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Subsidence: why you should always book a Building Survey

This wonderful house you’ve just bought was partly based on the beautiful ambiance provided by the surrounding oak trees. You’ve become a little worried though, because you’ve recently spotted a little crack in the rear wall – is that just settlement or, please let’s hope not, a sign of subsidence?

What causes subsidence?

Tree roots are the main culprit and Which? has estimated that they are the root of the problem in 70% of cases. When they are combined with shallow foundations, clay subsoil and dry weather, you can have a toxic combination.

A crack doesn’t always mean there is subsidence and could just be settlement in the property. However the clear advice is, if you’re thinking of buying a property and you view a crack, you should get a RICS Building Survey to establish whether your surveyor suspects this to be subsidence or simply a little bit of movement.

Can the problem be fixed?

The good news is that subsidence can generally be fixed and only around 10% of subsidence affected properties require underpinning. The cost of underpinning ranges between £5,000 and £80,000 depending on the condition.

There are alternatives to underpinning such as Jet Grouting; this fills void areas or can even inject chemical to turn the soil into solid aggregate. There are also supportive systems using piers, piles and jacks but all of this will depend on the properties location and the severity of the subsidence.

Albright Surveyors

Albright Surveyors are experts at providing Building Surveys, HomeBuyer Reports, Valuations and Expert Witness Statements. They also carry out Insurance Reinstatement and Planned Maintenance contracts and their work encompasses both the commercial and residential sectors. They cover most parts of London up to the Kent and Essex borders and along the M4, M3, A3 corridor. Their head office is in Cobham and they also have offices in Mayfair and Putney.

Albright Surveyors are RICS regulated and consist of a number of chartered RICS surveyors and consultants. Team members have years of expertise in their particular fields and are able to advise you on issues such as building defects, subsidence, lease and party wall matters, and offer the highest standard of professionalism in all property matters.

A member of the team would, for example, be one of the quickest to advise you, following a Building Survey, on whether or not you have subsidence or any other problem and, if you have, would recommend an experienced structural engineer to progress the matter.

Albright Surveyors have surveyed 1000s of properties and have extensive knowledge of all types of houses and flats throughout London and the surrounding area.

Additionally, they provide analysis and advice on general building repairs and maintenance, supervise work on site, obtain tenders and can give a comprehensive defect analysis, among other things.

Unlike many of their competitors, they provide detailed feedback post the survey to ensure that you have the support you need when getting a survey. The news isn’t always guaranteed to be good, but excellent support of our surveyors is.

Andrew Boast
SAM Conveyancing