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RICS Expert Witness Reports




29th September 2017



Dear Sir


13 Street


Thank you for your instruction to suspected structural movement at the above property.


The property is a four bedroom terrace house with solid brick faced walls and a pitched slate roof constructed in about 1900.


The internal accommodation comprises a hall and stairs with two reception rooms adjacent. Beyond the stairs in an annex is a kitchen. An opening has been knocked though the rear wall of the kitchen to create a utility room in single storey former outbuildings. At first floor level there is a bathroom and bedroom above the kitchen, and two bedrooms adjacent to the stairwell and one over the front part of the hall. Internal walls are believed to be largely of masonry construction.


Movement in the property has manifested as follows:


  1. The rear NW corner of the annex containing the kitchen has rotated away from the rest of the structure at low level with a number of fractures of approximately 5mm occurring. See Photograph 1.


The cause is related to movement of the foundation at the corner of the annex. Inspection of a nearby drain channel suggests that the drains which are relatively shallow level have been replaced with modern plastic ones. Photograph 2.


There is no corresponding fracturing of the internal faces of the wall in the kitchen which the owner believes to have been re-plastered over ten years ago. Photograph 3.


  1. The brick work on the south wall of the outhouses now used as a utility room undulates consistent with movement of the foundation. Photograph 4


There is no corresponding movement of the internal plaster faces.


There is no evidence that drains currently run in this area of the property although it is an historic possibility.


It is considered that the movement is likely to be due to poor construction of the foundations or historic mining subsidence which is common in the area.


  1. There is a hair line vertical fracture on the south elevation where the former outhouses join the annex. Photograph 4


There is no corresponding movement of the internal plaster faces.


Possibly causes on the movement are thermal movement due to the south facing wall stretching beyond it elasticity or stress due to the past movement referred to a 2 above.


In terms of the size of the structure the movement is considered to be insignificant.




There are no trees in the vicinity and the area is not known to have shrinkable clays or be prone to natural subsidence.




The failure of the annex is likely to be due to historic drain failure that has now been repaired.


The movement of the outhouse is likely to be due to subsidence due to poor construction of the foundations or mining activity. Stress on the structure due to this may have caused the insignificant movement of the structure at the joint of the outhouse and annex although thermal movement of the structure may also be a cause.


The foundation movement is considered to be historic and unlikely to progress. The property is considered subject to a satisfactory mining report to be suitable for insurance against all usual risks.


Cosmetic repairs can be affected by rebuilding the brickwork at the rear corner of the annex. Installation of stainless steel ties into the horizontal movement joints that are bonded with an epoxy resin may prevent recurrence of the fracturing at what is now a weak point of the structure.


Yours sincerely

Steve Butler








 Structural Survey Report on Foundation Movement




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