Over the last ten years, the Canterbury region has sustained significant seismic damage due to earthquakes and for many, the process of repairing both residential and commercial properties has been a daunting, time-consuming experience.
We know how hard it can be to understand all the jargon that gets thrown around, while trying to work out exactly what needs to be done to your property - which is why we thought we’d answer a few of the most common questions we receive from clients. Starting with, re-levelling!
How do I know/how can I tell if my property needs repairing or re-levelling?
Visible cracking in walls and foundations
Issues with doors and windows sticking
Your property may have a history of repairs, which you now have concerns about
Floors sloping or drummy sounds under your floor slab
Water ingress/damp patches
Each property is individually assessed by performing a Level Survey, which will show the highest and lowest point also variances point to point across the foundation. Anything that exceeds the MBIE standards and guidelines, is then compiled into a thorough report in line with a geotechnical report (a geotechnical report tells you about the ground underneath) and an engineer’s design plan. Repairers (like ourselves) then work in line with the engineer and their design plan, to come to an agreed lifting method.
Remember - there has not been a one size fits all solution established for every project, each foundation is different, which is why it is so important that the above-mentioned people, work together from start to finish.
Different types of foundations include:
Standard concrete ring foundation
Slab on grade – house slab/foundation
What is the process?
The Connect Group follow a streamlined process, using a synchronised mechanical lifting method, designed to adjust the floor levels to within accepted construction tolerances of the existing building, without causing further damage to the property or foundation structure. The process involves creating pockets around the foundation perimeter, using an excavation method to remove soil from the pockets, giving access to place lifting jacks under the foundation. For slab on grade, cores are strategically drilled internally throughout the slab and hydraulic lifting frames and jacks installed. Jacks are simultaneously used to gradually raise the foundation back to the target height.
To ensure the correct levels are achieved, without further damage occurring to a structure, we undertake this process slowly and monitor it carefully - ensuring the correct levels are achieved without causing damage to the structure, whilst injection is completed to fill any voids.
And this method is good for which properties exactly?
This re-levelling method is effective for single and two-level to multi-unit residential homes through to complex commercial structures.
Do I have to move out? How does this impact me?
Yes – for this kind of repair, we do advise you vacate for a period of time – but it really depends on the project, so this can be discussed during the scoping and methodology process.
Timeframes on how long it will take to complete the re-level, will be discussed prior to and during – it’s important the work isn’t rushed, so if there are delays, there will be a good reason for it. Remember, your property is one of your most valuable assets – so repairs shouldn’t be rushed.
Also, don’t forget to talk to your insurance company – as they have processes in place for people that do have to vacate while repairs are being conducted.
How do I know if it’s worked?
We conduct another level survey and have an engineer review the re-level and sign it off. We provide you with their report and a producer statement (known as PS1 - PS4) as well as our robust Quality Assurance and a PS3 - which you can then pass onto your insurance company and have on record should you ever wish to sell your property.
The Connect Group have undertaken a numerous amount of complex lifts (re-levels) to date, each with their own challenges and we believe that this is what benefits you in the long run – our expertise in this field and the re-level system we use.
Our ultimate goal throughout the process and thereafter is to give you peace of mind - that is why our system has been designed in such a way that if any issues occur in the future (i.e. another seismic event) the system can be readjusted.
My property hasn’t sustained damage from a seismic event – could it still need re-levelling?
Potentially yes. While your property may not show signs of damage it still may have sunk or been put out of level – this can be caused by seismic activity (as mentioned) ground movement combined with the age of the property or subsidence.
Our best advice is to get one of our professional out to assess your property - they'll conduct a level survey and from there, provide you with an accurate assessment of your property and work with you to ensure the best results for your repair or relevel.
For more information or to book a no-obligation assessment, contact firstname.lastname@example.org