What is settlement

Settlement is downwards movement of the foundations of a home or property.


Settlement is downwards movement of the foundations of a home or property.

It may occur over some or all of the foundations of a building.  Subsidence is another word which actually means the same thing.  To the lay-person, downward movement of the foundations may sound alarming but in reality all building of all sizes, from your two storey house to a forty storey office building, will experience subsidence or settlement.  Problems arise, though, when the amount of settlement exceeds what is acceptable and causes cracking or occurs more in some areas of the property than others. 

A good deal of London and the Home Counties have homes and properties that are  supported on the natural clay ground that lies across the much of  the region.  However, clay is not an entirely stable material due to how it changes its behaviour under different moisture conditions.  As clay is impermeable, if water is added or removed from one particular area such that the moisture content of the clay changes, then that effect will be very localised and an adjacent area of clay will not experience any of the same changes.

If we have a dry summer, then the water content in the ground will reduce and this will happen more in areas more exposed to the elements.  An example of this might be the ground outside your house rather than the ground directly under your house.  Alternatively, a tree might be drawing water from the soil directly around it. 

The clay in these area will shrink as it becomes dryer, withdrawing away from the foundations above.  As it withdraws, the foundation will follow it under the force of gravity, so the foundation will move downwards.  This downwards movement is the settlement or subsidence.  It happens to all buildings but becomes a problem when the extent or location of the downwards movement is problematic.

As leading structural engineers with extensive experience in this field, Structures-Made-Easy can inspect your home or property and report on whether such issues have arisen and how best they might be addressed.

If you would like to discuss further please feel free to contact us using our email support@structures-made-easy.co.uk or call us on 0207 965 7376

Case studies

View Project

Acton 02 Ealing West London W3

Domestic conversion and extension.

View Project

Chiswick 01 Hounslow West London W3

Domestic conversion, extension and loft conversion.

View Project

Acton 01 Ealing West London W3

Domestic refurbishment and extension with internal alterations including Chimney removal

View Project

Brent 01 London NW10

Domestic ground floor side extension to outrigger of a terrace house.


Why choose us?

With over 3000 successfully completed projects to date, we have consistently proven ourselves to be a leader in the industry. From design cross check procedures to quality control measures, we will ensure your project is completed to your exact specifications.

100% Success in Building Regs

Fully Qualified SE

Transparent Fees

Practical & Efficient Designs

Clear Advice

Fast Turnaround

We make all our processes as simple as
possible giving you peace of mind

quote icon orange


Get a quote. Refer to enquiry form or email or speak to engineer

Inspection icon orange


Arrange site inspection

Report delivered icon orange


Report delivered