Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting WO to 80360, or email us
Watford family forced to move from sinking home after burst water main
A Watford family have been forced to move into temporary accommodation after the front of their home sunk into the ground, causing the wall to collapse.
The house in Percy Road sank into the ground after a water main that ran underneath the pavement burst nine months ago.
Haroon Khan, his wife, and four children have had to evacuate their home while the foundations and front bay window are rebuilt.
After repairing the water pipe, water company Affinity Water washed their hands of the damage to the house.
Mr Khan has footed the £17,000 bill himself.
He said: "This has had a dramatic effect on my life. We have had to move to a house in north Watford while the repairs take place."
However, Mr Khan has called upon a structural expert, who claims the damage was caused by the burst pipe and related excavation work.
Mr Khan’s neighbour Ahmed Hussain said: "In January we had no water for three days. After calling Affinity Water a team of engineers was sent out to investigate.
"As soon as they started digging, the house started to sink and when it became obvious the window was going to collapse they put some scaffolding up to hold up the house.
"My house is very damp and there are cracks along the internal walls where the ground has moved."
Donald Leslie and Co, a chartered surveyor, investigated the damage to the early 20th century mid-terrace houses.
It concluded that both buildings have undergone "serious and sudden structural movement".
Due to the age of the houses, both have shallow foundations, making them vulnerable to structural damage caused by changes in the soil around them.
The surveyor identified the leak, and the subsequent excavation, as the cause of the damage.
It read: "A leak of this magnitude would cause the clay soil to liquefy resulting in the kind of sudden structural damage that is displayed in both properties.
"Digging a large hole close to the building under these conditions would make the problem worse."
The surveyor said major structural repairs would be needed, including the complete rebuilding of the front of number six.
An Affinity Water spokesman said: "On January 28, we were alerted to a small leak on a communication pipe outside a customers’ property in Watford which was subsequently fixed. On further investigation, an Affinity Water technician detected a larger, more serious leak on the customers joint supply pipe which it shared with three other properties.
Water companies have a legal responsibility for maintaining pipework up to the boundary of the road or footpath where a water main is located. Leakage on customer supply pipes and internal plumbing is the owner’s responsibility to repair.
In March, we received a complaint from the customer that the leak caused damage to their property.
Our loss adjustors are currently investigating the matter with building surveyors acting on behalf of the customer."
Comments are closed on this article.