If you suspect that your home has subsidence, which refers to the gradual sinking or settling of the ground beneath a building, it’s important to take appropriate steps to address the issue. There is a difference between ‘subsidence’ in an engineering sense and other causes of loss that result in structural movement, for example, a leaking mains-water pipe. Moreover, most insurance policies incorporate several exclusions that Insurers can apply to avoid a claim.
Nevertheless here is a brief guide what you should do if you suspect subsidence or movement-related damage in your home:
1. Look for Warning Signs:
– Inspect your home for common signs of subsidence, which may include:
– Cracks in walls, ceilings, or floors that are wider than 3mm and are wider at the top than at the bottom.
– Doors or windows sticking or becoming difficult to open or close.
– Uneven or sloping floors.
– Cracked or leaning chimneys.
– Diagonal cracks at corners of windows or doors.
– Cracks appearing suddenly, especially after a period of dry weather.
2. Document and Monitor the Signs:
– Take photographs or videos of the suspected subsidence-related signs, documenting their size, location, and any relevant details. This documentation will be useful for assessment and insurance purposes.
– Monitor the signs over time to observe any progression or changes.
3. Contact OMC Claims or Your Insurance Broker:
– Engage with our professional and expert claims assessors. Following a preliminary assessment and the advice of a Consulting Engineer, we will notify your insurance company as soon as possible about the suspected subsidence issue.
4. Consult a Structural Engineer:
– We will advise you as to which suitably qualified structural engineer who specialises in subsidence-related issues is best-placed to investigate the cause of the damage, prove the cause of loss and design an engineering solution to remedy the problem.
– The structural engineer will assess the situation, conduct a thorough investigation, and determine the cause and extent of the subsidence.
– They may use various techniques such as visual inspection, monitoring, and soil analysis to assess the situation accurately.
5. Obtain Professional Advice and Recommendations:
– Based on the structural engineer’s assessment, they will provide you with expert advice and recommendations on how to address the subsidence issue.
6. Follow Professional Guidance:
– Follow the recommendations provided by the structural engineer or any other professionals involved in assessing and addressing the subsidence.
– This may involve implementing repair or mitigation measures, such as underpinning, drainage works, or foundation repairs, as deemed necessary.
8. Regular Monitoring:
– Continue to monitor any signs of subsidence and changes in the structure after implementing the recommended measures.
– Maintain open communication with professionals involved and report any concerns or new developments promptly.
It’s important to address subsidence issues promptly to prevent further damage to your home. Working with qualified professionals, such as structural engineers and your insurance provider, OMC Claims will help ensure proper assessment and effective remediation of the problem.