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Subsidence Surveys and Underpinning

Do you have Settlement or Subsidence?


Settlement is where the sub-soil settles from the application of load on the sub-soil by the weight of the building and  normally occurs just after the building has been built.

Settlement is not  normally covered by insurance


Subsidence is where the supporting soil moves away from the structure taking away its support and allowing the structure to move

Subsidence is normally covered by insurance.

Most of South East England is covered by clay that undergoes shrinkage when it dries out and is the primary cause of subsidence in England.

When a building loses support in this way the structure can fracture allowing the unsupported section of the building to drop. This often results in tapered cracks extending up through the building accompanied by rotational movement.

Trees and Vegetation

Trees and vegetation can increase the normal seasonal changes in soil moisture content to a level that causes subsidence.

Normally the best course of action is to to remove the tree but this is sometimes not possible because of Tree Preservation Orders or where the actual removal of the tree may actually increase the risk of damage.


Other Causes of Subsidence

Subsidence can also be caused by the washing away of sub-soil by leaking drains or ground water flow, the softening of chalky soils caused by leaking drains and old mine workings.

These may or may not be covered by your insurance policy.


Underpinning is basically a method of taking the load imposed on the sub-soil down to a level where the seasonal moisture changes are so small that subdidence does not occur.

It commonly greatly concerns home owners because they have heard all kinds of horror stories about the cost and disruption.

In fact if it designed and carried out properly it need not be very costly or disruptive.

What should you do if you Suspect Subsidence?

If you have building insurance that covers Fire you will almost certainly have subsidence insurance as well.

If you contact your insurance company they will send out a Loss Adjuster - Who is not on your side

Loss Adjusters are appointed by the insurance companies to determine the extent of their liability. Insurers will tend to appoint loss adjusters who assess lower levels of claims settlement and so reduce the amount the insurance comapny has to pay out.

So there is a large incentive for loss adjusters to minimise the scope of the repairs because in that way they will get more commissions from the insurers.

Most insurance policies include for the fees of an Engineer to identify the Scope of the Work required and oversee the Works - but this may not include payment of fees to argue with the Loss Adjuster on your behalf.


Insurance Company Rejection of Claim

And what if your Insurance Company Rejects the Claim or says that it will look at the problem again after several years of crack width measurement and you want to sell the house now?

The best way forward in this instance may be to undertake some very limited underpinning and pay for it yourself - Pentacon can help you in these circumstance


Contact Pentacon

So if you suspect that you have subsidence - or the Insurance Company has rejected your claim - give me a call and email me a copy your House Insurance Policy, photos of the cracks and any other relevant information.

I will provide free advice in an Email on how to deal with your Problem.

Just text or call me n 07557 966 459.

I look forward to hearing from You



Best Regards


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