ILC ARTICLE

Subsidence claims – the main blocks and challenges


During the second part of the session entitled, ‘What are the main blocks and challenges?’, a panel of contractors shared their insights around the key sticking points adding time and complexity to subsidence claims.

Contributing to discussions were: Liam Hanlon, Managing Director, The Forshaw Group and Chair of The Subsidence Forum; Steve Wright, Head of Technical Services, GHC Solutions; Alan Perry, Technical Director, Restek; and Ron Mace, Director, Shire UK.

Unsurprisingly, many of the issues they raised were the same as those previously expressed by the insurer and loss adjuster experts and chief among them was the question of skills.

Liam revealed that construction will need 225,000 new workers by 2027 to meet demand. He said a lack of apprenticeship opportunities was limiting new talent entering the sector, but added that reducing apprenticeships from five to two years has meant many new starters join the industry without the necessary knowledge.

He also pointed out that only 19% of construction workers are under the age of 25, a point which was echoed by Steve.

Steve said, “We have to generate new people and new skills. There is no two ways about it. We’re an aging workforce and a lot of people won’t be in the industry in five or 10 years’ time. Who is coming behind them?”

Decision-making

Good information to enable quick decisions was also identified as an integral part of removing blockages and processing subsidence claims in a quick and efficient way.

Ron said, “The key is making sure we get the right information so we can review a claim and give the right information back. It might even be that no repairs are needed. We don’t need to rush out and underpin everything. Even if there has been structural movement, it might be very small. So why repair it?”

He said it was about education; having the expertise to identify a complex claim and the wider knowledge to select the right person for the right project.

Steve agreed, “You can’t treat every claim the same way. Every claim is different technically, geographically, and because of the different personalities of the policyholders, so if it doesn’t start off on the right path it will go off the rails. That’s why receiving the right advice at the right stage is so important.”

But, as with all industries, people deal with people and collaboration and trust is one area where improvements need to be made.

Alan Perry concluded, “Expectations vary from insurer to loss adjuster to customer, so managing those expectations is key. Early involvement can help, but there can be a trust issue there with insurers not accepting that a lot of contractors have the specialist knowledge in house.”

ILC’s Specialist Subsidence Conference 2024 took place at the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) Coventry on Thursday, 7 March in front of about 230 attendees.

The event was headline sponsored by Optera Structural Solutions, supported by Gold Sponsors Geobear, Shire Structures Ltd and Restek UK Ltd; and Silver Sponsors Courtesy Kitchens & Bathrooms, Flawless Soil Testing, Innovation Group, Leviat Ltd, Mainmark, Sedgwick and Vivre Stays Ltd.

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