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​Do I need a survey for a new or recently built house?

Problems in newly constructed houses are not unheard of.

I am often asked whether a survey for a new house is needed.  You would hope that the chances of finding major problems in a house less than 20 years old are remote but this is not necessarily the case.

Here are two examples of properties I have seen in the last few months:

1. House 9 years old – subsidence.

I inspected a house built in 2005 on a site of a former factory. The factory was demolished and the ground consolidation works undertaken by the builder after the factory had been removed. However the ground consolidation was not properly completed and 3 of the 9 houses have been affected by subsidence. The NHBC at first did not want to honour their agreement to repair the property but after a case was put on behalf of the three owners they agreed and underpinning has now been completed.

2. House – 15 years old – major subsidence

This house, built by a nationally known builder, was built on a hillside plot and the ground was cut away to put in the footings. Unfortunately they exposed pockets of unstable ground and the house and large garden wall have suffered severe cracking. The garden wall leans out by 6 inches from top to bottom and will have to be re-built. The house is being underpinned.

Both of these properties would not normally be expected to have suffered such major problems in such a short period. The effect of having a survey was to have the issues spotted by a trained eye. In the first case the NHBC repaired the property and the second was undertaken by the house insurer.

Photographs showing some of the problems found are shown below:

Cracking which has broken the bricks as well as the mortar

If cracking breaks the bricks it is more serious than if it follows the mortar courses.

Internal cracking

Cracking seen internally too

 Internal cracking

 Dangerous garden wall

The garden wall became dangerous and had to be rebuilt

​Do I need a survey for a new or recently built house?

Date: 2014-04-24 13:43:53

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Property Valuation Reports

The simplest and therefore cheapest report normally commissioned by and carried out on behalf of a mortgage lender. More...

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A more detailed surveyor's report than the basic Valuation Report and is suitable for most properties built post 1880/1890 which are in apparently reasonable condition. More...

Building Surveys

Formerly known as the "full structural survey," a Building Survey is the most detailed survey available. It is suited to properties built before circa 1840 or younger properties which appear to be in very poor condition. More...

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