Drought brings fears of increased risk of subsidence

Is your clients’ property at risk from subsidence?

On Monday 20 February, the Environment Secretary announced that the south-east of England has officially moved into drought status.

With the lack of rainfall predicted to continue and areas of drought set to increase this situation can also lead to an increased risk of subsidence, which can have a detrimental effect on your property warns Property Assure, the property information and helpline service provider.

‘‘Many home buyers do not realise that subsidence represents the same threat as flooding in the UK, and that the largest cause of subsidence in the UK by far is that caused by soil shrinkage” says Andy Lucas, Managing Director of Property Assure. “We are already seeing the onset of cracking in some buildings founded on clay soils and worryingly this exceptional situation is taking place before the onset of the recognised growing season for trees and vegetation. Certain species of vegetation draw significant amounts of water from the surrounding soil and where planted too close to a building, the moisture content in the underlying clay soils can be significantly reduced causing differential downward movement of the foundation, with resultant cracking to walls / ceilings etc.”

PSG introduced the “Subsidence Risk Certificate” and report as part of its complete range of due diligence products to its clients at the beginning of the year. Andrea Glover, Managing Director added “We felt the Subsidence Risk Certificate complimented our Mining and Ground Stability reports in providing a purchaser with a complete picture of what could be going on underneath and around their proposed new home so they are fully informed when making what is often the biggest purchase of their lives. We believe that over time this report will form part of the standard searches requested by a solicitor or conveyancer in every transaction.”


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