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Assessing Subisdence Risk

We were interested to read a recent report in Post Magazine, about a new geo coded perils model, which aims to help  insurers and underwriters to assess the subsidence risk for every property in the UK.
The model, called Subsitree – launched by data services provider Emapsite – is claimed to give an insight into the distribution of risk, based on the latest soil-type and tree data, it allows properties to be analysed through a choice of address-point data and individual building or property footprint.
Subsitree includes up-to-date National Tree Map data, showing the trunks, crowns and canopies of trees. Soil-type data from geology data providers is also included.
Commenting on the article, head of subsidence at BVS Giles Carter said:  "Combining different data sets for soil and trees is a really interesting development, but the real risk is also dependent on the climate (rainfall and temperatures), water demand of the specific tree, topography of the site and especially foundation design and depth.
"For example, two properties equidistant from the same tree could be subject to very different risks in reality one with shallow foundations could be at risk, whilst the other – perhaps constructed with deeper foundations provided by a basement – could not.
"To help insurers to work with homeowners to properly manage nearby trees in order to safeguard their properties, they would need to combine the Emapsite approach with information on foundation depths – something that is not readily available or easy to establish".
Concluded Giles "In the meantime, the best advice to homeowners in clay soil areas is to retain the status quo. If they have not suffered tree related subsidence problems before, it is likely that their property will remain safe if nearby trees and other vegetation are maintained at their historic sizes".

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