Subsidence Explained

By Rohab Brar

Subsidence can be a major concern for owners of a property, whether that’s residential or commercial.

Subsidence causes significant damage if left unmonitored and unrepaired. It affects the safety and cost of your property. Banrach Consulting Engineers have compiled the following advice revolving around subsidence.

What Is Subsidence?

The term subsidence, as defined in the Cambridge English Dictionary, is “the process by which land or buildings sink to a lower level”.

The above definition explains what happens to buildings when subsidence occurs. Subsidence involves the unforeseen movement of the ground below.

In cases of subsidence with buildings, the foundations of a house, for example, become damaged as the earth beneath shifts.

The soil is unstable, leading to support structures, walls and foundations shifting downwards. Subsidence can affect any commercial or residential property across Ireland.

Causes of Subsidence

There can be many reasons for subsidence. One such cause is that the design of the building was flawed from the start. An incorrect design will eventually generate problems down the line.

Another cause could be the movement of excess water through the soil, leading to its erosion and breaking down. Subsidence in this way can be caused by leaking drains or water mains. The water affects the ground by softening the soil and its capacity to support the structure above.

Trees and vegetation are a third factor. The roots of a tree or other various forms of vegetation absorb existing water and moisture within the soil around your property. Sometimes a large amount of moisture is absorbed which can lead to soil shrinkage, thus, subsidence occurs.

Signs of Subsidence

Over time the effects of subsidence on a property is not only damaging to your home but expensive to put right. By understanding what to look out for you could save yourself a lot of money in the future.

Cracks in a home are a key sign of subsidence. Watch out for the following features:

  • New cracks more than 3mm wide appearing in the walls or ceilings of your home
  • Diagonal cracks that are wider at the top than the bottom
  • Cracks that are visible internally or externally and appear at weak points like doors and windows

Additional signs of subsidence include:

  • Rippling wallpaper
  • Sticking doors and windows

The Role of Subsidence Engineers

The role of subsidence engineers involves the assessment of the area and ground around your residential or commercial property. If you suspect your property is at risk of subsidence then you need to act.

Subsidence engineers at Banrach Consulting Engineers will respond effectively to your concerns so you won’t be waiting for long. The types of jobs our subsidence engineers do are:

  • Assess the area for damages
  • Determine the root causes of subsidence
  • Recommend an action plan to tackle subsidence
  • Design and implement a solution to your subsidence issue
  • Monitor your property to ensure everything is working in order

For reliable advice from our subsidence engineers phone us on 01 969 6373 or fill out our contact form.