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dark$sky

Structural Problems

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I have made an offer for a 5 bedroom stone end-terraced house and I think it will be accepted. However, I'm having second thoughts now because I have found out that the house has about 5 or 6 metal wall braces on the side wall near the 1st floor area. I think these are used when a wall bows under pressure, etc.

What advice would you guys give regarding this problem? Is it a serious structural problem? Would insurance cover it? Or should I look elsewhere?

Thanks in advance.

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I don't know how serious the underlying structural issue may be. From an optimistic point of view, you could say that some symptom has been addressed and as such it is "fixed". Sounds terribly naive to be that optimistic though!

In so far as things like insurance is concerned, the vendor is probably a good source of information. I looked at house that turned out to have subsidence, and so I sat down with the owners and went through all their insurance documentation. I then phoned the insurance provider and asked them what conditions were in force, excesses, premium renewals, ability to get cover, etc. I also phoned my existing insurance provider (who I find quite good but who was not the same company as the vendor was using) and they confirmed (in the case of subsidence) that they would not take on the policy. Worth knowing that.

I actually found out about the subsidence on this property by knocking on the neighbours' doors and asking them about any problems etc. Since you've seen these wall braces then I think it's pretty acceptable to knock on someone else's door (in the same terrace) and ask them what experiences they've had.

Appreciate that you're looking at wall braces here and not subsidence. I don't want to imply that the presence of wall braces is in some way as serious as subsidence, because I don't know the detail and as far as I'm concerned they are not connected. My expericence however is subsidence and I think some of that experience could help you out here.

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I have made an offer for a 5 bedroom stone end-terraced house and I think it will be accepted. However, I'm having second thoughts now because I have found out that the house has about 5 or 6 metal wall braces on the side wall near the 1st floor area. I think these are used when a wall bows under pressure, etc.

What advice would you guys give regarding this problem? Is it a serious structural problem? Would insurance cover it? Or should I look elsewhere?

Thanks in advance.

It really depends on whether the problem which caused the movement in the flank wall has been rectified and if so has the movement now completely ceased. If there are no signs of on-going movement the bank may lend you the money and the insurance company may insure the building. Ask the vendor if they have any reports from a structural engineer or surveyor which can prove that the movement is historic. It sounds to me as though the wall has bowed as you suggest and the ties are used to tie the wall and floor joists together.

You could ask the insurance company their views on whether they would insure the property. If they need some reassurance that the wall is stable and the defect has been rectified you get a surveyors or structural engineer's report done.

Edited by DeadCat

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I have made an offer for a 5 bedroom stone end-terraced house and I think it will be accepted. However, I'm having second thoughts now because I have found out that the house has about 5 or 6 metal wall braces on the side wall near the 1st floor area. I think these are used when a wall bows under pressure, etc.

What advice would you guys give regarding this problem? Is it a serious structural problem? Would insurance cover it? Or should I look elsewhere?

Thanks in advance.

The only sensible advice would be to decide whether you want to continue - if you do have it thoroughly surveyed - which in this instance is likely to including a structural engineer's report. From this you can make an informed decision.

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Guest joeschmo
The only sensible advice would be to decide whether you want to continue - if you do have it thoroughly surveyed - which in this instance is likely to including a structural engineer's report. From this you can make an informed decision.

I think that you need to separate the issue of the structural integrity of the house from the ease of insurability. I recently made an offer on a house but subsequently withdrew because my surveyor said that I should install similar braces in a wall that was bowing. My surveyor was happy that, with the braces/ties in place the building would be sound. My insurers however said that they would want not cover for subsidense until a structural engineer had said that "no further movement would occur". I spoke to a structural engineer who said that he would not be able to give such an undertaking , only that it was "unlikely to occur".

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