Subsidence, its causes, solutions and how to financially protect your club

2 April 2016

So what is subsidence? 

It's a lowering or collapse of the ground, which can be triggered by a man-made disturbance, such as: building works, a change in drainage patterns, usually caused by damaged drains or a leak, heavy rain or no moisture at all.

Properties built on clay soils or with shallow foundations are more at risk of subsidence. This is because clay-based soils shrink and swell according to their moisture content.


No moisture Subsidence is commonly associated with arid conditions as long periods without rain cause the clay to dry out and shrink, making it less able to hold foundations in place. If your building is in close proximity to trees, they too can absorb moisture from the soil, contributing to its shrinkage. So, it is important to know which 'drink water' (depends upon the species) and the safe distance for planting.

Too much moisture Similarly, if previously dry clay is overloaded with moisture, it expands causing ground heave. This is the upward movement of the ground beneath part or all of a building. Leaking or damaged drains are a key contributer; they are usually unseen, will build up moisture levels over times and repeatedly soften and swell the soil.

Continuous periods of flooding are likely to 'wash away' the soil and contribute to landslip which can either be a gradual creeping of soil in a downward direciton over a period of time, or a sudden movement, often associated with flash floods.

Whatever the cause, subsidence can damage your foundations, buildings and playing surfaces and interrupt the day-to-day running of yuor Club.


Remedial measures includes; pruning or removing trees, investigating and repairing damaged/leaking drains, restoring brickwork and underpinning (strenghening and deepening the foundations).

Financial protection

Subsidence cover is an optional extra: available to Clubs insured via our specialist Bowls and Racquet Scheme. This ensures your Club doesn't have to foot the bill for any remedial works and puts you back in the position you were before the subsidence occurred.

If you've not already done so, why not consider the additional cover? Further details can be found on pages 10 and 11 of your policy wording.

Also, you should be aware that if you insure your outdoor playing surfaces, subsidence damage will not be covered unless the main clubhouse or pavilion has also been affected.

To include this option within your policy please contact:

Claire Weston or call on 01444 251 160

Alexandra Comb or call on 01444 251 170 

Category: Bowls & Racquets

Stuart Austen

Stuart Austen

I lead the Trade Credit division of Sutton Winson having launched it in 2015 and also manage our Food & Drink sector proposition. Prior to that, I have held senior positions at Euler Hermes, the UK’s largest Trade Credit Insurer and have also worked in treasury and finance roles in the industry.

work 0208 891 4021

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