Should you buy a property that has had a

structural claim even if the remedial

work has been carried out?

A clients review and how we can help you


We can provide help and advice with regard to building surveys, structural surveys, structural reports, independent valuations, property surveys, engineers reports, specific defects report, home buyers reports or any other property matters . Please free phone on 0800 298 5424 for a friendly chat with one of our surveyors.

Free phone 0800 298 5424

Structural problems

We survey many properties with structural problems. In this case we surveyed a modern property which had had structural cracks.

We had been instructed to survey the property by our client a prospective purchaser of the property. The present owners insurance company had removed a tree near the property and carried out remedial work to the property including repointing, replacing bricks externally and the paving slabs around the external of the building, repairing and making good cracking internally and complete redecoration so effectively the problem was hidden .

Stump where tree removed by insurance company


Tree lines

Influencing distance of trees


However the insurance company then refused to insure the property when the insurance came up for renewal. Worse than that, they had also passed the data onto the other large insurance companies so they wouldn't insure the property either. We were instructed to survey the property and assess the risk.



Cracks are one of the key things that we are asked to look out for when carrying out a building survey also known as a structural survey, ranging from hairline cracks through to structural cracks caused by movement. It is not about the size of the crack in a property, it is about the cause. In this case the insurance company had carried out repairs externally and internally so it was difficult to assess the extent of the cracking.

Different types of cracks

Example of cracking between an original building and an extension


Certificate of structural adequacy

A certificate of structural adequacy had been issued but this is not a guarantee.

Certificate of Structural Adequacy

A Certificate of Structural Adequacy is issued to the home owner by the insurance companies appointed Loss Adjuster or Assessor. It normally briefly states the work that has been carried out and then advises what it isn't and also the limitations. A Certificate of Structural Adequacy is not a guarantee or warranty.



The only option was that the people buying the property had to go to a specialist insurance company who of course wanted a premium.

Generally, insurance requirements with regard to trees have varied over the years and in our opinion have got ever more onerous. We have seen the notifiable distance of a tree away from a property to have been reduced over the years and we would always recommend that you make enquiries with regard to the insurability in relation to trees and other features prior to purchasing a property.


Would we have recommended removing the tree ?

In our experience the removal of trees that are within influencing distance of a property is what insurance companies regularly do whereas we believe there are other options such as reducing back the size of the tree and then carrying out regular maintenance each year and/or a root barrier put in place.

Influencing distance of trees

Influencing Distance Defined

This is the distance in which a tree may be able to cause damage to the subject property. It is not quite as simple as our sketch; it depends on the tree, its maturity, the soil type etc., etc.


Root barrier defined

This is an underground barrier that stops the roots from causing damage in a particular area, i.e. your building's foundations.


Settlement, subsidence and heave

We would make the general comment that if the soil is clay we wouldn't have removed the tree as heave can be caused and in turn can damage a building. Having said that, in this case we couldn't confirm 100% what the soil was because as far as we could see, no soil samples were taken.

Heave defined

Heave is where clay soil expands due to excessive water.


Structural problems are they resolved or are they always with the property?

Any property that has had work carried out in relation to a structural claim is blighted and will as we understand it be on insurance company records forever and a day.


Will structural problems affect the value of a property?

Most people would be put off purchasing a property with structural problems and this will be reflected in the open market value. If you are considering purchasing a property with structural problems you should be aware of the likely implications you will have when you come to re-sell the property.


Other surveying articles that may be of interest

You may also find the following surveying articles useful;

Certificate of Structural Adequacy

How, in our experience insurance companies deal with cracks in properties

Settlement, Subsidence and Heave and the part clay soils play in this

Tree problems in a nutshell

Insurance Claim


Client feedback on survey report

A short while after receiving the survey report we had a phone call from the client to thank us for the survey. They advised that it had been a difficult situation as they are very friendly with the people selling the property.

