Cracks in a white wall

This blog is not an authoritative interpretation of the law; it is intended as a general guide.

In this blog, Icon Surveyor’s will consider what ‘Movement Monitoring’ is and why it is used.

What is Movement Monitoring?

In the simplest of terms, it is the decisive action of monitoring any structural movement, subsidence, or settlement of an adjoining owner’s property throughout the duration and subsequent completion of a building owner’s construction works. This enables any movement caused by the building owner’s works to be detected at the earliest possible point of the ongoing works as a consequence of which both parties will benefit.

Movement monitoring will usually be used when a building owner is carrying out complex works that are notifiable under section 6 of the Party Wall etc. Act 1996. Such works incorporate adjacent excavation and construction. This might include, building an extension, basement, or perhaps the erection of a new building.

For the purposes of small residential projects the usual method is to firstly, determine the various points that will be used to install monitoring tags to the adjoining property. These are installed prior to the commencement of any of the agreed works and can be installed on any part of the adjoining building, be it the front wall, back wall or indeed the side wall. Thereafter, a ground reading is taken in order to record the actual pre-works situ of the property. Once this is done, depending on the conditions of the ground and soil, the tags are set to trigger any movement. These can be set to record any movement of between 1mm to 3 mm and are usually monitored physically at weekly intervals. 

Developers on the other hand are generally more inclined to use state-of-the-art monitoring systems that enable any movement to be sent to the monitoring device (i.e. manned phone) in real time. However, these type of monitoring systems ring in at state-of-the-art prices that are generally way out of the reach of an ordinary residential building owner.   

Why Monitor Movement?

There are many benefits to catching any movement early which we at Icon Surveyors believe far outweighs the steep costs and time delays that might otherwise occur without the aid of monitoring. These include; the ability to record measurements accurately in a timely manner without any partialities together with the ability to monitor steel beam levels throughout the period of the work and, thus, the ability to determine the causes of any movement.

The costs incurred by a building owner of a small residential project would usually start in the region of £800 + VAT for a system installation and £300 + VAT per weekly visit thereafter.  A building owner who is carrying out works that are likely to pose a potential risk pertaining to any structural movement and thus damage to the adjoining owner’s property may initially consider such costs as being excessive, however, as previously stated, prevention is better than cure and far less costly!   

Icon Surveyors are happy to provide a free consultation to any building or adjoining owners who may be affected by the subject matter raised in this blog.

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Icon Surveyors

We are a team of party wall surveying experts based throughout London and the surrounding areas. Here, we share informative property survey blogs created by industry experts.



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