In towns and cities around the country, many homes are built on top of clay soil. Due to its prevalence, such development is unavoidable, and the nature of the soil is typically taken into account by builders and engineers. Yet there is no doubt that clay soil can cause some challenges, especially when it is affected by wet or dry weather. This can lead to subsidence, which can affect any structure in that area. But what happens if you want to buy a new home in such a location and are worried about potential subsidence? How can you carry out the appropriate checks, and most importantly, how should issues be rectified?
Causes Of Subsidence
Subsidence takes place when the ground beneath the home sinks, which can cause the foundations to shift. As clay soil has a significant water content, it can certainly be affected by those wet or dry spells and subsidence in these areas is not unexpected.
Further, issues can be caused by mature trees, which have a significant root network. These trees will always be on the lookout for moisture, which can change the soil's nature as the roots expand or contract.
The Good News
By itself, subsidence is not a dealbreaker. Steps can be taken to rectify and improve the situation, and many houses on the market today are perfectly safe to live in, even though they are subject to such modifications.
Conduct A Survey
You will need to bring in an independent building surveyor before you purchase any property in this area. It's especially important if you notice any cracks within the property, especially on windows or doors or that appear to extend below the damp-proof level.
Fix The Foundation
If the existing foundation has been compromised by shifting soil, contractors may be able to add a concrete mix, which will be pumped into the soil in the affected area. They may also be able to add or modify existing "stumps," which typically sit below the foundational slab and provide additional stability.
Take The Next Step
So, do not write off any home because you suspect subsidence. Instead, bring in a building surveyor who will carry out the necessary inspections and advise you of the next course of action. For example, you may need to discuss the selling price and seek an adjustment based on the type of work necessary to bring everything back to balance.