Ground stabilisation is a colloquial term used to describe ground strengthening or ground improvement.
This is required when the stability of a building becomes affected by changes in the ground that supports its foundations. There are several reasons behind these changes.
The soil can be of a type prone to expansion and contraction, depending on moisture content. This is the case with clay soil. Flowing water from broken drains can wash soil away, this applies to all soil types. Finally, the initial compaction of the soil under the foundations may have been inadequate, or vibrations from passing traffic could gradually weaken the ability of the soil to bear the weight of the foundations. Whatever the cause, unstable ground can mean the structure it supports starts gradually sinking into the ground, an effect commonly referred to as ‘subsidence’.
A building experiencing subsidence with damage to its structure will suffer from internal and external cracks appearing in the walls. Windows and doors become stuck or hard to open, floors may start sinking or become uneven and drainage systems may be affected. If left unchecked, subsidence can severely affect a building and, at the extreme level, can leave it uninhabitable if it a residential dwelling or non-operational if it is a commercial type building.
In a commercial environment, operational downtime can lead to a loss of revenue and have a detrimental impact on the health and safety of employees and customers. The impact can be even greater in the industrial sector or infrastructure projects.
The sooner the signs of subsidence are spotted and subsidence repairs are undertaken, the better. Early intervention using ground improvement techniques can stop further damage to the building and minimise the scale of any losses to the business.