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Anyone know anything about underpinning?

18 replies

dizzydo · 07/06/2006 11:11

Not sure this is the right section but here goes.

We are quite a long way down the road with buying a house and have just discovered that in 1990 it was underpinned Sad. This rings all kinds of alarm bells as any insurance you try to get always asks if the property has had any underpinning. Apparently there have been no problems since the work but I still am very unhappy with going ahead now.

Anyone got any experience of this please.

OP posts:
Tinker · 07/06/2006 11:18

No experience but could you ask the current owners who their insurers are? Presumably if they (the insurers) are happy to insure now then they will continiue to be?

dizzydo · 07/06/2006 11:19

Thanks. I could to that Tinker but to be honest I want to shop around and not just have to go with the vendor's insurers because noone else will touch it. Also I am going to have the same trouble when I come to sell I would think.

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dinosaure · 07/06/2006 11:20

We've just had ours underpinned, not because it was falling down but because we've had our cellar converted into a big kitchen/living area, and in order to do that we needed to have the walls underpinned.

So I would try and find out a bit more information because it may be that the underpinning was done as part of a similar exercise rather than indicating anything sinister.

I do also have a mate who bought a house that hadh been under pinned and I know she managed to get house insurance for it but it was very hairy and she ended up having to ring up the chief executive of the insurance company and plead with him! So it is something to get sorted out well in advance of completion I think.

NomDePlume · 07/06/2006 11:20

AFAIK, underpinning rectifies and stops any movement as a result of subsidence. Do the vendors or their solicitor have some sort of guarantee or paperwork that confirms the degree of underpinning ?

LIZS · 07/06/2006 11:21

At least you'd have a fall back if you do decide to shop around though. Is there a guarantee on the underpinning and any monitoring for further movement ?

NomDePlume · 07/06/2006 11:22

ah, yes dino. Lots of Victorian houses were built without foundations, literally just built up from the soil, if you have any digging out or whatever done (like Dino says, to convert a cellar etc), then you will need to support the walls)

dizzydo · 07/06/2006 11:26

Hi dinosaure. No it's not because of a basement conversion, as you know we were thinking of doing one at some stage if we did manage to complete.

We have asked our solicitors to get more information on what exactly it was for. 1990 is not that long ago which is what really worries me.

OP posts:
Lact8 · 07/06/2006 11:28

Im on mat leave at the mo but i deal with setting up home ins pols for one of the big banks, specifically dealing with non standardf cases ie subsidence

What have your mortgage lenders said about it?

Most lenders seem to prefer you stick with the current insurer but will usually insure the property themselves if they have been happy to lend the money in the 1st place

If you do change they usually require report stating why the work was carried out in 1st place, certificate to prove it was done, confirmation that no further probs at the prob.

TBH it is one of the drop dead areas at new business and i think you'd struggle to find a high st broker who would take this on.
I think your optionns will be sticking with current insurer or your mortgage provider i'm afriad

dinosaure · 07/06/2006 11:37

dizzydo given your plans I would definitely get a structural engineer to come and take a look at it. Even if you can get insurance, you should make sure, given your plans for a cellar conversion, that there isn't anything nasty lurking there that would stop you being able to do that.

dizzydo · 07/06/2006 11:43

OMG Dinosaure I hadnt even thought about that. If we dont pull out then I will definitely do that. Perhaps we could get the vendors to pay half towards it. Thank you.

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dizzydo · 07/06/2006 19:03

and for those kind enough to read this thread ..

would the property having been underpinned put you off buying? I am interested to know because if the answer is yes, (and I think it probably is for the majority of people), then we will have the same trouble (if we go through with the purchase) when we come to sell.

OP posts:
Tinker · 07/06/2006 19:13

If I was in love with it, intended to stay long term and mortgage lender adn insurer were happy about it, I'd go through with it. If any umming and aahhing by lenders/insurers would think twice.

nicnack2 · 07/06/2006 19:16

if it helps our house was underpined last year du to us converting the loft. It would depend on why it was underpinned ie if the current or past owner removed a wall/renovations etc or the slight more dificult on of structural damage

nicnack2 · 07/06/2006 19:19

if i had a full structural survey and the results were ok then no it wouldnt put me off. the vendor would have to supply me with garuntees etc.

anteater · 07/06/2006 19:20

Second the structural engineer.. I am sure that if the vendors think you are serious they will cough up, a few hundred would do it. Make sure you are lurking when said engineer is about to gauge his reaction.

We underpinned a wall about 5 years ago that had been built on CLAY!! The rest of the house is on bedrock. The wall had sunk straight away and now is about 8 degrees off vertical. It pulled the wall on the otherside over with it so we live in a skewed house.. BUT
it has not moved in 250 years.

We underpinned becaude
the room upstairs is our bedroom (lots of VIBRATIONS there..Grin) The wall now has a 400mm reinforced concrete slab underneath it which extends right under the building and 1m out.

We also divided the skewed room with a block wall to lock any further movement.

The structural engineer was very helpful. The surveyer was cxxp.

dizzydo · 07/06/2006 22:45

thank you so much for all you responses. Yes we are in love with it, it ticks all the boxes. But a lot of very useful points we would not have thought of made here and very much appreciated. Will let you know....

OP posts:
dizzydo · 07/06/2006 22:45

please keep them coming if you think of anything else!!!

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NotActuallyAMum · 08/06/2006 08:28

Have a look at the case studies in the underpinning section on \link{\this} site and see if that can help to put your mind at rest

I used to work for this Company - as NDP said, underpinning certainly does stop any further movement so as it was done so long ago and there's been no further problems I'm sure you'll be fine

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