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    • Homebuyer_londonNW
    • By Homebuyer_londonNW 15th May 18, 12:48 PM
    • 10Posts
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    Homebuyer_londonNW
    Cracks all over internal and external walls. Structural issues or settling down cracks?
    • #1
    • 15th May 18, 12:48 PM
    Cracks all over internal and external walls. Structural issues or settling down cracks? 15th May 18 at 12:48 PM
    ]Hi All,

    We are in a process of a buying a house. We found out on our 2nd visit along with the builder that all rooms with (no exception) has horizontal, vertical and arch cracks on the walls and external wall. The external wall is half brick and half rendered and both surface has cracks. The brick work has two minor stair step cracks . There is a huge old tree as well within the 6 feet from house. We have been informed by vendor that these are settling down cracks as the house for built in 2006. The builder thinks itís structural movement which can be rectified by underpinning foundation but he said itís most likely the cracks will be back in few years. We obviously should go for a structural survey but usually such reports are on the fence with survey taking no responsibilities and lots of ambiguities. So wanted a personal opinion or experience anyone has had with their homes. Sorry for the long post but we are torn between withdrawing or going ahead. Thanks. I have pictures of the cracks but not sure how to Attach.
Page 1
    • quantumlobster
    • By quantumlobster 15th May 18, 12:52 PM
    • 146 Posts
    • 327 Thanks
    quantumlobster
    • #2
    • 15th May 18, 12:52 PM
    • #2
    • 15th May 18, 12:52 PM
    Is there a compelling reason that you want this specific house?

    If not, then walk away. There's already enough doubt in your mind.
    • Homebuyer_londonNW
    • By Homebuyer_londonNW 15th May 18, 1:25 PM
    • 10 Posts
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    Homebuyer_londonNW
    • #3
    • 15th May 18, 1:25 PM
    • #3
    • 15th May 18, 1:25 PM
    Thanks so much thats what the mind says but we have been looking for 2 years now. This house is everything I wanted. Ticks all my boxes. Just don!!!8217;t want to let it go if it!!!8217;s not a structural just settling down which is considered normal with new builds. But you are in fact right about not proceeding with doubts in mind. It!!!8217;s all our life savings. Agent saying that this is normal with houses in this area.
    • SG27
    • By SG27 15th May 18, 2:01 PM
    • 2,294 Posts
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    SG27
    • #4
    • 15th May 18, 2:01 PM
    • #4
    • 15th May 18, 2:01 PM
    All houses have some cracks to an extent. The older it is the more cracks you can expect!

    However a house that it 14 years old shouldn't be getting any new cracks and whilst is possible that they are settlement cracks it does sound like maybe there are a few too many if its every room and externally. (Have a look a recently built newbuilds!)

    Its strange that a new build would be built so close to an existing old tree? Im suprised this was allowed, go to the council website and look up the planning application for the original build see what it says about the ttee.

    I wouldnt bother with a structural engineers report either for the exact reason you mention. Maybe go back with a different builder for a second opinion?

    Finally if you do really love this house then get quotes for the worsed case scenerio, ie underpinning/repairing and re negotiate your offer to take this potential work into account. Then once moved in repair all the cracks and see if they come back.
    • Nobbie1967
    • By Nobbie1967 15th May 18, 2:05 PM
    • 775 Posts
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    Nobbie1967
    • #5
    • 15th May 18, 2:05 PM
    • #5
    • 15th May 18, 2:05 PM
    A large tree 6 feet away from the house sounds like an issue waiting to happen and may have caused some of the existing cracks. What diameter is the trunk? What variety? What type of soil are you on. If it's clay and you get a dry summer you could get significant movement. I'd expect any survey to highlight this as an issue for further investigation.
    • ACG
    • By ACG 15th May 18, 4:20 PM
    • 17,174 Posts
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    ACG
    • #6
    • 15th May 18, 4:20 PM
    • #6
    • 15th May 18, 4:20 PM
    Something I used to look for when buying renovation properties was whether cracks go to the corner of the house.

    Here is an example

    And whether there were cracks around windows. Here is an example

    I am not qualified in any way to give advice on this sort of thing. This is just something I used to look for on projects I took on.

    Are the cracks hairline or are there gaps where you could maybe fit a coin in sideways?

    These are things that I would be looking at. If they are all there, I would walk away. If some are there, I would take it on a case by case basis and get someone more qualified in to help me out.
    • Bass_9
    • By Bass_9 15th May 18, 5:12 PM
    • 114 Posts
    • 117 Thanks
    Bass_9
    • #7
    • 15th May 18, 5:12 PM
    • #7
    • 15th May 18, 5:12 PM
    Cracks and some settlement are pretty normal but that sounds concerning to me. I have heard (and I stress that I do not have specialist knowledge in this area) that step cracks can indicate the wall ties have gone.

    I would be very wary given it's not even that old, and I believe underpinning can be very expensive.

    Have you really not seen any other houses you like in the past 2 years? Is this a bargain? I know you'll be disappointed but if it's a bargain there could be a good reason why.
    Last edited by Bass_9; 15-05-2018 at 7:45 PM.
    • Homebuyer_londonNW
    • By Homebuyer_londonNW 15th May 18, 5:45 PM
    • 10 Posts
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    Homebuyer_londonNW
    • #8
    • 15th May 18, 5:45 PM
    Attaching pics.
    • #8
    • 15th May 18, 5:45 PM
    Thanks so much for your kind replies. I am amazed as how everyone is pitching to help us.

