It has became a recurring feature of Septembers and Octobers of the past 3 years. In the past years we recorded a surge in calls reporting cracks and distress appearing in propreties, and requiring a structural assessment to determine the severiry of the issue and need for any intervention.
Why are the calls, or at least most of them happening in September and October? What the structural issues have in common, dispate the propreties being sometime in completely different part of the Town?
Simple, most of South East is on Clay soil, which is a plastic and cohesive soil, with the relative propreties being affected by moisture content in the soil. The dry summers we all experienced and enjoyed in the past years, unfortunatey affect the moisture content in the soil on which most of old propreties are resting on.
It is a recurring view in the parks across London and South East, in Summer time and sometime also in Spring of large cracks appearing in the soil. This is the result of the Clay shrinking by loosing moisture in view of the hot weather, in most cases in combination with the abstraction of water by close by large trees.
We all enjoy a nice sunny and dry summer, going to the park, meeting with friends in our gardens for a drink and a barbeque, unfortunately all come with a price. As the soil in our garden and park is affected, so the houses resting on it are.
The foundation of old propreties are often very shallow and therefore immediately affected by the change in volume of the Clay, resulting in distress appearing on the walls of the propreties supported on it.
Often the cracks related to Clay movements are defined as seasonal, appearing in summer and disappearing in winter, when rain comes back and the Clay returns to its nutural volume. Should we all just wait for winter that will make the cracks disappear? Unforfortunately the issue is becoming more complex.
Climate Change, has been a topic of the past 20years or more, we are aware that we have to adopt a more sustainable way of living. Climate Change is often associated with disappearance of Artic glacier, rising in sea level, extreme drought, heating of our Planet, etc all absolutly true. All these are major problems that affect the existance and survival of large comunities on our Planet.
Unfortunately, in a much smaller scale Climate Change also affects our garden, our favorite Park, and indirectly the structural integrity of our house. In our opinion what experienced in the past 2-3 years is only the beginning of what is likely to become a recurring feature of the years to come, which could lead eventually to an increase of the insurance premium we pay for our Home, and the seasonal axpect of the issue is bound to disappear if our summers become more and more hot and dry, as the Clay soil is unable to regain in full its natural moisture content lost during the recurring dry summers.