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Subsidence… I did not know that

23rd April 2014

ETSOS are delighted to announce the addition of Property Assure’s property specific subsidence surveys to the ordering portal. The reports, in collaboration with Landmark, are designed to fully investigate the level of subsidence risk to the property, including detailed data on arboricultural and drainage subsidence risk and recommended remedial actions and estimated costs.

Did you know that on average, the same number properties are affected by subsidence as are affected by flood each year?


What if we told you in the last 10 years, subsidence has cost the economy £3bn, or that 1 in 5 homes in the UK (approximately 6.5 million properties) are at risk of being affected by subsidence.

While floods take the headlines, homebuyers run the risk of expensive repair bills to properties where subsidence has occurred. By far the largest cause of subsidence in the UK is soil shrinkage, accounting for over 75% of subsidence claims. Soils such as clay and silt vary in their ability to change their volume when wetted or dried (known as volumetric change), therefore when wet they will expand and when dry they will shrink; so it doesn’t matter whether it rains or shines, it’s still worth investigating!

So what can you do to ensure your client mitigates their risk? ETSOS’s handy “Hazard Checker” highlights if a property is in an area at risk of subsidence. Where a risk is identified, Landmark’s “Subsidence Risk Certificate” report will detail the level of risk. Where a “Very High” or “High” risk is shown, Property Assure’s range of property surveys provide homebuyers with the information they need to make an informed decision.

Andy Lucas of Property Assure is clear on the benefits: “Homebuyers need to be vigilant to subsidence risk as the cost of repair can run into the tens of thousands of pounds, but more importantly it can impact on the future sale of the property and the ability to obtain standard home insurance. If conveyancers are to truly act in the best interest of their clients, every angle and line of enquiry needs to be covered.

ETSOS’s “Hazard Checker” is great way to ensure the required level of diligence is undertaken. Where a “Very High” or “High” risk of subsidence is identified, Property Assure step in, whether it is ensuring the property is suitable for lending against, or better equipping homebuyers to deal with insurance, we provide a cost effective solution.”


Property Assure’s Range of Subsidence Risk Property Specific Surveys available through ETSOS:

The Subsidence Risk Survey is a property specific assessment report that identifies and reviews the key triggers of subsidence and provides recommended actions and estimated costs. The service includes:

  • Data collection and extensive video relating to the site, property, trees and vegetation
  • The information is collated and reviewed by an industry leading drainage and ground investigation company
  • Tree and vegetation data is reviewed by a qualified Arboriculturist
  • Property data and outputs compiled by qualified Building Surveyor
  • Site plan illustrating the footprint of the property, the location of vegetation and visible manholes
  • An overall risk rating and recommended remedial actions and estimated costs

Subsidence Risk Specific Defect Survey

  • This survey is undertaken by a Chartered Surveyor and is required where the valuation report has identified cracking on the property, the property shows signs of historically suffering from foundation movement or if the property has been previously repaired/underpinned as a result of subsidence.

Subsidence Risk Arboricultural Survey

  • This survey reviews all trees and other vegetation on the property site and should be used when there are numerous trees close to the property (i.e on neighbour’s land).

Subsidence Risk Drainage Survey

  • This service reviews the drainage system on the property site. This service is particularly relevant where the property has glazed clayware drainage pipes.


The client and experts view...

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