They were very pleased that the report was so easily readable and how we carried out additional research with regard to the insurance company's report on the work that had been carried out and how we had spotted that it wasn't just cosmetic work as the people selling the house had said but that they had had some more structural work carried out as well. They thought our report was excellent at explaining the risks that they would be taking on if they did decide to buy the property which they are still uncertain of as they are still weighing up the pros and cons of it. They were also pleased that they had been able to speak to us on the phone and that they had been able to meet the surveyor at the property during the survey.


Meet the building surveyor at the property

If you have the time available and can get to the property whilst the survey is being carried out our surveyors will be more than happy to talk to you about any concerns and possible problems that you think the property may have together with any potential alterations and improvements that you may be looking to carry out to the property. We will, of course, be happy to speak to you about the survey report once it has been completed.



Underpinning is a popular way of resolving problems in clay areas particularly where there are trees and/or underground water in the area. Most people would be put off purchasing a property where underpinning has taken place and we would say that when a property has been underpinned it simply doesn't have the same value as a property that hasn't been underpinned.
116 Concrete underpinning

Concrete underpinning

Prior to purchasing a property which has been underpinned we would recommend your legal advisor checks what information is available in relation to the underpinning.

Mass concrete underpinning


What do the circles and ovals mean in our reports?

The red circles are a system that we used within our structural surveys, building surveys and schedules of condition to highlight problem areas so that you are not left wondering what the problem is.


Our unique sketches help you understand the survey

If the report, along with our photos, does not explain the problem or characteristics of a property enough then we also have a vast range of sketches that we have had commissioned exclusively for us that we can use in our reports.


As surveyors, would we buy the property?

A surveyor is often asked the question would you buy the property? The answer is that we may buy the property but it doesn't mean that the people asking us to do the survey should buy the property. We give the example of a property that we bought at auction that took ten years of monitoring before an insurance company would insure it. This wouldn't be the sort of risk that many people would be prepared to take on. You should be aware of the likely implications any structural problems will have when you come to sell the property.


Why have an independent building survey?

Always have an independent building survey as this will highlight any property problems. Caveat emptor means buyer beware and is why you need to have a building survey to find out if there are any problems within the property; the estate agent certainly will not advise you of any.

Remember the building Surveyor that you employ will be the only person working for you with your interests at heart.

Once again, we would reiterate that we highly recommend you always make sure when you have a survey you meet your Surveyor at the property.

Compare our website and compare our surveys

Please feel free to have a look at our website to see for yourself the quality of our website, articles and our Building Survey reports. We pride ourselves on our professional standard and easy to read reports which we have been carrying out for many years on every age, type and style of property across the UK.


We can email you examples of our building surveys

If you are thinking of buying a property and are interested in having a Structural Survey carried out or if you are trying to sell a property and would like a Pre-Sales Survey please call us on free phone us for a friendly chat on 0800 298 5424. We would be happy to email you several examples of our tailor made reports.


All rights reserved by

All rights are reserved the contents of the website is not to be reproduced or transmitted in any form in whole or part without the express written permission of



building engineers

Home Buyers Reports Property Surveys - why we're the best. Engineers Reports
© Copyright

1stassociated-logo-for-footer IVSA-badge IVSA-putting-client-first call-us-for-footer

We have thousands of free property articles to help you - or call us freephone on 0800 298 5424

We have been working in the property industry for many years and have been
providing free property articles for over ten years. All for free and to help you with buying your next property.

House and Home Surveys and Useful Information

All you need to know about Building Surveys

Building Control, what do they do?

Designers and Architects will they save me money or will they cost me money

Enviroment, Your Building and Garden Gnomes

Estate Agents help sell houses and work for the vendors

Have a Structural Survey to protect you against structural problems

Home improvements, builder problems and ideas for you on how to solve them

How a Surveyor values a property, Chartered Surveyors and Regulated Valuers

How Chartered Engineers and Building Engineers can help you

Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas

NHBC National House Building Council

Structural Surveys and How We Can Help You

Traditional and Non-Traditional Houses and Mortgage Problems

Valuations and how much is the building worth?

