Movement in house walls18/05/20
There are many benefits of having an RICS Homebuyer’s Report carried out if you have had an offer accepted on a residential property. An RICS qualified surveyor can identify a range of issues which will make you better informed about the property and its potential problems.
Signs of movement in walls, either internally or externally, are not always a sign of serious problems in a house. In new build properties or where rooms have been replastered, they may just be settlement cracks, which can be easily rectified.
Serious problems can be identified by a surveyor
Cracks in older plaster can be an indication of the presence of red ash or damp ingress, but could equally be expansion and contraction of materials being caused by a varied temperature within the dwelling.
External cracks in the mortar line running horizontally on a cavity wall may indicate failed ties in the wall structure. Rectifying this can be a major undertaking and may involve rebuilding the wall.
Cracks on a rendered building need to be sorted out as soon as possible. The original fault that caused the crack needs to be addressed and then the crack itself needs tackling. This is important to prevent water ingress and also seed deposit, which can lead to vegetation growing behind the render.
Inside the house, cracks high up in room corners can be a sign of significant structural damage. A qualified surveyor can provide guidance as to whether these are historical or current.
No foundations can lead to problems
Victorian properties often have no foundations. This means they are more susceptible to movement from heavy modern traffic. They may suffer from historic settlement cracks in brick work and current movement cracks to plasterwork. A qualified surveyor will identify the difference and what action is required.
Lintels and rolled steel joists
Evaluating any lintels and rolled steel joists for signs of compromise and failure is important. If problems with these are identified early, escalation into a more serious situation can be avoided.