Florida sands and extreme weather patterns lead to the majority of structures experiencing at least a slight amount of settlement. Although this is very normal, you may have a more serious problem.
If you feel that your residence has experienced abnormal settlement, whether isolated to one area or spread out throughout the residence, you may want to have an experienced, professional engineer perform a subsidence inspection.
Normal settlement should typically be finished within a few years of the construction of a structure. Many homeowners experience subsidence of the house long after normal settlement has taken its course. This can be the result of numerous factors. Generally it is the result of inadequate shallow bearing soils. Inadequate soils include decaying organics, highly plastic shrink/swell clays, and very loose sandy soil. The very loose sandy soil is generally associated with inadequate compaction prior to construction; however, it is possible that the soils have weakened due to downward migration through sinkhole activity. A subsidence inspection is a cost effective way to determine the likely cause of settlement.
Subsidence inspections are completed before insurance inspections. Homeowner’s insurance does not cover the majority causations for subsidence. Along with shallow soil testing and classification, a subsidence inspection would determine whether or not the residence has sustained structural damage as a result of the settlement. This is an important factor to the insurance companies based on the Florida Statutes.
With a subsidence inspection, FGE’s engineers and geologists would be able to determine the likely cause of settlement, as well as the severity of the damages. Based on the causation of the subsidence, FGE would recommend a cost effective remediation plan. There are instances that a full subsidence investigation would need to be performed to include or exclude sinkhole activity as a cause for the damages. Many homeowners’ insurance policies include subsidence investigations. In the event that your policy does not, FGE would work with you to perform a limited, cost effective investigation.
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