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News: Hidden dangers of Kent earthquake

Wed, 02 May 07

Homeowners in Sussex and Surrey should be aware of potential damage the recent Kent earthquake could have done to their homes...

While homes in Folkestone will have suffered the most visible damage following the weekend’s earthquake, which achieved 4.3 on the Richter Scale, homeowners in nearby counties, which may have felt the quakes tremors, are warned that their homes may have suffered damage which has gone undetected.

Chris Rispin Technical Director, Allied Surveyors offers some advice to homeowners whose properties felt the impact of the recent earthquake:

“It is not just in the immediate vicinity of Folkestone where worrying damage could have occurred to properties. Areas as far out as East Sussex and Surrey may have also been impacted by the earthquake and it is important that homeowners are aware and are actively inspecting their properties and logging any notable changes now.

“New cracks in both internal and external walls, along with broken pipes are typical of the damage caused by earthquakes and they must all be noted and reported as soon as possible to minimise damage and ensure that homeowners are able to claim the necessary repairs via their building insurers.”

Action plan for homeowners

Allied offers some basic advise for those living in the affected areas:

  • Make a note of the time and date of the earthquake – this may seem simple but it is important to log any such activity and is something that can later be forgotten or mis-recorded;

  • Take a thorough look around your property, noting any new cracks that may have emerged since the quake – remembering to check behind any furniture that could be hiding new cracks;

  • Photograph any new cracks that have emerged – remembering to use a measure such as a pencil or even your finger in the photos to show the crack’s proportions and to allow for future comparisons;

  • Remember to check outside your property too – looking for any damage such as cracked drains which will need attention;

  • Report any damage to your building’s insurer – immediately.

“If any new cracks have emerged it is important to contact your building’s insurer straight away. All good policies should cover earthquakes, although consumers are advised check for any necessary excess,” adds Rispin.

Subsidence fears

Allied warns that it is not just earthquakes that can cause serious damage to a property. With a hot dry summer ahead, as the Met office predicts 2007 to be the ninth successive summer with above average temperatures, the emergence of subsidence can cause serious damage to a property.

Homeowners are advised to start logging the emergence of any new cracks or changes in their property now – enabling them to react quickly, notifying their insurers and starting the process to get the necessary repairs as soon as a possible, reducing additional costs and the potential damage such weather conditions may cause for their property.

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