Chartered Building Surveyor James Barron has warned property owners that any drainage problems affecting their buildings must be tackled swiftly and effectively before they get any worse.
James said that most drain leaks are usually simple and relatively cost effective to put right, with most building owners having the required insurance to cover any works.
But he urged people not to ignore the potential warning signs and if they had concerns about cracks or possible building movement to get in touch with Barron Surveying Services.
James explained that when drains leak, a significant amount of water washes into the ground and over time, will wash out the finer soil particles allowing the ground to compress.
“It is important to bear in mind that many of our older buildings have shallow foundations that are not properly formed on bedrock.,” said James.
“This means that even slight drain leaks could cause problems of subsidence and building movement.”
James said buildings are becoming ever more complicated and subdivided, with increasing amounts of pipes, cables and other services underground.
But very often these are overlooked in surveys, even though a common cause of building defects are problems with drains below ground.
He pointed out that this is why the Level 3 House Surveys his company carries out are the most comprehensive available, as they consider all parts of the building, above, as well as below, ground.
“We were recently asked to inspect a large elderly and converted building in use as flats, which had developed a pattern of worrying cracks over the last six months,” said James.
“After some analysis, the cause of the cracking became clear. It was nothing to do with the parts of the building you can see but, instead, a fracture of part of the drain running through the back yard.”
James explained that many buildings have Victorian drainage, much of which isn’t properly mapped, while many other systems have also been built by private individuals without mapping or regulations in place.
“Little wonder then that it is not uncommon to find a drain below ground, or a soakaway in a garden, where no one would have expected one to be,” added James.
“At Barron Surveying Services, we can help diagnose any problems and help put them right, but I cannot stress how important it is not to delay if you fear you might have a drainage issue.”
For more information on James’ services visit www.barronsurveying.co.uk