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Subsidence Investigation

Subsidence Investigation

Atkinson Peck: Site Investigation

Subsidence Investigation

When a property subsides it can cause significant cracking and damage to your property, however this is generally covered by your Buildings Insurance. Cracking in properties can however be caused by a range of issues not traditionally covered by buildings insurance, including normal wear and tear, faulty construction or use of materials, foundation settlement after construction, thermal expansion and contraction of materials, lintel failure, chemical attack, roof spread or cavity wall tie failure. Having provided advice to both Insurers and householders, over many years, Atkinson Peck have considerable experience assessing if damage to your property is characteristic of subsidence or otherwise.

All clays are susceptible to some shrinkage and swelling due to changes in moisture content. All new properties are designed to accommodate potential clay shrinkage (subsidence) or swelling (heave), however older properties constructed before these regulations were in place can be more readily affected.

Building ‘subsidence’ is often caused by the presence of trees whose water uptake during the summer months is too great to be replenished during the winter months, the problem being exacerbated during periods of prolonged dry weather. Conversely ‘heave’ can occur where the expansion of soil during the winter months outweighs shrinkage during the dry season, commonly caused by the recent removal of a tree.

If you suspect that your property is suffering from subsidence, Atkinson Peck will be pleased to carry out an ‘Initial Appraisal’. This will normally entail an above ground visual inspection of the property to note down any structural cracks or distortions. Once an initial diagnosis is made further investigations can be implemented to confirm the diagnosis and specify the remedial action required. This will often include:-

  • Trial-hole investigations to determine the depth and extent of the existing foundations, and the classification/strength of the supporting bearing stratum.
  • Drainage investigations (if a damaged or leaking drain is suspected).
  • Tree root analysis.
  • Testing of the clay stratum to determine its volume change potential.
  • Carrying out a monitoring operation to determine if the movement is progressive.

Should remedial works to the buildings superstructure or underpinning of the buildings foundations be required Atkinson Peck regularly provide the following service and would be pleased to provide a quotation upon request:-

  • Preparation of remedial work schemes
  • Preparation of schedule of works/specifications/tender documentation.
  • Invitation of tenders from experienced builders.
  • Obtaining approvals for Building Regulations etc.
  • Supervision and administration of remedial works contracts.
  • Certification of completion of remedial works and contractors accounts.