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Advice that's guaranteed to be in your best interests.

My house (building) has cracks. How do I know if they are important.
Who is the best person to contact.
Should I contact my insurers.
Should I contact a Consulting Engineer.
I have been told the cracks may be shrinkage - is this possible.
What else causes cracks in a building.
If I need underpinning, how much will it cost.
Will I need to vacate my property while it is being underpinned.

Can I remove a wall (or a support pillar) in my property?
Can I make my basement deeper?


My house (building) has cracks. How do I know if they are important.


No cracking in a building should be ignored. If your building is new - less than two years old - you should contact the builder and ask him to inspect. If you are not satisfied with his answer or if the building is older, then you should contact Specpro or a structural specialist to give you advice.

Who is the best person to contact.

You should contact a person or company who specialise in structural problems in buildings.

Many consulting engineers are more experienced with new build. Chartered Engineers with specialist underpinning companies are more likely to have the exact experience to give you sound advice.

As contractors, they are commercially aware and their advice, in the circumstances of doubt or uncertainty, will lean to your advantage.

Initial advice from Specpro is often free and is guaranteed to be in your interests.

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Should I contact my insurers.

We would advise that you obtain advice from Specpro, as described above, before contacting insurers.

Should I contact a Consulting Engineer.

We would advise that you, in the first place, obtain advice from Specpro as described above before employing a Consulting Engineer who will charge immediately. Thereafter, we sometimes then suggest the employment of a Consulting Engineer to act for you rather than allowing the Insurance Company to appoint one.

I have been told the cracks may be shrinkage - is this possible.

It is possible but shrinkage should only have an effect in the early months of a building and new cracks in an older building are usually due to some form of movement which needs attention.

What else causes cracks in a building.

There are many possible causes:-

Shrinkage and heave of clay soils. Very common in the South of England.

Settlement of soft or made up ground - sometimes caused by leaking drains or overflowing gutters. Possibly the most common reason for subsidence around the country.

Vibration - due to heavy traffic for example.

Alterations in the building which have redistributed loads badly.

Deeper underlying soft material such as peat.

General instability of the site - sloping ground or adjacent to steep slope.

Bad workmanship in the original building - eg inadequate foundations etc.

Insufficient wall ties (or corroded wall ties) in cavity walls.

Mining below.

Specpro can advise in more detail. Please feel free to contact us.

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If I need underpinning, how much will it cost.

It is not possible to give a general cost for underpinning but, if you contact Specpro, we can sometimes give you an indication after hearing some details of the property and the problem.

Our initial advice is  free and visits can be free depending on circumstances.

Will I need to vacate my property while it is being underpinned.

Specpro makes every effort to devise a scheme for underpinning and repairs which allow you to remain in residence during the work.

Many schemes require internal floors to be uplifted but we try very hard to avoid this.There are very few occasions , usually with a very major underpin and repair, where decant is unavoidable.

Can I remove a wall (or a support pillar) in my property?

Some walls are not load bearing and can be removed without causing any problem or needing any alteration to other supports. Load bearing walls and pillars or columns need a professionally thought out scheme to ensure that no subsidence or other damage takes place and also - very important - to ensure that safety is maintained at all times.

Contact Specpro for advice, a budget cost, and a professional job to ensure work is carried out safely and efficiently.

Can I make my basement deeper?

It is very likely that you can. Specpro has underpinned many properties in order to create extra space below. For domestic properties this is normally for useable room and in commercial city centre properties is sometimes for car parking or storage space.

Costs are fairly high but contact Specpro to have a suggested solution, a budget price and a professional job to ensure work is carried out safely and efficiently.

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