    Attaching few pics of the cracks. Husband says tree is atleast 8-10 feet away( maybe I am wrong at estimating distance) . Pic shows the distance between the house and tree.

    Today agent has sent a email which says that a NHBC technical support who confirm the property has pile and ground beam foundation solution. He has attached the email

    Since I am a new user itís not allowing to add a Dropbox link. Any idea??

    Thanks a ton
    • davidmcn
    • By davidmcn 15th May 18, 5:58 PM
    • 8,045 Posts
    • 8,320 Thanks
    davidmcn
    • #9
    • 15th May 18, 5:58 PM
    • #9
    • 15th May 18, 5:58 PM
    Since I am a new user it's not allowing to add a Dropbox link. Any idea??
    Originally posted by Homebuyer_londonNW
    Just need to make it look not like a link - add some spaces or similar.
    Last edited by davidmcn; 15-05-2018 at 6:01 PM.
    • LadyDee
    • By LadyDee 15th May 18, 6:01 PM
    • 3,025 Posts
    • 3,119 Thanks
    LadyDee
    The current owners should be claiming on their buildings insurance to have any work done. If this is the path you take then make sure that their insurance company is prepared to continue cover on the house, under your ownership.

    Believe me, I've been there. The reason I was able to find a buyer prepared to take on the house was the fact that my insurers agreed to continue cover after all underpinning and remedial work was done.
    • mrschaucer
    • By mrschaucer 15th May 18, 7:00 PM
    • 530 Posts
    • 598 Thanks
    mrschaucer
    The vendor wants you to buy the house. The estate agent (working for the vendor) wants his commission. Take whatever either of them tell you about "settlement" cracks and foundation "solutions" with a large pinch of salt, and rely on your own due diligence and your own experts.
    • Homebuyer_londonNW
    • By Homebuyer_londonNW 15th May 18, 11:51 PM
    • 10 Posts
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    Homebuyer_londonNW
    You are absolutely right. This looks like a bargain with something to hide or even the vendors are not even aware of the situation hence calling it a settlement.
    • Homebuyer_londonNW
    • By Homebuyer_londonNW 15th May 18, 11:53 PM
    • 10 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Homebuyer_londonNW
    Thanks this makes too much sense. Now the call is to either withdraw without spending a fortune on survey and structural report or get a structural engineer to look at it.
    • Homebuyer_londonNW
    • By Homebuyer_londonNW 16th May 18, 12:10 AM
    • 10 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Homebuyer_londonNW
    Adding pics link
    Pics link

    Go to Dropbox website and add the following bit in url at the end after Ď/Ď

    sh/7tu9yi475pw1lde/AADoZ194cFwVPaFmjrUN0i9na?dl=0

    Please remove the spaces between the link.

    It wasnít allowing me to upload the pics...as per suggestion did such trick to be able to post links. Sorry for so much trouble
    • Tom99
    • By Tom99 16th May 18, 1:37 AM
    • 2,397 Posts
    • 1,616 Thanks
    Tom99
    https://www.dropbox.com/sh/7tu9yi475pw1lde/AADoZ194cFwVPaFmjrUN0i9na?dl=0
    • Homebuyer_londonNW
    • By Homebuyer_londonNW 16th May 18, 7:54 AM
    • 10 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Homebuyer_londonNW
    Thanks so much for posting the link correctly for me @Tom99.

    Everyone the link that @Tom99 has posted are the pics of the house in question.

    Kindly let me know if the cracks are definitely structural and if the tree will cause further damage from its roots.
    • AdrianC
    • By AdrianC 16th May 18, 8:16 AM
    • 17,813 Posts
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    AdrianC
    That's a big chunk more than just minor settlement. Walk away.
    • Slithery
    • By Slithery 16th May 18, 8:32 AM
    • 783 Posts
    • 1,204 Thanks
    Slithery
    That isn't a crack in the skirting board, it's just where 2 short pieces have been joined together (not very well)
    • Tom99
    • By Tom99 16th May 18, 8:38 AM
    • 2,397 Posts
    • 1,616 Thanks
    Tom99
    I would walk away.

    I doubt even a survey by a structural engineer would give you a definitive answer.

    The cracks are all quite small in width but extensive in length and number, and if no further movement could be guaranteed look like they could be raked out and filled in.

    The problem is you do not know how long these cracks have been there, how quickly they have developed, nor whether they will get worse over time.

    A survey is likely to recommend monitoring the cracks over time before deciding what repair to suggest and maybe reduce the height of the tree.

    Also since the cracks are already there you may have trouble insuring the building.
    • Tiglet2
    • By Tiglet2 16th May 18, 8:40 AM
    • 185 Posts
    • 183 Thanks
    Tiglet2
    I am no expert and there does seem to be a lot of cracks.

    However, my thoughts are that the house is 12 years old and the owners appear not to have repaired any of the cracks in that time. None of the cracks are very wide - I believe cracks that you can get your finger into are the ones which are most likely subsidence or heave, especially diagonal ones in the corners of windows. Stepped cracks are a sign of minor movement, but it's the ones which crack the entire brick through the centre that a major concern.

    I don't know what type of tree that is, but my understanding would be that it is too close to the house and I think it should come down (which can cause heave, due to extra water in the ground).

    If you are still keen on the property, you should consider employing a structural engineer/buildings expert to have a look and explain to them your concerns and what you want them to investigate.
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