Case study Peterborough

The Problem
Optera were instructed by insurers to structurally lift a chalet bungalow in Peterborough that had suffered progressive downward movement of the foundations over a ten-year period. Despite numerous attempts at mitigation, including drainage repairs and vegetation removal, the right-hand side of the property continued to drop. A conservatory to the rear of the property had also rotated away from the bungalow. Ground conditions indicated a shallow band of peat over a clay soil.

The Optera Solution
We designed a scheme of bottom driven, steel cased piles driven across the front, right-hand side and rear elevations with needles under the existing footings. Using hydraulic lifting equipment, we jacked the right-hand side of the bungalow back to level. In doing this, we effectively closed the cracks on the front and rear elevations as well as rectifying the visual distortion to the roof line on the front elevation. The front lounge window was so distorted that the welds on the window frames had broken and there was no lintel above the external frame. We took the decision to deglaze the window but retain the frame during lifting.

Project Conclusion
Optera are experts in building re-alignment and provide advice and guidance on proposed schemes. Not every situation is suitable but Optera review existing information and can make an honest assessment of the likely success.
In this case, the bungalow had been constructed on an un-reinforced raft which had split down the middle of the building. The shallow nature of the footing made lifting easier. Using laser-operated monitoring equipment, we were able to lift the building without creating additional distortions and the result has been a success. The building is now straight.

Given the length of time that this claim had been ongoing, insurers had been considering demolishing and rebuilding the right-hand side of the bungalow at a cost of £300,000.00, with additional alternative accommodation costs on top of this. By opting to lift the building, insurers have saved 75% of their projected spend as well as minimising disruption for the policyholder.

“By opting to lift the building, insurers have saved 75% of their projected spend as well as minimising disruption for the policyholder.”

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