What to do if you suspect subsidence


Subsidence occurs when the ground beneath a property moves or sinks. This movement means the property is no longer supported in the same way so can reposition and move as it adjusts. The first visible effects of subsidence are often new or expanding cracks in plaster work and outside brickwork and it’s important to get a professional diagnosis sooner rather than later in order for the subsidence to be officially diagnosed and rectified.

Here we look at some common signs of subsidence but for more information you can read out 4 common causes of subsidence article here.

Common signs of subsidence

  • Diagonal cracking concentrated in specific areas, usually wider at the top and thinner towards the bottom of the crack. They can appear suddenly in plaster work and externally in brickwork or render.
  • Cracks appearing at weak points of the structure such as windows, doors and joints with extensions. In this instance windows and doors may become difficult to open due to distortion.
  • Cracks may extend through the damp proof course towards the foundations of the property.
  • Ripping wallpaper not caused by damp

What to do if you suspect subsidence?

Instruct a Chartered Building Surveyor to inspect the property as soon as possible advising them of your concerns. They will conduct a thorough inspection of the building as a whole and the particular areas of concern before confirming if subsidence exists and advising of any remedial actions that need to be taken.

You should also contact your insurance provider as you may be covered for the costs of the diagnosis and remedial works as part of your cover.

| TIP:  “If you are in the process of purchasing a property and suspect subsidence, then a pre-purchase building survey will identify if subsidence is a problem. The report will also highlight any other structural issues along with advice on remedial works required and their expected costs. You can use this information to make an informed decision on the purchase of the property and maybe reflect the cost of the work required in your offer on the property.”


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