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Property on the move?

By Anthony P Gribbon
Wednesday, February 13, 2019

We have come across a number of problems recently with continuing structural movement as a result of the extended dry summer in 2018. We have undertaken several surveys identifying problems with structural movement. A particular issue in the South of England is the presence of shrinkable clay subsoils. If the foundations to the property are of insufficient depth, the clay beneath the foundations can shrink causing the building to move. The position is often exacerbated by the presence of mature trees closeby.

By way of example, we recently undertook a survey on a period property in a village location. The original section of the house, which was of Victorian origin, was unaffected by movement. There was a single storey rear extension to the property. Despite the fact that this addition was only two years old, there were a number of cracks internally and externally confirming foundation movement.

Click images below for larger image /slideshow

Further investigations were needed. The cause of the movement was established to be the result of a mature deciduous tree to the back garden which had affected the moisture content of the soil under the foundations.

Fortunately, the purchaser was able to proceed with the purchase but was surprised to find that such a modern addition had been affected by movement. This underlines the need for a pre-purchase survey irrespective of the age of any particular structure.

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