Subsidence Investigations

Subsidence is the downward movement of the ground caused by an external influence. It is a problem for many properties as changes in ground conditions cause walls to drop, cracks to develop, and in the worst cases the property can become entirely unstable and unsafe for use.

What causes subsidence?

Did you know?
75% of subsidence claims are due to soil shrinkage, whereby the soil (often clay) swells with water and then shrinks when dry. This causes properties built on the soil to move, which leads to cracking and subsidence.
Subsidence can also be attributed to tree roots growing around and under foundations, which not only causes soil to swell/shrink, but also can directly push against foundations.
Leaking drains and pipes can cause subsidence because the water causes the soil to swell and, as before, shrink back.
Whatever the cause of your subsidence, it is a problem that needs to be addressed and remedied in order to prevent further cracking and movement and, in the worst case scenario, irreparable damage to your property.

Our subsidence investigations…

An investigation into subsidence can reveal a number of causes, and often we find that it is a combination of the type of soil, the property’s foundations, and whether there are any trees within influencing distance which causes subsidence.

As a result of soil softening, leaking pipes, etc., mentioned above, cracks start to develop, like on the property in the photographs below – the large tree in the left photo was within influencing distance and the subsequent subsidence mechanism acting on the property caused large cracks to occur, like in the photo on the right. This particular instance has resulted in a claim on our client’s insurance, and we are currently working with the loss adjuster to put together a schedule of works for remedial repairs, following which we will act as Contract Administrators to rectify the problems.

Insurance claims for subsidence

We undertake subsidence investigations for private individuals, businesses, insurance companies and Loss Adjusters and can diagnose and remedy subsidence through remedial repairs to the cause of the subsidence, monitoring and underpinning if necessary.

We organise and attend trial pits excavations, soil investigations, auger boreholes, opening up works, etc, to determine the cause of subsidence. Our detailed reports can often lead to your insurers meeting the costs of subsidence claims, saving you many thousands of pounds in repair costs.

Often, it is useful to carry out level monitoring on a property to see how it changes over the months, particularly over a growing season if tree roots are thought to be an influencing factor. Once repairs have been undertaken – whether it is underpinning, tree management/removal, or repairing leaking drains – monitoring for a few more months can show the property is recovering. We can then issue a Certificate of Structural Adequacy, which shows the remedial works have been successful.

level monitoring is involved in subsidence investigations
We analyse the information received from level monitoring companies such as Subsidence Monitoring to determine whether a subsidence mechanism is present.

Cracks aren’t always caused by subsidence, but if you are concerned your property may be suffering from subsidence, contact us to arrange an investigation and report: call 01903 217723 or email mail@pgoacher.co.uk

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