Subsidence Specialists

Cracks in our home can cause unnecessary worry and stress

Particularly if they are raised as a concern by a prospective purchaser/valuer. These worries can be compounded by getting inappropriate advice from friends, neighbours, builders and even the wrong type of professional!

Birklands Surveying brings together a wealth of experience in providing services to the insurance sector and a wide variety of clients, including Homeowners, Consulting Engineers and Loss Adjusters.

We are specialists in dealing with subsidence diagnosis, site investigation, monitoring the stability of buildings, reinstatement specifications and overseeing the works process.

Could the cracks in my property be subsidence?

A crack in your home may or may not be caused by subsidence, however, if you’ve noticed these signs, subsidence is a likely cause

Subsidence is one of those things that's best caught early

If you’ve noticed any suspicious cracks in your home, call our team straight away. We can compile a detailed report and advise what procedures to adopt when making a building insurance claim or appointing loss adjusters. We always work with our client’s best interests at heart and will do everything possible to ensure a successful outcome.

If you think you may have subsidence, one of the first steps is to contact your Building Insurer.

The sooner it is picked up the easier it will be to deal with. The insurance company will arrange for a surveyor to inspect your home and confirm if it is subsidence.

It may be that the surveyor decides your home needs to be monitored before they can determine whether your home is suffering from subsidence. This can take up to 12 months.

The concern with telling your insurance firm straight away is that it could mean your insurance premiums rise, even if it turns out you don’t have subsidence.

In contacting your insurance company, a claim is registered and would need to be disclosed to any future insurers even if the claim is valid or not.

So, you might want to consider getting a professional to confirm you have subsidence before you involve your insurer. At Birklands Surveying we can offer advice on the extent of the damage and determine if the cause is possibly due to subsidence.

We can provide a detailed report that can then be submitted to your insurers. Reasonable fees, where necessarily incurred, are normally recoverable in the case of a successful claim.

Buildings Insurance Claims

Catastrophe strikes when you least expect it. Homes burn down, buildings are submerged in flood water and properties are often damaged by violent storms or impact. This is why we get property insurance. It is a safety net when we are at our most vulnerable. Or at least it should be.

Birklands Surveying provides services that helps clients to navigate the parameters of insurance claims and hold your policy provider accountable for providing what they promised.

Birklands Surveying provides services that helps clients to navigate the parameters of insurance claims and hold your policy provider accountable for providing what they promised.

We have longstanding and detailed experience of the domestic insurance industry including the procedures for the handling of claims. In the event of damage not being covered under the terms of the policy we are able to specify and recommend effective repairs using well-qualified and dependable local contractors.

We can also advise during the claims process.

Reasonable fees, where necessarily incurred, are normally recoverable in the case of a successful claim.

We are able to advise building owners on suitable sums insured for domestic buildings and this information is normally provided as part of a building survey.

Building Movement Monitoring

Monitoring is a useful and cost effective method of confirming whether movement and cracking to buildings is progressive and, if so, the amount and nature of the movement provides useful evidence as to cause.

We undertake precise level monitoring and distortion surveys.

This provides a real time layout of the footprint of the building. It can be used to highlight out of level floors and components of the structure.

We are equipped with accurate digital callipers that are used to measure the distance between small metal studs fitted to the property. The movement of the studs reflects movement (opening or closing of cracks) in the structure of the building.

Measurements are taken to small fractions of a millimetre and normally a six month period of monitoring, at two month intervals, is considered sufficient to establish whether movement is progressive or stable.

In some cases, this can avoid the expense of detailed investigations or provide proof that the building is not suffering from an ongoing problem.

Readings are provided to the client together with graphs illustrating the movement. We provide a brief summary of the significance of the readings/movement shortly after the last set of measurements have been taken.

The typical cost of a six month monitoring period (four sets of readings) and including submission of results with our professional comments would be £225.

When we are talking about buildings and the land they sit on, even the smallest movements can be significant.

Where movement and instability is suspected, a monitoring survey is the best way to precisely track shifts and changes over time to gain a better understanding of the problem.
Our instrumentation choice can be tailored according to the accuracy required. Once monitoring points have been agreed and positioned, our surveyor will visit your site at regular intervals, taking readings at fixed monitoring points, comparing their findings to previous results and detecting if any movement has occurred. These can be reported through a simple excel spreadsheet.

Specific Defect Reports

Specific defect reports concentrate only on areas of concern noticed by homeowners or raised as a result of a survey by a prospective purchaser’s surveyor.

Specific Defect Reports are also useful in situations other than pre-purchase and pre-lease.

A property owner may have concerns about issues that have arisen and will simply want peace of mind, for example, advice on some cracking before embarking on a decoration project.

A client may have tried and failed to repair a recurrent problem or have been told differing views on a defect by contractors.

Another reason can be that an independent professional surveyor’s report can provide useful information in deciding on a course of action. This may be to assist with an insurance claim or to help consider whether to pursue or resolve potential legal disputes between landlord and tenant, client and contractor, neighbour to neighbour etc.

Our fees for the initial inspection and report will be lower than that for a building survey as we will concentrate on the area of concern only.

Any other obvious defects noticed during the inspection would however be drawn to the client’s attention.

Specific defects identified in a purchase report typically take the form of cracking or distortion to walls, unevenness in floors, dampness, rotting of timbers or general inadequacies and instabilities in structural elements.

Building Repair Schedule of works

Over the last 35 years our Director has extensive experience in the design and refurbishment of domestic properties. Ranging from new build homes to minor alteration works.

At Birklands Surveying we can provide a fully project managed service or simply provide a schedule of the necessary works required.

A schedule of works is a list of instructions of all the works required on a project. It can take many different forms as there isn’t one uniformly accepted template but generally, schedules of works are written documents that come alongside drawings to describe in detail the works needed for a project. 

Schedules of works are ideal for all new and renovation projects

They can be used throughout a project from the moment you ask a contractor to price your project to the final stages of construction

Together with the plans and specifications, it forms the basis of a contract between the employer and the contractor to successfully deliver the project, on time and on budget.

Therefore, the Schedule of Works should be clear and accurate. The contractor should be able to easily determine what the job entails and what materials are needed. 

Without a Schedule of Works, there is no reference point. A Schedule of Works helps eliminate any ambiguity. Unless the employer states the exact item, they require, it is open to interpretation. One contractor might price for a cheaper version of an item whilst another contractor might price for a more expensive version of the same item.

Either way, when it comes to obtaining quotes from different contractors, make sure you’re comparing apples with apples. 

Detailed Investigation of Building Defects

We can, if necessary, undertake full and detailed investigation of defects identified during a Building Survey or Specific Defects Inspection

We attend site accompanied by local builders with experience of such matters or specialist drainage and site investigation contractors as appropriate. The investigations are directed by us to ensure that suitable and sufficient information is obtained.

Investigations involve some opening-up of the structure or the excavation of trial-holes, the taking of soil samples for analysis and drain testing – all dependent on the nature of the problem. The investigations can usually be completed in less than a day and the property will be reinstated to a safe and habitable condition on the same day.

These investigations will, in most cases, enable the cause of damage to be positively identified and a full assessment of the nature, extent and probable costs of repair to be established.

We have a close working relationship with several local builders and a nationwide site investigation contractor all of whom undertake the investigations in a professional manner, under our supervision, to minimise disturbance during the process.

The costs of detailed investigations vary but a budget figure can be provided following the initial inspection stage for approval before the investigation proceeds.