Subsidence - What to do ?

4 Apr 2016
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United Kingdom

Would appreciate some advice on what to do next...

We live in a semi-detached house, which about 30 years ago had subsidence. The insurance company wouldn't pay (I can even remember the reason why) and in the end we paid to have the house underpinned ourselves. The cause of it was leaking drains, they were all replaced too.

In the last few years, I have notice more and more slight cracks , they have become bigger and more numerous.

Ceilings, walls, both external wall and the party wall. The cracks are never more than about 3mm wide, though in one room, the are from top of the wall to the bottom. Now I have noticed cracks in rooms where they were none previously. However the cracks all seem to be inside, nothing on the outside as far as I can tell. There is definitely some movement as one of the internal doors is too tight to close.

I think we have had continuous insurance cover since we bought the house, I would need to check. However, seeing that they never paid out the first time and we got the underpinning done ourselves, I think they would deny any claim again.

I'm very wary of contacting the insurance company, even if we are covered - even speaking to them about it can put a 'black mark' against the house.

Question is, what should I do next ? I understand that the main causes of subsidence are drains or trees. There are no trees in the vicinity.

Getting a CCTV and clean of the drains will only cost about £200 and that should tell me if drains are an issue. I have called around, and quotes for structural engineers to inspect and report on possible cause are £700 + (not monitoring, just inspection and report).

Seems like the best thing would to get the drains checked and if they are all clear, contact insurance company ? Or should I engage a engineer and fork out for a report which may not have any conclusive findings.
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3 Sep 2006
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West Mids
United Kingdom
Check you policy for what is covered and what is not. Don't assume.

Make sure the cause is diagnosed as being something that you are covered for.

Not paying out for a previous claim does not mean not paying out now.
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