London has the highest property prices in the UK. According to the latest figures from the Land Registry released on 30th March 2016 the average price of a home in the capital is an amazing £530,368. There is a great deal of demand for homes and investment properties in the capital, yet supply is still lagging.

With such high prices many people are making the choice to extend their homes rather than moving to new ones. There are countless projects going on throughout London, including loft conversions, side and rear extensions, and even basement excavations. Whenever a structure is altered it is essential that the work is done to a high standard and the property is suitably supported throughout the course of the job. A lack of adequate support during renovations and alterations may result in unstable buildings and a higher risk of collapses.

A couple in Finchley, North London unfortunately discovered how true this is when their home collapsed in November 2012. Work had begun a few weeks earlier to transform the basement of their ground floor flat into two additional bedrooms and a bathroom. Without adequate propping in place, the foundations cracked under the pressure, and the side wall collapsed against their neighbour’s property. Luckily nobody was harmed, but the home had to be demolished following the collapse.

The building firm was subsequently judged to bear responsibility for the disaster and were ordered to pay damages, but they went bust and the money has still not been paid. The couple is now facing a bill up to £1 million, including £318,000 to pay the council for the demolition of the property and huge legal fees.

In the ideal scenario, the building would have been securely propped up while the work on the basement was taking place. This would have provided the temporary stability the structure needed while suitable permanent loading bearing structures such as walls, columns and beams were installed. Props and supports should always be placed before any other work begins to ensure that the stability of the home is not compromised at any point.

At Denon Construction we specialise in structural propping within renovation and building projects, and have provided bespoke structural support systems for many projects including basement conversions. We understand the importance of maintaining excellent stability of the structure and will deliver a first rate service that all clients can rely on.