Two Situations in Which You Should Demolish Rather Than Restore a Building That Has Subsidence

Posted on: 29 April 2019

If a building that you own has subsidence and you are in one of the situations described below, you should consider getting the property demolished by a demolition contractor rather than attempting to restore it.

The house has sustained extensive damp damage as a result of deep cracks in the foundation

If a building's foundation has been badly damaged as a result of the movement caused by subsidence, then it is very likely that this damage will have created many other serious problems that could be difficult and incredibly expensive to fix.

For example, if the foundation of your building has deep cracks, it is very likely that moisture from the soil below the foundation will have seeped up through these cracks (as a result of capillary action), reached the walls and upper floors of the property and in doing so, made the entire building extremely damp.

If this damp has caused issues like wet rot in many parts of the wooden framework, then the structural integrity of the building's roof, floors and ceilings will be compromised. Furthermore, this damp is likely to have rendered the insulation materials inside the wall cavities ineffective and ruined the wall plaster, as well as any paint or wallpaper that covers it.

In this situation, where the entire building has been severely damaged by the dampness that has flourished as a result of the cracks in the foundation, it would probably be best, from a financial perspective, to have the building demolished by a contractor, as attempting to fix this type of extensive damage could cost more than the house is worth.

There are multiple trees on a nearby neighbour's properties

If there are several trees on a nearby neighbour's property and your building already has a serious subsidence problem, then it may be wiser to have a contractor demolish this structure instead of trying to repair it by underpinning the foundation.

The reason for this is that even if you pay to have the foundation underpinned, it could still shift and sustain damage again in the future as a result of the aforementioned trees. This is because the roots of your neighbour's trees will carry on drawing water out of the soil for the foreseeable future, which will then lead to the soil below your underpinned foundation contracting.

The shrinking of the soil may eventually cause the supportive structures that were put in place during the underpinning process to shift and the foundation to then cave in again, in which case you may need to have this part of your building underpinned a second time and incur the cost of repairing any structural issues that arose as a result of this problem with the foundation.

If the trees were on your property, you could prevent this from happening by cutting them down. However, as the trees belong to your neighbours, you have no legal right to remove them. Given this, getting the building demolished might be the best option.