What to do if you discover a structural defect in your home?

A structural defect in your home can cause serious damage, which can be particularly devastating if the seller hasn’t previously stated that they existed – meaning the defect is a total surprise to you, the buyer. Structural defects in your home can potentially cause thousands of pounds’ worth of damage – something that you shouldn’t have to experience, especially so early on as a buyer. Here are some steps to take should you discover a defect in your property.


See if you have structural defects insurance

Structural defects insurance is mandatory for properties under 10 years old – therefore, if the property is new and you discover a structural defect in your home, then it will be covered by structural defects insurance. Any damage caused will be covered by your insurance, including damage caused by design, workmanship, materials or components. It means that fault does not have to be determined, and you are not left with hefty bills to pay on top of any other bills you would ordinarily have to pay.

Tell your insurer

Whether you discover the structural defect in your home yourself, or a survey finds it, always tell your insurer the full details. If you don’t, you risk having to pay in full for any damage that the defect causes. Your insurer may completely refuse to fund any repairs if you do not inform them of the defect beforehand – so it’s worth keeping them in the loop.

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Get a full survey done

When you discover a structural defect in your home, it can bring about some paranoia that the rest of your house is not structurally sound either. This can be difficult to deal with, but one solution is to get a full building survey done. This will give you a comprehensive look at your entire property, with full reports on any other defects, and approximate costs for repairs. Even if you haven’t found a defect, a buildings survey is something to consider to avoid future damage.


Seek advice from a structural engineer

Sometimes, it can be hard to determine whether or not a problem is actually a structural defect, and should be repaired right away or left alone. Consulting a structural engineer can be helpful, especially if your house is older than most. In this situation, some structural engineers will specialise in houses from certain periods or certain styles of houses, and will be able to provide advice accordingly.


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