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Subsidence View - August 2015

Subsidence View: Issue 3 August 2015

Reports of the first crack damage caused by clay shrinkage subsidence have been received across the country during July. With the summer holidays now well underway attention is focused on the August weather which holds the key to the magnitude of a summer upturn in subsidence claim numbers.
Looking back, July started off with record breaking heat but the second half of the month brought more changeable and cooler spells. July rainfall was 135% of average in the clay soil areas of the south east and central England, although June and July combined remains below average and lower than the corresponding period in the surge year of 2003.
The MORECS measure of Soil Moisture Deficit has just dipped slightly behind of the last significant surge year of 2003.
August Weather Forecast - Conditions remain drier than average and similar to the same period in 2003, when the last surge occurred from a low MORECS start. So what is the outlook and will there be an exceptionally hot dry period in the 2nd half of the summer to significantly increase the number of subsidence claims?
Forecasters TheWeatherOutlook have noted that "there has been more medium range forecast uncertainty than usual with predictions from computer models flipping regularly between a more settled outlook and an unsettled one". Their current view suggests "the south could be drier and warmer at times in early August with the north remaining more changeable. By the second week of August it looks generally quite unsettled with showers and more persistent rain at times".
The Met Office 30 day forecast also has an unsettled theme, but they also suggest that "there is a weak signal for some periods of drier and more settled weather to develop towards the end of the month, however confidence in this is currently low".
Prediction - Based on the current forecasts for August we have downgraded the surge risk to Mid Amber. Our prediction for 2015 is that ABI claim numbers will be higher than 2014, with a return to the previous 3 year range of  18-23,000 most likely. However, we still recommend that insurers and the subsidence industry remain vigilant, as a change in the weather could still trigger significantly higher claim volumes.

Building Validation Solutions are developing a new and innovative approach to handling subsidence claims. If you would like to talk to us about how we could make a difference for you and your customers, please contact:

Giles Carter at