Before you buy a property, it’s prudent to check for any geotechnical issues. Often any known geotechnical matters or hazards are highlighted in the Land Information Memorandum (LIM) from your local council. If concerns are highlighted it’s up to you to investigate further.
Some properties are inherently prone to geotechnical-related issues. These may include properties on cliff tops or riverbanks, near, above or below a steep slope, where soft, saturated soils or uncontrolled fill may be present – particularly under dwellings or structures, in regions prone to earthquakes and in proximity of previous mining activity.
These properties are often at higher risk of suffering or being exposed to geotechnical issues such as: erosion, avulsion (the sudden removal of land by the change in a river’s course, or by flooding, to another person’s land), rock or debris fall hazards, subsidence and differential settlement due to poor or unfavourable foundation conditions and/or slope instability, slope instability and deformation, alluvion (the deposit of earth, sand, etc left after a flood), flooding, liquefaction and the presence of hazardous contaminants or unknown fill.
To avoid any unforeseen problems, obtaining geotechnical advice and an assessment before you buy a property is sensible. Alternatively, if you are planning to develop or subdivide a property there may be a local authority requirement to obtain a geotechnical report in accordance with building and resource consent processes. Identified geotechnical issues may have an impact on the design, viability and ultimately cost of your proposed development.
If you’re concerned about geotechnical issues in a proposed property purchase, please talk with us early on so we can discuss making provision in your Agreement for Sale and Purchase for a geotechnical investigation.