Case study Warwick

The Problem
A large terraced property in the centre of Warwick reported a claim for the appearance of a void to the rear of the property. The house was tenanted with a communal courtyard to the rear; a busy shopping courtyard to the front; and a restaurant and hotel to the side.

Investigations of the void showed that the current house had been constructed over the vaulted cellar of an earlier building. Leaking drainage and fatigue were believed to have caused the brick arch rings of the cellar to fail and the void, which extended across the entire footprint of the property, was full of collapsed masonry, meaning that the ground floor slab was entirely self-supporting and the inner partition walls and staircase were cantilevering the void.

The tenants had been evacuated by the Local Authority and the landlord required the property to be habitable as soon as possible.

The Optera Solution
Surface water drainage was immediately diverted and we erected hoarding to the front and rear of the property to provide a works area and prevent unauthorised access. Our Structural Engineer designed temporary steelworks to provide intermediate support whilst we undertook the sub-floor works.

The ground floor was broken out and all of the rubble removed with conveyors transporting the spoil to the roadway where it was removed by skip. Once cleared, we were able to assess that the surrounding natural ground was a competent sandstone. New foundations were cast and trench blocks were used to bring the foundations up to the existing ground floor. The remaining void was filled with a lightweight concrete. We provided insulation to comply with current building regulations and reinstated the building to its original configuration.

Drainage was reinstated and the rear courtyard repaired to allow the surrounding occupants access. We ensured that parking was able to remain within the property for all but one day of the operation, thereby minimising the inconvenience and disruption to the different stakeholders.

Project Conclusion
Claims of this nature will often require detailed and protracted investigation from engineering or geotechnical consultants. However, the impact that the problems were having on surrounding land users meant that we did not have the luxury of time to do this. We therefore immediately set about completing the works and avoided any business interruption to surrounding businesses and minimised inconvenience.

Our involvement in this claim has saved the client £600,000.00 in property value alone. No allowance was made within that estimate for potential business interruption costs, loss of rent and the many other consequential losses which would have resulted from the failure of the property.

“Our involvement in this claim has saved the client £600,000.00 in property value alone.”

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