The mention of London Clay can cause home buyers’ stomachs to sink. It’s the main culprit behind subsidence, which is something any surveyor should be checking for when they survey a property.

The problem:

Subsidence that causes cracking and structural damage.

Why it’s a problem:

Subsidence occurs when the ground beneath your home starts to sink, causing the property to move on its foundations. This can cause cracking and other structural damage. The three main causes of subsidence are the underlying soil, the age of the house, and the proximity of trees or shrubs.

Properties built on clay soils are vulnerable to subsidence because the soils are more likely to shrink when they are dry. Many London properties are built on London Clay, which is notorious for shrinking as it dries out. In addition, London houses built before 1965 tend to have shallow foundations and so are more prone to being affected by subsidence.

Trees planted close to properties suck moisture from the soil, especially during long spells of dry weather causing the soil to dry out which can affect the property. In contrast to this, if water continually escapes from a damaged drain or water pipe it can soften or wash away the soil beneath the foundations of a home which will also cause subsidence.

Although, the Association of British Insurers recommend that you contact your buildings insurer as soon as you think there may be a problem, Roy Ilott, spokesman for the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors disagrees and states”…If you are not sure about the cracks, it is best, in the first instance, to get hold of a building surveyor, who can give you some independent advice… In my experience, insurers are only going to remedy damage that has already been caused, and are not interested in carrying out preventive work.”*

What we recommend:

If you’re thinking of buying a home in London that was built before 1965, definitely get a surveyor to assess for subsidence. If you already own a London property, make sure subsidence doesn’t become a problem by checking drains and pipes regularly to ensure there are no blockages or leaks. Plant new trees a good distance from the property and prune them occasionally to reduce the amount of water they take up. If you suspect there’s a problem, contact your buildings insurer and an independent building surveyor.


If you need a Homebuyer or Buildings Survey, contact us

0207 737 7243


*From an article on the Independent.co.uk Friday 12 June 2015

 
From the Blog / View All
  • Rebuild Cost Assessment

    Rebuild Cost Assessment

    Rebuild Cost Assessment or Rebuild Insurance Valuation Whichever description is familiar to you, are you clear exactly what figure you should be insured for and the potential pitfalls of not reviewing this on a regular basis? In simply terms we should insure our property for how much it would cost to replace the building should […]

  • Airbnb

    Airbnb

    Over 80,000 UK property owners earn income from renting their property out via online sites such as Airbnb. Whilst this is common place and growing in popularity due to the tax relief given to individuals, there are a number of pitfalls to be aware of. Did you know: * In London you are not allowed […]

  • Houses made of money

    Buy to Let Funding Goes Through Dramatic Changes

    From April 2017 small buy-to-let investors will see gradual yet profound changes to the tax system, designed to increase HMRC revenue.

  • brexit blue european union eu flag on broken wall and half great britain flag, vote for united kingdom exit concept

    Brexit and the Property Market – Buy, Sell or Do Nothing?

    According to the media a flurry of people have pulled out of London house purchases because of Brexit fears. Are their concerns justified, or are people reacting to soon to a situation whose ramifications cannot actually be predicted?

  • Buy To Let Tax Changes For 2016 – What You Need To Know

    The rules on buy to let tax are changing from 1st April 2016. Here’s everything you need to know about the new buy to let tax and how it affects you as a landlord.

The mention of London Clay can cause home buyers’ stomachs to sink. It’s the main culprit behind subsidence, which is something any surveyor should be checking for when they survey a property.

The problem:

Subsidence that causes cracking and structural damage.

Why it’s a problem:

Subsidence occurs when the ground beneath your home starts to sink, causing the property to move on its foundations. This can cause cracking and other structural damage. The three main causes of subsidence are the underlying soil, the age of the house, and the proximity of trees or shrubs.

Properties built on clay soils are vulnerable to subsidence because the soils are more likely to shrink when they are dry. Many London properties are built on London Clay, which is notorious for shrinking as it dries out. In addition, London houses built before 1965 tend to have shallow foundations and so are more prone to being affected by subsidence.

Trees planted close to properties suck moisture from the soil, especially during long spells of dry weather causing the soil to dry out which can affect the property. In contrast to this, if water continually escapes from a damaged drain or water pipe it can soften or wash away the soil beneath the foundations of a home which will also cause subsidence.

Although, the Association of British Insurers recommend that you contact your buildings insurer as soon as you think there may be a problem, Roy Ilott, spokesman for the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors disagrees and states”…If you are not sure about the cracks, it is best, in the first instance, to get hold of a building surveyor, who can give you some independent advice… In my experience, insurers are only going to remedy damage that has already been caused, and are not interested in carrying out preventive work.”*

What we recommend:

If you’re thinking of buying a home in London that was built before 1965, definitely get a surveyor to assess for subsidence. If you already own a London property, make sure subsidence doesn’t become a problem by checking drains and pipes regularly to ensure there are no blockages or leaks. Plant new trees a good distance from the property and prune them occasionally to reduce the amount of water they take up. If you suspect there’s a problem, contact your buildings insurer and an independent building surveyor.


If you need a Homebuyer or Buildings Survey, contact us

0207 737 7243


*From an article on the Independent.co.uk Friday 12 June 2015

 

What was especially appreciated was that …Grant Barnes was more than happy to spend a long phone call going over some of the points in more detail. [The] quote was also one of the cheapest! 

Peter, London

I asked Grant for a survey to be done at very short notice and he provided a very quick and detailed service.

Natasha, London

Grant Barnes provided a very competitively priced building survey for us in London SE5. We appreciated the fact that his report was clear, tailored and informative. 

Anon, London