To a certain extent, the soil beneath your feet is always in a constant state of flux. It'll shift, move or compact in accordance with the moisture content, the root network associated with mature trees or even seismic action. While this movement will usually be undetectable and will take place gradually, it can certainly affect the foundations of any building in the area. So if you suspect that something is wrong and that ground movements have caused damage to a building that you own, what should be your next course of action?
Investigate and Determine
Before any decisions can be made, the extent of the threat must be investigated. This will require input from experienced structural engineers or contractors who specialise in groundworks, who will have a look at the current movement and determine what has caused it. They will also look at the nature of the soil and may insert various probes or other instruments to take readings, but don't be surprised if this is a lengthy process, and it may take some months before all of the information becomes apparent.
Sometimes it is necessary to conduct emergency work, especially if the home is in danger of collapse due to the settlement. Normally, however, contractors will need to be brought in to underpin the existing foundations using one of several different methods.
Elements to Consider
Much will depend on the nature and size of the building and whether or not it is in close proximity to other properties. If so, some of those properties may be affected as well, and as an owner, you will need to discuss the situation with those neighbours. After all, you may need to come to an agreement before work can commence in terms of cost and liability. Either way, if the area is restricted, then the contractor may not be able to bring in heavyweight machinery and may need to use methods that are suitable for tight access.
Work in Progress
Usually, the work will proceed on a step-by-step basis, with individual excavations made at points along each load-bearing wall. The wall may need to be supported during the excavation but once all is ready, the hole will be filled with concrete and allowed to cure before they move on to the next area.
Each case is different, and much will depend on the extent of the problem, the likelihood of re-occurrence and the proximity of the building to other properties. Talk with your contractor so that the initial investigation can be launched and action can be taken to fix the issue.
Contact a company like Pro-Pin Professional Underpinning to learn more today.Share