In construction, the structural integrity of a given building is paramount, and this begins with a strong foundation. That is why engineers inspect building foundations before they are commissioned for occupation. If the foundation is not strong enough and poses a danger to the occupants, then stabilisation is necessary. This is possible through underpinning services, where engineers work to strengthen a weak foundation via several underpinning methods. While cracks on walls and the floor are clear signs that a building needs underpinning services, some instances are not that straightforward to the layperson. This article highlights commonly ignored circumstances when a homeowner might need underpinning services.
Trees Growing Near the Building
There are many reasons homeowners plant trees on their properties. Some want nothing more than the shade and breeze they offer during hot summers, while others want to improve the aesthetics of their home. Whichever is the case, the fact is that tree roots are continually growing and can prove dangerous if the trees grow close to the house's foundation. The reason is that roots break into the foundation over time, consequently destabilising it. Since you might not know how far the roots have gone, the best way to protect your property is by hiring underpinning services. Once underpinned, it doesn't matter how deep the roots go because the foundation will remain unaffected.
Change in Soil Property
One of the primary reasons contractors hire geotechnical engineers is to find out where the ground is stable enough to lay the foundation for a structure. However, geological phenomena often lead to changes in the properties of the soil supporting specific foundations. As these changes occur, the foundation's stability is put at risk, and the worst part is that only geotechnical engineers can detect any changes to soil properties. Therefore, if your house has been upright for many years and you notice a section sinking, call for underpinning services. That is a clear indication that the properties of the ground on which your property sits are changing, but only geotechnical engineers can determine that.
Converting Basement to Livable Space
Moving to a bigger house is out of the question for most Australian homeowners today, given the ever-rising cost of residential living space. As such, most families are converting their basements into livable spaces. However, such a project requires extending the foundation either in depth or breath to accommodate the average height of the occupant. Underpinning services are, therefore, mandatory for such a project as the underpinning method used will help form the basement walls. Additionally, the underpinning will support the added weight of the basement walls, thereby preventing cracking of walls or sinking of foundation.