Why You Need to Bring in Experts to Look for Subsidence Before You Buy a Home


If you are thinking of buying a new house, you want to be sure of what you're doing. While you will need someone to do paperwork research to ensure that the title is clean and also want to know if any third parties have legal access to the property, you'll certainly want to know if there are any hidden structural issues. Why should you pay particular attention to subsidence, and if it is found, could this be a game stopper?

Dealing with Subsidence

Subsidence is not unusual. After all, to a certain extent, every property tends to settle as it ages. Yet certain conditions can lead to more significant subsidence issues, and you need to be aware of those as you continue your research.

Soil Nature

To begin with, it pays to understand the nature of the soil in that area. If the house is built on mostly clay soil, this will naturally contain quite a lot of water and be vulnerable to changes in weather conditions.

Foraging Tree Roots

You should also take a closer look at any mature trees close to the structure. These trees can send out roots looking for moisture, which may well extend underneath your property. As the roots grow, they can cause changes to the condition of the soil and suck any moisture out for their own use. This could cause the soil's very nature to change, leading to subsidence.

Underground Drainage Issues

When you buy any property, you need to address its plumbing and if you suspect there may have been any issues there, take a closer look. If you have any leaking pipes beneath the slab or other problems with sewage outlets, this could wash away some of the finer particles you would ordinarily expect to find in the soil beneath the home. As this happens, the soil may not be able to support the house as it once did, and the foundations may subside.

Deciding Whether to Proceed

Subsidence by itself is not necessarily a reason to walk away. After all, you could bring in contractors to underpin the foundation with special piles or mass concrete. Yet if you do need to perform this work, you certainly need to discuss this with the seller and see whether you need to make any alterations to the purchase price or conditions.

Bringing in a Surveyor

Before you go any further, enlist the services of an experienced building surveyor. They'll know what to look for and can let you know whether you have a subsidence problem or not. 

Contact a local building surveyor for more information. 


5 July 2022

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