Whats the difference between a Chartered Building Surveyor, Chartered Surveyor and an Independent Surveyor

Useful property problem articles by Chartered Surveyors explaining building issues to avoid

External - Helpful information on building problems on the outside of the property

Chimney issues and problems

Cracking and Movement Problems and Surveying Solutions

Flat Roof Problems, how we can solve them

Foundations and Structures and Settlement and Subsidence and Underpinning

Pitched Roofs Problems and Solutions

Roof Problems

Wall Problems

Windows and Doors and Fascias and Soffits and Wet Rot and Dry Rot and other problems

Internal - House problems we have investigated inside

All you ever need to know about floors

Asbestos in your home, what you need to know

Ceiling Cracks and Structural Problems

Condensation, Damp and Black Mould Problems

Cracking and Movement Problems and Surveying Solutions

Windows and Doors and Fascias and Soffits and Wet Rot and Dry Rot and other problems

Woodworm is it a problem or not? Is it active or not?

Services - Building help and advice on costly services

Drainage, what's underground can affect what's above ground

Heating; I just can't get my house warm enough or alternatively I just can't get my house cool enough

You can't mess around with the electric, you need an expert


Commercial Property Services

Building Terms Explained and Directories

Commercial Property Surveys

Commercial Structural Surveys

Leisure Facilites

Offices Large and Small

Shops and Retail

Warehouse and Industrial Buildings

Dilapidations Help and Advice What is a Dilapidations Notice?

A Beginner's Guide to Dilaps

Damp Mould and Condensation

Dampness Rising Damp Mould Black Mould Condensation

Dilapidations and Negotiations

Dilapidations Claim by a Landlord

Energy Saving what can I do?

Finance what is a Financial Adviser (We are not Financial Advisors)

Fire Risk and Help

Health and Safety Risks

Insurance how do I get the correct property insurance?

Landlords Surveying Advice

Property Investment how can I invest in property?

Property TV Reviews by an Independent Surveyor

Schedules of Condition Leasing a Commercial Property

Scotts Schedule and Section 18 Valuation

Tenants Surveying Advice

Weather how does weather affect my property?



Snow and Ice

Strong Winds

Reviews from clients on Commercial Building Surveys

Churches and Charities, helpful reviews from our clients

Industrial Buildings and Warehouses and what our clients say about us

Offices Large and Small, reviews and feedback from our clients

Pubs, Restaurants, Hotels and other Leisure facilities we have surveyed over the years

Shops and Retail, helpful reviews from our clients


First Time Buyers

Buying a Leasehold or Shared Freehold Home

Buying and Selling Houses for the experienced house and home purchaser

First Time Buyers how do I go about buying my first house and home?

Improve your property knowledge with our presentations on house, homes and commercial property

Building Surveys

Building Surveying Useful Information


Dilapidations Presentations in Detail

Final Year Building Surveying Exams for University Students or those that would like to know more

How old is your Building? Which era was it built in?

Party Walls

Surveyors and Design Tools

Disputes and Party Walls

Boundary Disputes

Building and Property Disputes

Party Wall Book Reviews

Party Walls Your Rights and Responsibilities

1stAssociated Surveyors Review for Structural Surveys and Building Surveys

Building Surveys, reviews and feedback from satisfied customers

Buy to let property clients, what they say about our structural surveys

Buying at auction, review of the survey

Buying bungalows and retirement properties and how our surveyors can help

Both at work / busy couples, how we can help and some 1stAssociated client reviews

Families with a young person flying the nest, reviews and feedback

First Time Buyers, what they say about us

Listed buildings, structural surveys

Older buildings, a review of buying an older house

Families with children looking for a new home, feedback and reviews

Buying a Non-Traditional Property

Residential Surveys

House and Home Surveys

Commercial Building Surveys

Commercial Surveys

1st Associated Surveyors Are Also Available in the Following Areas:

East Anglia and East

South and South East

West Country and South West


North and North East



London Markets

London Parks



Areas of Britain

1stAssociated Independent Expert Property Surveyors

Specialists in Home Buyers Reports, Building Surveys and Structural Surveys and Schedules of Condition

All Surveyors are Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors qualified and RICS regulated

and are Members of the Independent Surveyors and Valuers Association

Putting the Client First

We do not accept service of documents by email or fax