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    • JennaMay
    • By JennaMay 28th Nov 17, 8:57 PM
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    JennaMay
    Buying a house which has Moderate-High risk of subsidence
    • #1
    • 28th Nov 17, 8:57 PM
    Buying a house which has Moderate-High risk of subsidence 28th Nov 17 at 8:57 PM
    Hi,
    We are in the process of purchasing a house and the environmental searches report has flagged up a moderate - high risk of subsidence. It appears to have this higher risk due to the fact it is built on a clay sub soil foundation. We already had a homebuyers report which states that there was no evidence found of significant cracking, subsidence or structural movement and the house doesnít have a history of subsidence. It was built in 1977 so now 40 years old, has it stood the test of time? We would want to do building work to the house in the future, such as an extension and putting in a driveway, but could this disturb the ground and cause subsidence?
    Also, there is not any trees near to the house. Just a big(ish) bush/ shrub and some hedges around the front lawn.
    We intend to live in the house for a very long time, if not forever and bring up our young children there. This is really putting us off though - but should it or are we worrying too much? Should we pull out of the purchase?
    Advice please
Page 1
    • RedFraggle
    • By RedFraggle 28th Nov 17, 9:23 PM
    • 535 Posts
    • 1,234 Thanks
    RedFraggle
    • #2
    • 28th Nov 17, 9:23 PM
    • #2
    • 28th Nov 17, 9:23 PM
    Does the survey says it's relative to the house or is it the geological survey saying there's instability in the land within 50m. Ours was the latter and the surveyor advised it is on about everything in our area and to ignore it because there was no evidence of movement and the house is 70 years old.
    Officially in a clique of idiots
    • Flutterbat17
    • By Flutterbat17 28th Nov 17, 9:27 PM
    • 62 Posts
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    Flutterbat17
    • #3
    • 28th Nov 17, 9:27 PM
    • #3
    • 28th Nov 17, 9:27 PM
    Ha our is HIGH RISK and so is every house in out area because we are all built on clay and in a flood risk area. So thats ignored. As is the flood risk too. lol. :/

    Oh and the pay more to find out if its actually is a risk....humm
    • JennaMay
    • By JennaMay 28th Nov 17, 9:56 PM
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    JennaMay
    • #4
    • 28th Nov 17, 9:56 PM
    • #4
    • 28th Nov 17, 9:56 PM
    Thanks for replying!
    Yes, the environmental report is the geological report which is not speciific to the property itself but the post code/ area. The surveyor who did the homebuyers report on the property itself found no evidence of subsidence.
    • JennaMay
    • By JennaMay 28th Nov 17, 9:57 PM
    • 7 Posts
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    JennaMay
    • #5
    • 28th Nov 17, 9:57 PM
    • #5
    • 28th Nov 17, 9:57 PM
    Also forgot to mention the actual wording in the environmental report is ďmoderate - high risk of natural ground subsidenceĒ
    • Davesnave
    • By Davesnave 28th Nov 17, 10:02 PM
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    Davesnave
    • #6
    • 28th Nov 17, 10:02 PM
    • #6
    • 28th Nov 17, 10:02 PM
    The whole of the London basin is on clay sub soil. It hasn't seemed to put many people off building there.

    You might need more substantial foundations than average if you extend, but that's all.
    'A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they'll never sit in.'
    • paddyandstumpy
    • By paddyandstumpy 28th Nov 17, 10:11 PM
    • 915 Posts
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    paddyandstumpy
    • #7
    • 28th Nov 17, 10:11 PM
    • #7
    • 28th Nov 17, 10:11 PM
    Try getting insurance quotes before committing to buy, insurance databases are pretty hot on postcode rating now so you'll see by how cheap the insurance is how high a risk it is.

    If it's insurable for subs, the most it'll cost you will be the subs excess (normally £1,000) however any underpinned home is usually worth less as a result so there may also be a diminution in value down the line.

