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Which areas in London are more prone or known for subsidence issues?

Asked on Jan 17 2011, General in London | Report content

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  • Large parts of London are built on a clay subsoil which is prone to drying out as a result of dry weather, causing shrinkage and from trees nearby drawing water out to the same effect. This reverses in wet weather when the clay expands. This expansion/contraction is rarely uniform throughout the soil and as a result the ground experiences ‘differential heave’, which can cause buildings to move and crack. The housing stock that is most affected tends to be Victorian/Edwardian as they often have shallower foundations. Those houses with clay near to the surface and with foundations less than two meters deep are most vulnerable. As large parts of North London have housing stock of this age, there is no particular area that is most likely to be a problem. I once owned a flat in Crouch End that had previously had movement but as it was historical, it wasn’t an issue. As always with any property purchase, the best thing to do is obtain a Building Survey (previously known as a structural survey). The resale value need not be an issue as it is a common enough occurrence, as long as the building hasn't suffered significant recent movement.

    Answered on Jan 19 2011, Report content

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