Structural survey loses sale

Structural survey loses sale

15:29 PM, 28th October 2014, About 9 years ago 5

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Recently I obtained the services of a structural engineer to undertake a structural survey on a buy to let I have owned for a number of years.

This is following a mortgage valuation survey undertaken by a perspective buyer, during this they identified some small structural movement in the 100 year old pre war victorian terrace.

The Structural engineer has provided a report which has compounded matters through it’s inaccuracy and has completely killed the sale. In the report the engineer has put the movement down to a collapsed drain running along the length of the foundations without having any evidence what so ever. He has then put in standard remedial remedies including horizontal bed jointing, re plastering and monitoring for further movement.

Following this I contacted Severn Trent and had a drain survey conducted which proved that the drains are in fact fine. With my limited building knowledge of pre war victorian terraces (having owned and lived in quite a few) I would put the movement down to the passage of time, the method of construction and the odd bomb or two during the war.

I contacted the engineer to inform him of the further drain survey and to inform him that his report needs amending as it is not correct and he is refusing to amend it. What should I do?

As I have said previously the buyer has now pulled out and I am back to square one.

Many Thanks


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Neil Patterson

15:38 PM, 28th October 2014, About 9 years ago

Hi Brett,

Have you made a complaint to the Surveyor/Engineer's office yet and if so have you followed it up with a complaint to RICS or the professional body associated?

As you have contracted and paid for the Structural survey you are entitled to redress if it is not accurate to within the standards required by the professional body.

I am not sure what you could claim beyond the cost of the report, but you may wish to see Mark Smith's (Barrister in Law) profile. >>

Joe Bloggs

9:22 AM, 29th October 2014, About 9 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Neil Patterson" at "28/10/2014 - 15:38":

hi neil,
as its an engineer rather than a surveyor, he/she wont be an RICS member. structural engineers have their own professional body and code of conduct/ complaints procedure.
im sure the engineer would issue a further report now the condition of the drains is none, but he may want an extra fee.

Ian Cognito

9:42 AM, 29th October 2014, About 9 years ago

Hi Brett

Is the engineer newly qualified or does he have experience and local knowledge?

I presume that he reported that the evidence of movement (i.e. cracks) was greater than would normally be found in a similar property?

You say that he provided no evidence of a collapsed drain causing the movement. Did he, therefore, simply suggest that the movement MAY have been caused by a collapsed drain (in the absence of being able to provide an alternative cause)?

Finally, have you actually seen the purchaser's mortgage valuation survey?

Brett A

11:19 AM, 29th October 2014, About 9 years ago

Hi Ian,

Yes I have seen the mortgage valuation survey which is why I initially commissioned the structural engineers report.

The adjacent and joining property also has the same slight movement at the same position which the engineer has not made reference to.

I think that the site of the cracking is exactly in the centre of the building and may well be the point at which the original builder has build from the front and the back and have met in the middle as there are slips of cut brick and larger mortar joints. But that's just my opinion.

The engineer has drawn his conclusions from sunken paving at the site of the structural cracking thus "which is indicative of defective drain conditions".
However he has obviously written his report up later from what he thought he had seen as there is no sunken paving anywhere near the vicinity of the cracking or even within the footprint of the building.

On speaking to him he did indicate that he had not been working with the practice for long. I just get the feeling that he has done a one size fits all survey with a belt and braces remedial works.

Ian Cognito

12:52 PM, 29th October 2014, About 9 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Brett A" at "29/10/2014 - 11:19":

Hi again Brett

Why did the buyer pull-out?

Was the mortgage valuation below the sale price?
Would the lender not offer a mortgage on the property?
Would the lender only offer the mortgage with a retention?

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