During a recent RICS Level 3 Survey on a detached home we noted a number of severe localised cracks alerting us that the building had undergone a general degree of movement (subsidence).
The most important question when finding evidence of movement is to ascertain whether the movement is on going. In this case we also noted evidence of monitoring on the rear wall as a monitoring plate had been fitted to accurately record crack width and movement.
As such there was evidence that the movement has affected the serviceability of the building to an extent and the client was advised to obtain records of the monitoring being carried out before proceeding with the purchase.
Although we could not categorically confirm whether the movement had ceased without further monitoring, we were of the opinion that the cracks noted were recent due to the indications of a monitoring plate evident on the wall.
Ideally a series of measurements would be taken at different dates to show that movement is continuous over a period of six months is more practical and helps to determine the causes. The monitoring data would likely be in the hands of the current vendors and our client was advised to obtain this prior to exchange of contracts. Alternatively the client’s Legal Adviser could obtain monitoring results of the movement investigation prior to exchange of contracts.
We also strongly recommend that any likely repairs (possibly underpinning) were carefully costed by a builders estimate and considered in the buyers negotiations. Alternatively the works should be completed by the vendor before purchasing the property.