should I go for it ???please help

Hi Guys/Gals
A house me & my wife like had some structural movement back in 1985. After reading the reports underpinning was not done because trees precluded(i guess stopped and caused) this. So the recommendation was to "whole of the perimeter wall was and spine wall between the lounge and dinning room piled, using small diameter piles, either needled through the wall, or used as tension and compression piles externally." What does this mean ??? The trees have a perservation order(sorry for the bad spelling) The same surveyor has again re-assed this prior to going on sale and the report says "Overrall, there are no indications of any progressive movements to the property, as externally there were no signs of any new cracking".
These complications are refelected in the price. They are willing to knock of 30 - 40k of the price. Price is around 365k What would people do in my situation... Any help would be appreciated Thanks in advance Gurmej
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how old is the property?
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Scott Mills wrote:

<snip>
How old is your wife?

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That's not doing it yourself TNP. :-))
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Your post seems to indicate that the walls were underpinned with pile foundations and this has prevented further movement. You can do a google search to find out what pile foundations are if needed.
You also indicate that the trees had caused the previous movement.
Its OK for a surveyor to say that no further movement has occurred, but what you want to know is the likelihood of it occurring in the future. He should be able to give an opinion on this which you can use to assess your risk.
Tree preservation orders (and the trees) can be removed if the trees become dangerous or threaten or cause major structural damage.
This is a lot of money to spend on a house. If you really want it, then you have to decide what is the worst thing that could occur (possibly further foundation work) and if the reduction in price would cover this.
If you want peace of mind, then you simply look elsewhere.
dg

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Before you do anything check you can get insurance - most run a mile (in our experience) at the first hint of anything. You do need to tell the insurance companies. By all means ring a few up but a broker is best - find one who is good. They may need a copy of the surveyor's statement.
Harry

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Gurmej wrote

Can you say where this house is - do you know if the soil is London Clay?
There have been 3 exceptionally dry spells since 1985 which have each caused widespread subsidence damage, particularly 1989 - 1992. If no movement has occurred during any of these then the piled foundations would sound as though they're working as intended.
Even though the trees are subject to a TPO, you will still need to manage their size regularly to minimise the risk of further damage. The more leaves there are on the tree, the more moisture the tree extracts from the soil and the more likely the soil is to shrink, so the trees will need to be pruned or lopped every 5 years or so. You will have to apply to the Planners for permission to do this.
Harry's point about insurance is very important. You need to make certain that the insurers are told of the previous damage and the work done before they quote you a premium. Otherwise you probably won;t be covered for any further damage.
Finally remember this. Out of two similar houses built on shrinkable clay, the one that has been piled or underpinned is FAR less likely to suffer subsidence damage than the one that hasn't. But it is vital you GET YOUR OWN FULL STRUCTURAL SURVEY REPORT. Ask the Surveyor to comment particularly on any structural movement and give him the history. If everything is OK, the price is right and the insurance can be arranged, then I would say go for it.
Good luck Peter (FRICS)
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You may find only specialist insurers will cover this, and their policies may exclude subsidence, and may cost significantly more. If you do have subsidence in future, you may therefore be paying the full bill. You probably wont know exactly where you stand with insurers until youve had a full survey, gone over all the paperwork with them, and their team has assessed your situation - ie you wont know until the house is yours and youve owned it, possibly uninsured, for a short period.
Subsidence strikes terror into people out of all proportion to its problemness, it is an issue but it rarely causes any genuine danger, and is in most cases fixable at quite a reasonable cost. But of course there is the occasional horror story that everyone hears about. Should you ever come to sell the place you might find an unreasonably large price drop is the only way to shift it, and you may find that most buyers dont want anything to do with it.
Houses with subsidence history can be a bargain, as long as you understand what youre buying, and expect and accept the downsides.
I think thats covered the main issues.
Regards, NT
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caused
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<snip>
An important point is that subsidence due to drying ground is only one half of the equation. If conditions change so that the water content is restored to the ground then heave is likely to take place, ie expansion of the (presumably) clay.
The upshot of this is that applying to remove the TPO in order to remove the offending trees (if indeed they were deemed to be root cause of the problem - sorry for pun) would be the wrong thing to do as it could trigger the heave.
As Peter points out, you would want to manage the trees to prevent further damage as they grow.
-- Richard Sampson
email me at richard at olifant d-ot co do-t uk
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Thanks to all that replied. I shall try and answer some the questions and give some more on the original report- The property was built in the early 1970's. I am unsure of the soil but one of the estimates assumed "1.0 M below footing sand clay, below sandy clay firm stiff clay" as ground conditions on pile design calcs section. In this report the Probable cause was trees extracting mositure from the clay content of the sub soil. In addition to normal subsidence, a torsional effect, which accounts for the unusally large internal cracking , as house had subsided difeerentially, coupled with a twisting effect."
(couple of may be a silly questions.) Any idea how much for the tree work that would be required every 5 years(per tree).
If we live in this property for 10 - 25 years and no movemnt takes place, do you still have to declare it ??? or will this record be wiped away...
Insurance- The current owner insurance says they will insure it.
The current owner back in 1985 spent in the region of 24k correcting the problem.
Once again thanks for all your help ??? Gurmej
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Gurmej wrote:

Not much if you buy a chainsaw and a nice safe scaffold tower to work off. You nly need to stabilise the tree growth, not do anythin drastic with it. Normal practoce is to cu them a given height from the ground ecvvery few years, and let them spring from there.
Sounds like they built on low foundations too near the trees.
Up to a point all this won't make the house fall down - just crack it a lot. Infilling the cracks with mortar etc is not unreasonable.
Yu could aslo, under condulatyon from suructural engineers, trench down the outside with a digger, scrape the las bit out by hand and unfill with concrete. This isn';t quite underpinning, but it cuts the tree roots stopping teh shrinkage, and puts a barrier against new. Of course as the soil wets up again heave is guaranteed - this might restore the house 'straightness' somewhat tho.

Huh? I am not clear whether it is cleared onr not...if its BEEN piled/underpined than it should be stabl;e by now.

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Gurmej wrote:

Confine yourself to familiy friendly material here please.
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