Extension with no foundations

We've just moved house and decided we wanted to re-roof the single-storey extension in tile, replace some large windows with a patio door, and extend it sideways.
The builder dug out a trench to lay the new foundations and found there were no foundations - the brickword was bedded on a scattering of balast about an inch thick. A couple more inspection pits around the perimeter confirmed this.
So it looks like we've got to knock it down and start again - which is an option we'd considered when we made an offer on the house because we thought it might be easier and better than working with what was there.
Nothing showed up on the survey - and I can't see how it would have unless the surveyor had been instructed to dig pits.
The council apparently knew about the extension as I checked before we bought the house and there had been a planning application which showed the extension as already existing --- but they didn't seem as if they'd taken any interest in it as it was done under permitted development rights. It was put up about ten years ago and obviously having no foundations didn't meet building regs.
Do we have any comeback against the seller (who incidentally is a solicitor) or is it just a case of caveat emptor?
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are no terms other than the terms described here" and a pretty much "you get what you've seen". The previous owner might have a claim against his builder - but hasn't actually suffered a financial loss. Take advice - but I doubt you have a valid claim against the builder - even if traceable or still in business.
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James wrote:

Depends on the questions *your* solicitor asked. If the seller has given a false answer to the question, then you may have a comeback against the seller.
If your solicitor didn't ask the right questions you may have a comeback against him.
Owain
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James wrote:

If the seller was the same person who had the extension built, then they should have owned up to this in the disclosure form sent to them by your solicitor - that will have been trapped by one of the questions they had to answer. You should have a copy of the responses. You can check the historical ownership of the property at <http://www.landregisteronline.gov.uk>. (Even if the seller didn't build the extension, there might still be something incriminating in the responses).
Either way, somebody at some point (surveyor? you?) ought to have been aware that there was a newish extension on the property, which ought to have triggered your solicitor to check for a building regs application when (s)he did the local authority search. Realising there had been no such application would have enabled you to make an informed decision about what to do next (structural engineer? inspection pits? withdraw from purchase?).

In which case perhaps the answer is not to beat yourself up about it; if you were going to demolish it anyway then then you wouldn't lose any money, it's just about The Principle, isn't it? And you can be sure that if you push for compensation from somewhere - anywhere - you'll have a long, stressful struggle.
If you are going to rebuild the extension, consider whether you might ever want to extend it upwards to two floors in the future, and specify that the new foundations are adequate to cope with that. Would save you demolishing it yet again!
David
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James wrote:

It is up to you (ie your solicitor) to do the checks and ask the questions you feel necessary in order to make the decision whether to purchase or not. You would first have to determine if the extension actually needed building regs approval or not.
In any case, you don't say that the extension has a problem related to the foundations. If its not in distress, then why are you worrying about it? You can carry on and do your proposed maintenance and alterations.
dg
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