As Charles Taylors Adjusting say, during the installation of a buried pipeline or the preparation of ground to support a structure, much can be missed, regarding the understanding of the ground conditions. Some possible issues that may arise are:

  • Compaction;
  • Voids;
  • Hidden debris;
  • Water table.

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These issues present difficulties for construction projects if the geotechnical engineering is incomplete or not undertaken in the correct way. Specifically, if the soil conditions are not understood well, the possibility for sinkholes to suddenly occur rises.

Probable cause

As far as sinkholes are concerned, the cause is often a product of the site geology. Sinkholes can be natural or manmade. Natural sinkholes happen because of erosion or underground water. The ground can be susceptible to erosion, especially when there is water continually seeping through the medium to the water table. Then, underground voids can form and when the soil structure becomes weak, it collapses and opens a hole.

Sinkholes can also take place during construction or operational activities. They can form because of drilling or excavation, unexpected water release or poor compaction.

When analyzing the root cause, a careful input from qualified geotechnical engineers is needed. This is best guided by an Engineering Loss Adjuster as such analysis can be expensive and require site sampling.

If indemnity is awarded for such losses and the design engineer is responsible for the losses, then the extent of those losses and the delineation of what is damage to property will require careful review.

In these instances, an improvement to the design may be needed, in addition to the rectification of damage. Such improvements may also require expensive earthworks, while an engineering understanding of what must be done is crucial to determine what the cost to pay could be.

When Lawyers and Adjusters work as a team then the benefits to Insurers and their clients will include enhanced commercial relationships, reduced costs, maximum efficiency and an overall user friendly experience

CTA concludes.