load bearing wall built straight off wooden floor

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Hi

Just had the survey back for a house I'm buying.

This concerned me:

" [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]Whilst the property appears free from recent or progressive movement, the central load bearing partition has ‘dropped’ causing distortion to openings and flooring.[/FONT][FONT=Arial, sans-serif]
This situation appears historic, with no damage being noted to plastered or decorated surfaces.
[/FONT][FONT=Arial, sans-serif]
Not withstanding the above, it is somewhat unusual for an internal wall to subside when external walls appear unaffected and as in many properties of this age, the load bearing wall may be built off the wooden floor structure, it would be prudent if practicable prior to purchase to expose the floor to confirm the supporting structure is suitable for the purpose."
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Is this a common problem, and if we need to have it looked at should we go for a structural engineer.

I'm new to all this and haven't got a clue! Any advice would be much appreciated.
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  • Cknocker
    Cknocker Posts: 235 Forumite
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    I have never heard of a masonry wall being built off of a wooden floor, if thats the case ues you need a structural engineer to look at it. If it has dropped already the remedy will probably be tto take up the floor and underpin the wall!
  • eranu_2
    eranu_2 Posts: 22 Forumite
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    i wonder how long its been like that? Its not something ive heard of. If there was any significant load directly on the floor, surely it would just go right through it?
  • dander
    dander Posts: 1,781 Forumite
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    noo66 wrote: »
    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]as in many properties of this age, the load bearing wall may be built off the wooden floor structure[/FONT]

    Sorry, I know nothing about this kind of thing at all, I'm just intrigued - what age is the property?
  • Cknocker
    Cknocker Posts: 235 Forumite
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    No it wouldn't go straight through it, timber is a very flexible material and with a high load it will deflect a hell of a lot before it fails, as an example look at a scaffold board, if you span a large distance it flexes significantly, but its a long way from breaking. If rot gets into the timber then it will fail.

    This flopor has already deflected, which is why I believe it would need underpinning.
  • noo66
    noo66 Posts: 22 Forumite
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    dander wrote: »
    Sorry, I know nothing about this kind of thing at all, I'm just intrigued - what age is the property?
    It's Victorian - late 1900s.

    If we have to have the wall underpinned will it effect buildings insurance?
  • noo66
    noo66 Posts: 22 Forumite
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    That should read late 1800s - got my centuries mixed up....
  • Plasticman
    Plasticman Posts: 2,504 Forumite
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    Certainly something to worry about - it might only stay up for another 100 years ;)

    It sounds like it's dropped and has now settled. There is a risk though that it may need extra support. I would suggest that you get a builder to give you an indicative price and you reduce your offer by that amount.

    Problems with insurance are only likely to occur if you are underpinning due to subsidence. You aren't - you are providing extra support to an internal wall which hasn't shown signs of recent movement and has probably been sound for the past 120 years.
    If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around [the banks] will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered." -Thomas Jefferson 1802
  • macman
    macman Posts: 53,098 Forumite
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    You don't need a structural engineer. You just need the seller's permission for a competent builder to lift a few of the adjacent floorboards to establish what support there is-or is not.
    Most Victorian houses were built with standard of footings and foundations that wouldn't have a hope in getting past Building Control today. But most of them , if cared for, are still standing.
    As already advised, what you want to look for is any evidence of recent movement.
    No free lunch, and no free laptop ;)
  • Cknocker
    Cknocker Posts: 235 Forumite
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    The most important thing you are looking for is evidence of deterioration of the timber structure if indeed the supporting wall is supported off of the floor structure.

    If there is any woodworm, rot, cracking etc of the beams then the fact that it has stood for over a hundred years is neither here nor there.
  • noo66
    noo66 Posts: 22 Forumite
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    Thanks for all the advice. Maybe it's not necessarily as big a problem as I thought.
    I have read somewhere else that if it is a form of subsidence, then the vendor should really claim for repairs on his insurance- we would go ahead and pay the agreed price for the property, with the vendor's insurers arranging and paying for the repairs. Any thoughts?
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