Below every building, be it your home, office block or carpark, are foundations. Foundations, as the name suggests, are crucial to maintaining the structural integrity of a building, keeping it sturdy and preventing movement or collapse.
However, over time, degradation can occur in the foundations, causing the building to slip or sink away into the earth below. This is known as subsidence.
Here are the 3 most common causes of subsidence, explained by Below Ground.
Here in the UK, clay soil is an extremely common ground type. As clay contains a large amount of moisture, locked away in it from rivers and streams, it expands and contracts when exposed to changing temperatures.
This change in volume and density that occurs as a result of moisture change can lead to drastic shifts in the earth below buildings, leading to parts lowering or sinking into the ground.
In areas of Britain characterised by rocky ground and rougher geology, subsidence is also common. Subsurface shifts can be naturally occurring or a result of man-made interference such as old mine shafts.
The movement of rocks and cavities below the ground can have a knock-on effect, impacting homes and their foundations on the surface.
As is a common issue in construction and planning, tree roots can wreak havoc with building foundations and piles. During dryer months, they reach out in search of water. This water is often locked away in the ground’s soil or clay. When the trees take water stored in the clay, it leads to the shrinkage mentioned above.
Additionally, if strong enough, tree roots can also directly affect the foundations or pile of a property or home. If the original foundations were improperly built, or have weakened over time, roots can cause major interferences.
If you think your building or property could be at risk of subsidence, it may need foundation repairs or strengthening. Fortunately, here at Below Ground, we are experts in sub-surface repairs such as underpinning and screw piling.