wallpaper off, fill the gap and repaper - job done.
 

DIYnot Local

Staff member

If you need to find a tradesperson to get your job done, please try our local search below, or if you are doing it yourself you can find suppliers local to you.

Select the supplier or trade you require, enter your location to begin your search.


Are you a trade or supplier? You can create your listing free at DIYnot Local

 
Sponsored Links
Top