A little over a month ago, an inlet pipe burst unexpectedly underneath an apartment block in Manly, Sydney. Within minutes, a high pressure water leak began dislodging the foundations of the building. Not long afterwards, some of the brick walls of the building began to come apart and crumble.
Structural integrity of the building was under threat and there was a fear the entire building could come crashing down. Fire crews and Sydney Water engineers were on the scene quickly. The 35 residents of the building were evacuated. Very luckily, no one was hurt during this incident.
All of this drama started with a simple water leak.
Damage over months or even years
This incident in Manly wouldn’t have occurred instantly. To erode the building’s foundation to the point where brickwork crumbles apart, the cracked inlet pipe would have been leaking for months. Maybe even years.
While your average, everyday water leak isn’t anywhere near as dramatic as the one in Manly, leaks are something you need to watch out for, at all times.
A water leak from an unconnected downpipe outside your home, a cracked drain under your sink or a little overflow from your guttering may seem like nothing to worry about. But water absorbed by the ground over months, years or even decades from these leaks can lead to soil erosion which eventually results in subsidence.
Lead to sinking
Subsidence, put simply, is the sinking of the ground underneath your home. If your home’s foundations happen to sink perfectly evenly, the likelihood of structural problems occurring in your home will be low. The truth is, this almost never happens.
Different areas of your home’s foundations sink at different rates depending on where the most water sits and how eroded the soil is. This uneven sinking is called differential settlement and it’s what causes major foundational damage, leading to incidents like the one in Manly.
The moral of this story? Even if your water leaks are minor, have them checked by experts and repaired right away.
Found water leaks around the house and worried about subsidence?
You may want to look out for signs of subsidence around your house on this page. If your home has wall cracks, jamming windows and doors, ceiling cracks or sloping floors it might be time to give us a call.
The Buildfix team would love to help you out with a FREE inspection of your home and it’s foundations.