Any new building will move when it is built; the extent of any movement will vary depending on the material the property is constructed on. A new home built on bedrock will not settle as much as a dwelling built on a clay soil.
Modern foundations are designed to accommodate the initial settlement, usually by calculations based on borehole samples of the area and analysis of geological data.
External influences are often the cause of unpredicted and adverse structural movement.
It is not appreciated that even well established houses will be moving. This is caused by thermal influences and changes in the moisture content of the material the house is founded on. Houses with well-constructed foundations will accommodate this movement. It is only where the movement is outside the design parameters of the foundations or where the dwelling was poorly constructed that the strain reaches a breaking point and cracking develops.
If movement of a significant nature affects your property you should immediately inform your insurers and seek professional assistance. Diagnosis of structural movement is very complicated and you cannot suggest a cause without inspecting the property.
Movement can often only be diagnosed after a detailed survey of the defect, analysis of soil samples, digging of trial pits and a survey of the immediate area. Furthermore if you are considering a move this type of defect is the most likely to get prospective buyers running away. Early diagnosis and repair are essential; repointing the cracks is often only a temporary cosmetic repair.
- Adverse gradient
- Defective plumbing or drains
- Inadequate foundations