What is new build settlement?
If you have bought a new build property and find that your site manager is mentioning 'settlement' or tells you "not to worry about 'shrinkage' cracks", then this blog will hopefully be of help to you. We explain the difference between shrinkage and settlement, why it occurs and what to look out for.
'Settlement' from a building surveying point of view technically lasts for 10 years, although on a practical basis you should only really notice the signs within the first 12 months after completion.
Shrinkage can however show signs in other places such as cracks in your brickwork / mortar outside. It can also cause floor tiles to crack (mainly upstairs). This is often why the Sales or Site team will suggest against laying tiles upstairs, as they are less durable to cope with the movement of the house.
We would therefore recommend laying a temporary floor surface material in your bathroom such as lino down and then waiting a year before changing to tiles.
What is shrinkage?
Shrinkage is due to the construction materials drying out. As shown in this video, shrinkage cracks often run along the top of walls rather than at openings, at a constant width no less than 2mm. As these 'wet' construction materials (plaster, mortar and concrete) contain a lot of water, it usually takes several months for the shrinkage cracks to occur. Allowing for ventilation (trickle vents) in the property help this drying out period.
So, with this being said, what does the builder have to do? The answer is that it depends what severity the crack is. According to the BRE, anything less than 5mm is considered minor (cosmetic). The NHBC have a similar stance on this and advise that anything less than 2mm is not of a concern. To check this during our snagging survey we use a crack guage ruler and our photographs are date stamped to monitor if the crack grows.
For more information about cracking, a useful document provided by the NHBC is here. Also feel free to get in touch with us if you have any concerns over cracks appearing in your home that may be beyond settlement.
A Snaggers Blog
HomeSnag inspectors are experts at inspecting new-build houses. This blog shares real examples to demonstrate the importance of getting your new build house or apartment snagged professionally
"I always insist that there is specific provision for snagging," says Thomas Moran, partner at law firm Speechly Bircham. "Reputable developers do this anyway, but there are all sorts in the market, some big, some small, so you need a contractual promise than within, say, a year they will come back to remedy any minor defects in the finishing."
read full article here