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Underpinning is a process of providing additional support underneath a building. It prevents the construction from subsiding into the ground. The cost of underpinning a house varies depending on the subsiding that occurs due to one of the following factors:
- Subsidence: In this case, the house is seen to settle below the ground level that leads to problems of damps, water accumulation
- Pre-emptive work: Under this process, the other homes at the vicinity may be seen to suffer from subsidence while the owner may decide to take pre-emptive steps. Pre-emptive works help the property from being affected.
- Providing extra structural support below ground level when the owner considers extending the property upwards.
- In the case where the owner decides to extend the property downwards into a constructed basement, an extensive underpinning and waterproofing will be required.
- Any side or rear extensions may also require the underpinning of the adjacent wall.
Types of Underpinning
Underpinning may be of countless types. Yet, for the sake of simplicity, experts have segregated these into three major parts. The cost of underpinning a house will vary from one to another by much extent.
The Mass Concrete Pour: This method requires the digging holes underneath the existing foundation. Digging will be performed in sequence and will be followed by filling these with concrete, accompanied by reinforcements if the situation so demands. The work is done by hand where there will be no need for heavy excavation equipment, provided the project specifics demands so.
The Beam Method: The beam method is carried as a continuation of the mass concrete pour method. Under this method, the holes are dug at strategic points under the wall and filled with concrete. A load-bearing beam placed on them thus helping the spread of the weight of the wall above.
Piling: The piling method are applied in those cases where deeper foundations are required. The depth of such construction is more than 5 meters in most cases. Specialist equipment and expertise are required and the cost of underpinning a house is generally higher than the rest.
Factors that Affect the Cost of Underpinning a House:
The work will be followed by the formation of a written agreement between the owner and his/her neighbor. The agreement will mention the timescales, likely disruption, proof of insurance, and likewise in it. The owner would express his sense by taking photos of the boundary wall. This will help in highlighting any damage that already exists there. The owner would never be asked for any casualty that happened later. The procedure of making the agreement will involve arranging for a surveyor to inspect the boundary wall and draw up a legal document detailing the condition of the wall. In cases of row houses, it is important to have an NOC from their neighbors.
The cost of underpinning a house requires to access these aspects like the depth and width in which the underpinning of a structure is something more than merely digging a hole straight down and filling it with concrete. The width of the foundation has its own importance. The structural engineer appointed for the purpose will provide a set of calculations. Such calculations will help in securing the building with a suitable foundation. Again, the control notification buildup is needed to be checked where the owner will notify the local building control office before starting the work. There are few charges for this which stipulated fees are required to pay by the home-owner.
The cost of underpinning a house is defined by the above-mentioned factors that sufficiently determine the quality and appearance of the house.
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