Free underpinning – for several clients in the last few years…

24 February 2016

Yes you read that correctly!!  Not only is Deep Pinning the best underpinning system available, the geotechnical information we gather into the soil moisture levels on the surface AND at depth, regularly locates the cause of the footing problem.  In recent times insurance companies have been approving repairs under their policy due in particular to the confidence in which we can pinpoint the problem area and the source.  In cases of leaking buried pipes, driving the ‘pins through the soil profile can detect differences in softness due to moisture penetration.  By comparing the installation resistance between different areas it is possible to effectively locating the ‘epicenter’ of the pipe failure.

A recent project in Sandy Bay, Hobart had some new paving laid around the sides and rear of the property some years ago.  The plumber unfortunately did not seal the outlet pipe for a storm-water pit serving 3 agricultural drains and a garage roof downpipe so seepage could escape unseen from between the pipe and the rough cut of the base of the hole in the pit, flowing freely into the downstream pipework trenches.  As the pipes passed quite near to the side the house, over time the moisture saturated the heavy clays down to the founding depth of the generous footings.  As the pavers were laid on a concrete slab, no surface rutting due to the moisture softening was evident although rising damp in the brickwork was an important clue.  Eventually the house settled along this side and starting tugging on the abutting external and internal walls.  When the first jacking underpin hole was created, water was flowing into the excavation like we had burst a mains water pipe – it had clearly been collecting in the surrounding clays for some time.

An alternative underpinning company had previously attempted to raise the footings, however, as they had no way of assessing the problem and the scope of the situation, were not able to treat the cause.  Subsequently, the problem remained even though there was a false impression the symptoms had been treated.   This is one of many examples where “Deep Pinning” and its all important processes, demonstrates its ‘holistic engineering’ approach to underpinning – finding the intrinsic cause of the problem is equally (if not more) important than treating the symptoms.  In this example the clients were just as relieved the source of the settlement was addressed (their mood somewhat helped by the repairs being fully covered by insurance) and not at all worried about the cracking itself, as it should be.

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