By Brian Robinson.
“We have to do something about these cracks. They’re everywhere, creeping up in the corners of the rooms; hiding behind the wardrobes; cracking the concrete under our feet. This house is falling apart.”
“What do you suggest dear?”
“I suppose it would help if we knew why our house is showing such signs of stress. There must be a reason.”
“Okay, so get a surveyor in. They’re the experts. They should be able to pinpoint the problem and then we can do something about it.”
“The report’s arrived. They took their bloody time though. We pay them all that bloody money and then they make us fucking wait.”
“It’s only been a week pet.”
“This is bullshit. Can you believe this. They’re saying they don’t know what the problem is. Six hundred fucking quid and we’re no further forward.”
“Let’s not be too hasty dear. Read out the report.”
“Surveyors Report Re Cracking to External and Internal walls
The cracks at 42 Makepeace Avenue are extensive and widespread affecting virtually every part of the structure. This is out of the ordinary so there must be a significant structural problem. The possibilities were considered as follows:
- All houses settle and this usually happens within the first few years following construction. Generally speaking, this does not lead to significant problems, and as your house is some thirty years old, this can be eliminated as a cause.
- Many houses suffer from subsidence and there can be several reasons for this. For example, on clay soils that are subject to desiccation due to long periods of drought, this can lead to clay shrinkage and subsequent cracking. This can also be caused by large trees too close to the property robbing the necessary moisture from the soil. Or indeed, it may be that the water table has lowered in your area due to other major construction projects. None of these apply in your case, so your cracking cannot be due to soil shrinkage. Indeed, this can be ruled out emphatically because you house is built on limestone which is one of the most stable substructures upon which to build a house.
- Cracking can also occur due to poor workmanship and the use of inferior materials. Our impression is that the standard of workmanship in your home is high and all the proper materials have been used and placed correctly. Yours is one of a number of similar houses on the same estate and there have been no other reports of cracking.
- Many houses are now built in old mining areas and on land which some would argue is unsuitable for housing. There is no record of old pits or ponds in your area so that too can be ruled out.
- Minor cracking can be caused by heavy traffic passing close to a house. Lorries can weigh tens of tons these days and are capable of shaking a house to its very foundations. However, yours is a quiet street with light traffic so this cannot apply.
- At this point we are running out of ideas and explanations for this problem. There is no fracking in your area, and there are no reports of minor earthquakes. We have also consulted extensively with our structural engineers and they are in agreement with our findings.
Having made exhaustive tests and investigations into the cracking at 42 Makepeace Avenue, we have reluctantly come to the view that the problem with your house is without explanation.
Bastards! They’re fucking crooks. That’s what they are.”
“It does sound like they did a thorough job dear.”
“I’m going to ring them right now. They’re not going to get away with this.
You call yourselves fucking surveyors. You ought to be ashamed of yourselves. You’re robbers, muggers. And you can whistle for your fucking money.”
“Mrs Wilson. Please don’t speak like that. We surveyed your house to the best of our ability. I’ll admit our finding is unusual. And I don’t know of another case where we didn’t get to the heart of the problem. But I can assure you, we did our best and acted professionally.”
“You’re scum. That’s what you are. I’m going to tell the fucking papers. I’ll tell everyone what twats you are. The world will get to know and I hope you and all the other muggers in your office shrivel up and die.”
“Very well Mrs Wilson. You’ve made your feelings quite plain. I am the senior partner here so I will be tearing up your invoice as we speak. I would never accept payment or do business with a person like you.
Oh, there is one other thing I failed to put in my report. Houses can crack for reasons other than structural ones. Causes can be philosophical, spiritual and human. In severe cases of spiritual failure, this can lead to huge ‘sink holes’ where the house and its occupants are swallowed up and spat out in hell. This is where I suggest you next turn your attention. Perhaps then your existence will settle on a firmer foundation.”