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However when piles move a house will move with it, and you can see this effect in the rolling floors and out of square doors. It generally makes a house more difficult to maintain. This is one of the area of a home a building inspector will target for detailed inspection. 

Below the rotten joist is supported by a rotten bearer and the pile has disintegrated. Some efforts have been made here to level the floors.

blocks have been stacked end on end on a stone to support this failed bearer

Many Houses in Dunedin we inspect are aging, typically built in the 1940 through 1960. In the best cases the piles have been dug deep enough on a good site to avoid uneven pile settling.  And these houses are mostly still straight, level and square today after all these years.

Other things can cause uneven pile settling including pile failure causing other piles to take more of the load.

Below you can see a pile propped up by a rock and the bearer being supported out of level. There are no level floors in this building.

Below concerns with this subfloor with bearers supported by unfixed concrete blocks and piles appearing poorly installed.

No support for this bearer
pile propped up by a rock and the bearer being supported out of level.
rotten joist is supported by a rotten bearer
telltale sign of rolling cladding caused by uneven settling of piles
Bearers supported by concrete blocks in this Dunedin Home

Below, blocks have been stacked end on end on a stone to support this failed bearer which appears to have been installed in a marginal/unacceptable state. The bearer needs properly repaired/replaced. In the second image a number of bearers appear to have been installed on an un-retained bank. Bearers need a solid connection to the ground. 

A poor choice for a pile

Below you may be able to see the telltale sign of rolling cladding caused by uneven settling of piles and in this building it includes pile failure. The cladding that protects the subfloor is in a poor state and is nonexistent in many places.

And uneven weight distribution in the home. This can occur when the home is substantially modified from its design. In all events the House Test building inspector will try to make a determination if any of these factors are an issue in the property.

bearers appear to have been installed on an un-retained bank

Ideally a good subfloor will be well insulated with a vapour barrier on the ground. Piles will be in excellent level condition and tied to bearers. Subfloor timbers will display minimal borer, be in good order, properly sized and will have an average moisture reading of 12 to 16%. Typically the best subfloors are protected laterally by lateral bracing of piles or a poured, reinforced concrete foundation wall. All subfloors need adequate ventilation to stay in a good, dry and healthy state.

House Inspection Professionals​​