Subsidence: How To Spot & Treat It

How do you fix subsidence? The works you'll need will very much depend on the causes and severity of the problem.

Treating Subsidence

How Can Subsidence Be Fixed?

It depends on the severity of the problem and the cause. For example, if subsidence is caused by tree roots, simply removing the roots (and the tree so that the roots do not regrow) may solve the problem. If a leaking pipe has caused the soil to wash away, fixing the leak should stabilise the foundations and no further damage will occur. Occasionally, and as a last resort, a building's foundations may require underpinning. The process is lengthy and expensive and is usually the last step to be taken. Homeowners would have to leave the home while underpinning takes place.

How Long Will It Take To Fix Subsidence?

The process is rarely a quick one because the monitoring of the problem - the widening or shrinking of cracks - may take several months or more. The insurer may wish to try several alternatives before underpinning, if it's required, as a last resort. If your property does have subsidence, expect a year to two years of monitoring and work before you get the all clear.

How Much Will It Cost?

Underpinning costs can run to several thousand pounds. If you have buildings' insurance, the costs of work, including labour, as well as the cost of alternative accommodation, will usually be covered. Most buildings' insurance policies will have an excess (the amount you have to pay) of commonly £1,000. Other works, such as the felling of a tree and the removal of the roots (if removal is considered to be the best option), will be considerably cheaper. Again, an excess would apply, providing you have buildings' insurance.

Who Will Process The Claim?

If you have buildings' insurance, the chartered surveyor, or the structural engineer, will liaise with the insurer and complete much of the required documentation. In most cases they will also project manage the repair, commissioning the jobs to be undertaken and overseeing the work.

For More Help

Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors

Federation of Master Builders

Craddy Pitchers Davidson

BRE

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