Most homeowners have heard about underpinning. However, the concept is difficult to grasp if your property does not require underpinning. Below is an extensive excerpt to help you understand the underpinning process in Australia.
When Does A Property Require Underpinning?
Underpinning is a construction technique that helps reinforce the foundation of a house. Several factors could compel you to conduct underpinning works. For instance, settlement around the foundation could weaken the foundation, thus affecting the functionality of structural features. Settlement occurs due to poor compaction, unstable soils such as clay, excessive moisture in the soil and roots beneath the foundation. Settlement could make the foundation crack or sink. Besides, the building could tilt to one side.
Another reason to underpin the property is when you need to improve the building. For instance, you might want to build a new storey, create an extension or basement. These improvements could overburden the structural features. Underpinning allows the foundation to bear the new loads.
How To Prepare Your Property For Underpinning?
Unlike other construction works, you will need to work with professionals when underpinning your home. Typically, you need an engineer to examine the extent of the foundation damage and the need to underpin the structure. The professional conducts soil tests, examines the foundation and examines the construction blueprints to determine how best to underpin the house. The engineer could recommend pit, jack pile, resin injection or angle piling underpinning. Next, the engineer develops schematics for the underpinning work.
You will need a local council permit before undertaking the underpinning works. Typically, the proposed underpinning work should comply with the local building code. For instance, the engineer could be required to assess whether the underpinning works will damage neighbouring buildings or underground utilities.
Finding An Underpinning Contractor
Background checks and client reviews will help you choose an underpinning contractor. Start by ensuring the professional has a practising licence and insurance coverage. Then, interview some of their clients to determine their expertise in conducting underpinning work. For instance, you might want to know the quality of materials used by the contractor and whether the underpinned properties have developed foundation-related issues.
Ask the contractor to visit your home to establish how long the work will take. Besides, it allows them to give an accurate quote. Ask the contractor for discounts if their bid exceeds the engineer's estimates. Finally, assess the contractor's contract to determine how they approach conflicts, when you should make payments, whether they accept bank payments and if they offer guarantees.
For more information on underpinning, contact a professional near you.
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