Consequences of structural settlement

Why does it matter if a property is suffering from subsidence

Subsidence refers to the gradual sinking or settling of the ground, which can have various implications for residential properties. In the UK, subsidence is a concern for homeowners, and its implications can include:

  • Structural Damage: Subsidence can lead to structural damage in buildings. As the ground sinks or settles unevenly, it can cause cracks in the walls, ceilings, and floors of a property. These cracks may start small but can widen over time, potentially compromising the structural integrity of the building.
  • Property Value: The presence of subsidence can affect the value of a property. Prospective buyers may be hesitant to invest in a property with a history of subsidence, even if the issue has been resolved. This can make it more challenging to sell the property or may result in a lower sale price.
  • Insurance Premiums: Homeowners insurance premiums may increase if a property has a history of subsidence. Insurance companies may view the property as a higher risk, and homeowners may be required to pay higher premiums to ensure coverage against potential future subsidence-related damage.
  • Difficulty in Obtaining Insurance: Some insurance companies may be reluctant to provide coverage for properties with a history of subsidence. Homeowners may need to shop around for insurance providers willing to cover their property, and they may face higher premiums and excesses.
  • Mitigation Costs: Homeowners may need to invest in mitigation measures to address subsidence issues. This can include underpinning the foundation, installing ground stabilization systems, or addressing drainage problems. The costs associated with these measures can be significant and may not always be covered entirely by insurance.
  • Landscaping Challenges: Subsidence can impact the landscaping of a property. Uneven settling of the ground may lead to changes in the slope of the land, affecting gardens, driveways, and other outdoor spaces.
  • Disruption to Daily Life: Addressing subsidence issues often involves construction work and repairs. This can be disruptive to homeowners, requiring them to temporarily vacate the property or endure noise and inconvenience during the repair process.
  • It's important for homeowners to be vigilant for signs of subsidence, such as new or widening cracks, sticking doors or windows, and uneven floors. If such signs are observed, it's advisable to seek professional advice promptly to assess the extent of the issue and determine the appropriate course of action. Consulting with a structural engineer or building surveyor can help in understanding the specific implications for a particular property.