Subsidence in mining areas
Subsidence due to mining can come about for several reasons. Damage from vibrations caused by coal mining for example is barely a concern in the United Kingdom since operations have long ceased in a number of areas, but even up to present day, risks can still present themselves.
Subsidence in mining areas
Often, movement occurs as a result of earth near the foundations of a property being weakened or hollowed out as a result of mining works. This can cause a downward movement, or subsidence in mining areas, to the land where structures are built.
Just to add to the challenge, some older mine shafts that were abandoned over 100 years ago, and may not be on any records, leaving home owners none-the-wiser that they could be living on top of a disused mine shaft. A sudden collapse of a shaft can cause considerable damage if it runs directly below the foundations of a house, resulting in a costly claim, and a challenge to obtain suitable insurance in the past.
Understand the mining history in your area
If you are planning to purchase a property in an area that is known to have been a former mining area, it is worth contacting the Coal Authority who can provide you several reports, such as a Mine Search report. These aren’t expensive in the grand scheme of things, and are definitely a worthile investment. They can also advise you about previous mining-related subsidence claims in your area, which is the kind of information any new insurer may want to know about, even if your home was never damaged in the past.
If you are employing a Chartered Surveyor, or are having conveyancing carried out by a solicitor, they will often do this for you.
Home owners affected by subsidence as a result of coal mining can be entitled to compensation payments, or have the cost of repairs covered by the Coal Authority under the Coal Mining Subsidence Act 1991. The Coal Authority is responsible for advising on historic and and recent coal mining in the UK. They also maintain a record of any subsidence claims that they have dealt with, which can be helpful if you are trying to piece together the history of the area.
It is possible to investigate the site before you agree to purchase a house if there is a mineshaft running below the property, but often this is an expensive process.
Generally an investigation is required to ensure that the house stands on solid foundations, and not on any areas that have been removed or weakened as a result of previous mining. This can be carried out by digging several inspection areas, known as bore-holes, at select points of the site to check the depth of foundations, and ensure it is built on firm footing.
While costly and time-consuming, it is often better to do this now to prevent a collapse later.
As specialists in non-standard property insurance, we encounter subsidence in mining areas regularly. Give us a call on 0800 612 9376 or click Get a Quote to fill in our online form. Our experienced advisors will discuss your requirements with you to get the right policy in place.
Need some more information?
Why not read one of our other subsidence insurance guides?
- Subsidence Insurance
- What is a Certificate of Structural Adequacy?
- Subsidence, heave, landslip or settlement?
- What causes subsidence
- What to do about subsidence
- Spotting the signs of subsidence
- Subsidence in London – Case Study
- What to disclose to insurers regarding subsidence?
- How insurers underwrite subsidence risks
- Subsidence insurance FAQs
- Subsidence Guide