    Up to you if you want to have this risk.
    • ReadingTim
    • By ReadingTim 29th Nov 17, 10:16 AM
    • 2,216 Posts
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    ReadingTim
    • #8
    • 29th Nov 17, 10:16 AM
    • #8
    • 29th Nov 17, 10:16 AM
    Thanks for replying!
    Yes, the environmental report is the geological report which is not speciific to the property itself but the post code/ area. The surveyor who did the homebuyers report on the property itself found no evidence of subsidence.
    Originally posted by JennaMay
    In which case, if you pull out of this place, you'd probably have to pull out of every other property in the same postcode/area for the same reasons. I can't imagine a clay sub soil is that localised, therefore you might have to cast the net quite wide when looking for an alternative....
    • bouicca21
    • By bouicca21 29th Nov 17, 10:31 AM
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    bouicca21
    • #9
    • 29th Nov 17, 10:31 AM
    • #9
    • 29th Nov 17, 10:31 AM
    Smoke and mirrors. Every house in the area will get the same result. It's a bit like sell by dates on food. Just because it's got a yellow sticker on doesn't mean it's off, it's a question of giving a careful inspection. The house in question has survived nearly 50 years with no problems. A careful inspection confirms this. Stop worrying.
    • JennaMay
    • By JennaMay 29th Nov 17, 2:18 PM
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    JennaMay
    Thank you everyone. Seems we are probably just worrying too much. Contacted the local council buildings control who are going to find out if there has been any subsidence issues reported within the neighbouring houses. From my initial phone call they donít think we have anything to worry about. Will update when they get back in touch with us.
    • PhilE
    • By PhilE 29th Nov 17, 3:02 PM
    • 184 Posts
    • 124 Thanks
    PhilE
    As others have pointed out the whole of London is built on clay.

    If there is no obvious signs of subsidence, there is generally speaking nothing to worry about and you are taking no extra risk, than the thousands of other home owners with properties built on clay.

    The other factor is if the property is in a high risk flood area, which conveyancing would reveal.

    With an extension, you need adequate foundations which a good builder would factor in.

    A good driveway shouldn't affect the stability of the house in the slightest, as long as the builders take into account surface water drainage. Which they don't always do looking at some of the disasters on my street, where the houses are lower than the road and rainwater is hitting the main house and going into the sub floor vents.
    • mailmannz
    • By mailmannz 29th Nov 17, 4:38 PM
    • 250 Posts
    • 120 Thanks
    mailmannz
    We had this very same situation with a property we are going through the process of buying.

    The fact is EVERY house in the neighbourhood is affected by this because its the underlying geology of the area.

    We didn't lose any sleep over this as houses in the area we are moving in to come and go in days of being advertised for sale! I also spoke to friends who moved in to the same area and they had the same report and still purchased their houses anyways.

    I don't think this is anything to lose sleep over.

    Regards

    Mailman
    • JennaMay
    • By JennaMay 7th Dec 17, 1:49 PM
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    JennaMay
    Thanks for this. This is really helpful. There is a flood risk on the report - for an area within so many meters of the property. The historical flood data shows that this was a v brook which flooded which is runs past outside the very back of the propertyís garden. The last recorded floods were in the 1960ís (before the house was built) and I believe there is flood defences there now. I didnít think this was something to worry over but do you think it should be considering the house is built on clay? Many thanks.
    • JennaMay
    • By JennaMay 7th Dec 17, 1:57 PM
    • 7 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    JennaMay
    As others have pointed out the whole of London is built on clay.

    If there is no obvious signs of subsidence, there is generally speaking nothing to worry about and you are taking no extra risk, than the thousands of other home owners with properties built on clay.

    The other factor is if the property is in a high risk flood area, which conveyancing would reveal.

    With an extension, you need adequate foundations which a good builder would factor in.

    A good driveway shouldn't affect the stability of the house in the slightest, as long as the builders take into account surface water drainage. Which they don't always do looking at some of the disasters on my street, where the houses are lower than the road and rainwater is hitting the main house and going into the sub floor vents.
    Originally posted by PhilE
    Thank you for your really helpful reply - the environmental report did also show a flood risk but this appears to be a brook within so many metres of the property which historic data shows flooding in the 1960ís before the property was built. The brook runs past the back of the garden but I believe there are flood defences there now. Didnít think this was something to worry about but are you saying this could be a worry considering the house is built on clay? Although no flooding there since the sixties...! Many thanks
    • Doozergirl
    • By Doozergirl 7th Dec 17, 2:28 PM
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    Doozergirl
    The brook makes no difference to the subsidence risk if it’s at the end of the garden.

    It is simply the geology in your area and it doesn’t even take into account the foundations of your house. Modern foundations are designed to find solid ground and prevent significant movement.

    You have a much better chance of having good foundations in a 1970s house than an 1870s house which would have, well, none essentially - and that is the period most London houses were built. And most of those are still standing.
    Everything that is supposed to be in heaven is already here on earth.
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