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Hole under foundations of property

As previously stated, my home (completed Dec 2004) has a hole under the foundations of the property. About 6" of gravel boarder has just given away to produce a hole approx 18" width and a sloping hole (a square void) under the property, I believe it is of pile construction and the foundations (concrete) are only about 12" thick. The pavement next to this has become very uneven (over some years). Where the hole starts there is a pipe ending, ?related.

To one side of the house a tamac path covered an alley has become seperated from the house about 1" and has become very uneven.

Where the property (terrace) joins the neighbours there is a small void in the gravel however is approx 1 meter deep. The neighbours property (tenanted) has a large sloping hole under the house around the drain.

I have contacted NHBC who tell me they dont think it will be covered as there does not appear to be any external cracks therefore no structual issues however they are coming out to have a look at it.

I fear the ground is unstable!

If its not covered by NHBC (which I believe it should) where do I take this? How do I challenge their decision? Or How do I get the right professionals ( is there a recommended bodie I can go to to hire someone reliable)and at what cost. I bought a new home for the secuity it gives. I have not been impressed so far!

I am the first owner of the property and the survey was done as the property was getting built based on the show home rather than the completed house. All normal searches done by the solicitor.

The builders are still doing a large amount of homes in the estate about 200.

10 Answers from MyBuilder New Home Builders

Hi Probably your first step is to get an independant structural survey done.
look at the results of his report. If there is a problem take it back to the house builder and ask them to remedy it. If not satisfactory, the builders can be reported to the nhbc , who may remedy it after some leverage.
if all else fails give Dominic and Melinda a ring @ at cowboy builders (everyone hates negative press)


Answered 29th May 2011

are the houses built in a mining area ? if so could be colapsed mine first port of call is a surveyor who specialises in locating old mine workings

hope this is of help


Answered 30th May 2011

Sorry i think you have the wrong person as i have never answered any questions and haven't got any work off this site


Answered 29th May 2011

Did you have a survay completed when you purchased the property? is this a new build? 12" (inch) foundations? this sounds very wrong are you the first owner?
you may need to get your own survay done by an indepentant


Answered 30th May 2011

Hi. if as you believe the property has a pile type foundation, this will have been used due to the poor ground conditions being unsuitable to support a typical trench fill/strip foundation or being made up ground. This will normally be installed by a specialist contractor and be designed by a structural engineer. The original builder should be able to give you these details and these will then have had to been passed by either local building control, NHBC or another new home warranty provider.
I would first contact builder then Local authority building control then if not happy watchdog.

TSH Builders


Answered 30th May 2011

Hi, no idea about your problem, have delt with nhbc before and the only advice i can give is dont be fobed off by them. Be persistant log any calls/ conversations you have with them. send all comunication by recorded mail.
If they can riggle out of it they will. As a last result get a solicetor involved.
Hope this helps and best of luck.
Regards Roger


Answered 1st Jun 2011

hi,, one way of determining the structures stability is to have a thiodolite test on the dpc, this will tell me waht is sinking and where and by how much, then a full reoport can be generated for you to disscuss with the people that matter



Answered 2nd Jun 2011

Looks like a pile has failed....usually the piling company has to guarantee the piles (metal and concrete rods that support the house on uneven or unstable land). If the piling rod is defective than the manufacturer is liable and this could be a hard pile to remove and inspect without a great deal of expense. you may consider key hole camera's to monitor the problem and possibly identify the cause.

We are also house builders and some of our staff are from local Authority backgrounds and we are all shocked to hear the situation you find yourself in. It comes as no suprise as many house builders do cut corners, mainly due to the poor planning and design for the properties and using cheaper materials/dodgy sub-contracters and even building developments in flood zones (recall the Sheffield flooding of a few years ago).

It maybe interesting to check with the local council as to whom passed the building with such weak foundations that are sinking and breaking apart. Sometimes the larger firms use private surveyors in place of the local authority helps them, should they choose to bypass certain the foundations and other grey areas such as roofing and plastering. The private surveyors do not actually act in the interest of the customer, only the house builder.

I don't know what part of the UK your in, however the NHBC has limited powers over private surveyors and is pretty much toothless when it comes to enforcing warranties for foundations as they require you to pay for your own inspectors and engineers to identify faults with design and workmanship. You should get in touch with Watchdog or Cowboy builders. Also the new build should have a 10 year guarantee as a minimum as resale would be near impossible without it.

Good luck and all the best

UK Management Builders LTD
Yorkshire's finest
Peace of mind builders


Answered 23rd Jun 2011

It is important to get the advice of a Chartered Building Surveyor or structural engineer, like myself. Once you have a report to show the NHBC they may took the problem seriously. I have done several such reports and managed to get the NHBC to pay for the repairs under their guarantee.


Answered 26th Sep 2011

it sounds to me like when they have backfilled the ring beam with unsutible materials instead of clean stone compacted in layers until solid there for the ground has become has become soggy and is slowley errodinghence movement the best option would be to excavate the bad ground and stone it up correctley


Answered 22nd Dec 2011

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