What is subsidence and what causes it?
During 2019 at Martin Redston Associates we have received a large number of enquiries related to cracking in buildings, particularly those in areas built on London clay. Many of the people contacting us have been concerned that they have subsidence and want to use our services to confirm this. They also want us to identify what repairs need to take place and in some cases clients are considering insurance claims and require our advice on how to do this.
Subsidence is essentially progressive movement in a building. The reason for this will usually relate to a lack of moisture in the ground. The long, hot summers of the last few years have certainly increased the number of phone calls that we have received. Moisture might be being extracted as a result of the type of vegetation planted around the property, which can have a serious impact on ground conditions. Some trees and plants will suck up moisture from the ground, drying it out so that it will move and crack. This leads to the buildings above to distort and crack.
What are the signs to look for?
Do you have cracks in your building? Do doors no longer shut properly? Is the render or plaster falling off your building? All or any of these could suggest that you have some form of structural movement or subsidence.
If you have any of these symptoms and want reassurance then we would suggest getting in touch with a Chartered Structural Engineer such as those at Martin Redston Associates.
What will a Structural Engineer do?
Following contact with Martin Redston Associates we will send one of our expert engineers to visit the property and make a visual inspection of cracks and distortions throughout the building. A report will then be produced with expert advice on what the cause of the problem is (be it cosmetic or possibly something more serious) along with recommendations for the next steps to take. In some cases we might recommend further investigative works to be completed such as trial pits or a soil investigation. We can arrange for specialist companies to implement these investigations on your behalf and administer any works.
I have subsidence, what now?
Once our investigations are complete and it is clear that subsidence does exist then Martin Redston Associates will work together with you to find a remedy for the problem. This might involve liaising with your insurance company and their loss adjusters in order to administer any contractor rectification works and future monitoring of the building.
At Martin Redston Associates we will work with you and aim to sort out any issues so that the future of your property, for both yourselves and any future purchaser, is secure.
Please do get in touch so we can assist in resolving your concerns.