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Subsidence Surveys Damage Re: Insurance Claims

Structural Damage as a Consequence of Ground Movement

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A building's foundation must be designed so that they can support the structure built upon the foundations by safely transferring the loads to the ground and thus, maintaining the structural integrity of the building. However, ground conditions vary geographically and will have a significant impact on the design of the building’s foundations. However, not all buildings are built on satisfactory foundations and are susceptible to either upwards (heave) or downwards (subsidence or settlement) movement.

Subsidence can be caused by clay shrinkage, tree roots growing close to and/or underneath the foundations removing moisture, collapse of disused mines, formation of underground caverns and poor foundation design. Warm weather is one of the most common causes of subsidence, clay-rich soil will shrink (predominant within the southeast of the UK) as the moisture evaporates creating downward movement.

Trees are an important element of our environment and may look harmless enough, but they will absorb moisture. Weeping willows are the most prolific trees for the removal of moisture.

Washing away of soil through escape of water from Leaking drains, flooding and heavy rainfall can wash away soil particles over time, causing the ground to slowly shift or become less stable.

Older properties often have predominantly shallower foundations than new buildings because the knowledge and understanding of soil mechanics has advanced substantially. If the soil conditions and surrounding landscape features are not fully considered when designing the foundation design or inappropriate materials are used, the foundations will fail.

Settlement and subsidence are often confused or mispresented because the surveyor/engineer does not fully understand the differences between the two. Settlement is the natural compaction of soil as it settles under its own weight.

Most insurance policies provide for subsidence, while excluding settlement, it is therefore important that you as a property owner obtains professional and independent advice.

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Judges Comments and Opinions regarding Dr. Antino

  • The party wall world is relatively small, the stage of this world contains a number of well-known players, Mr Antino is one of these well-known players and so are his owners instructing solicitor Mr Ashley Bean of Thirsk Winton

    HHJ Bailey - [2016]
  • The Claimants have a very experienced legal team comprising Mr David Mayall of lambchambers & Mr Ashley Bean of thirsK winton and their surveyro Dr. Philip Antino. The evidence in particular of the Defendant’s plans for both the Accessway and the plans and how it impacted upon the Claimants business was important information that The Defendants ahd not provided when requested.

    HHJ Freedland QC - [2021]
  • "Mr Antino is a palpable witness, Mr Antino's explanation of the unique attributes of the "Thompson Plan" greatly assisted the Court to understand the location and extent of the claimants’ boundaries” (Best & Best v Perkins & Dennis in the County Court at Luton).

    HHJ Hildyard - [2015]
  • The appeal was a preliminary hearing of two points in respect of an Award served by Mr Antino and a surveyor appointed by Mr Antino under s.10(4) on behalf of the Building Owners the Appellants. HHJ Luba QC sitting in the Central London County Court held "In my judgment the Award is valid, the use of s.10(4) was the appropriate procedure given the Building Owners refusal to appoint a surveyor. A dispute had arisen that satisfied s.10 procedures, The Award is an impressive piece of work". Schmid v Hulls and Athananasou).

    HHJ Luba QC - [2016]
  • “Mr Antino is an acknowledged expert in the field of party wall issues.”

    HHJ Murfitt QC 2013 - [2015]
  • “I have known Philip for many years as a surveyor, he is a very good surveyor, as this book shows he is a very good author and this book can only advance his reputation”

    HHJ Philip Bartle QC - [2012]
  • “In the appeal of an ex-parte Award served by Mr Antino on behalf of the respondents, in my judgment the respondent is correct. Mr Antino’s contention that it is not a matter for negotiation directly between one surveyor and the other surveyor’s client. Since I have determined that the ex-parte Award was valid the court is still able to determine the Award and under the statutory powers to modify the Award if appropriate. I am grateful to Mr Antino suggesting that I now determine the Award issue “I accept that Mr Antino’s hourly rate is not in my judgment unreasonable. It follows that the fee set out in the ex-parte Award had been properly justified and I therefore award Mr Antino’s fees”. (Bansal v Myers Romford County Court).

    HHJ Platt - [2007]

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