How can industry move towards a greener way of working?

Mainmark’s Technical Sales Engineer, David Hedley BEng (Hons), discusses the key issues currently facing the UK building, construction and infrastructure industries.

 The construction industry is known for its heavy use of natural resources, which is often an unavoidable part of the process. However, as the UK Government becomes more conscious of climate change and its impact on the world there is an increasing drive to re-think the way we build and re-design the built environment.

The construction industry has come together to call for the government’s ‘Build Back Better’ slogan to pave the way for investment into smarter carbon conscious building projects and for the opportunity to improve existing buildings and infrastructure. The budget announcement on the 3rd March confirmed this priority with the first ever UK infrastructure bank being set up to finance public and private sector green industrial revolution projects and consumers are being offered the chance to put their savings towards supporting green projects. This is the opportunity for a real turning point, but barriers still remain.

What are the current barriers to greener construction?

One way to reduce the impact of construction projects is to focus on repairing and remediating rather than re-building. But, remediation to existing structures is often seen as a labour intensive task and traditional methods such as demolition and rebuilding are preferred. Becoming more sustainable requires a change in mind-set, to think about the kind of innovation and technologies  available, to operate more efficiently with less negative environmental impact and with an aim to restore, not re-build, where possible.

This mind-set is not limited to the building sector, as we see this issue frequently in UK infrastructure as well. According to the Asphalt Industry Association (AIA), over 40% of the local road networks in the UK require maintenance within the next year and the cost to deliver these repairs continue to outweigh the budget set aside by the government. The result is often a quick patchwork fix which does not eliminate the problem at its root cause and therefore can require attention multiple times. This is not the best way to keep costs down and cut carbon emissions, and as an industry we need to look at addressing these issues at the root cause to create longevity in our built environment, and truly ‘Build Back Better.’

Time and resources

Construction projects often require the use of heavy plant equipment which take time to operate and emit CO2 in the process. While work is underway to look at ways to power plant and equipment differently, such as Hydrogen powered diggers, we still need to take this opportunity to think differently about the way we undertake projects.

Around half of all non-renewable resources we consume are used in construction, yet modern methods of working can be more sustainable. It is essential that we re-use more of our materials in the process, remediate rather than re-build and use fewer raw materials, eliminating the reliance on complex and often international supply chains that have their own unique challenges.

At Mainmark this is something we strongly believe in. Our resin injection solution Teretek® is used in the process of building and infrastructure remediation and is a sustainable and responsible solution that focuses on preservation rather than replacement. It reduces the need for invasive, lengthy traditional ‘underpinning’ works, that create environmental challenges in the methods used.  It does not affect groundwater, soil quality, or local wildlife – making the process environmentally inert.

For more information about Mainmark and its solutions please visit: https://mainmark.co.uk/


By David Hedley

David Hedley is a Technical Sales Engineer at ground engineering specialist Mainmark UK. With a civil engineering degree and over eight years’ experience in the ground engineering sector David is an expert in road infrastructure and efficient highway maintenance, specialising in repairs using geopolymer injection.

Introducing Victor Chirilas, Director, Mainmark UK

Victor Chirilas

At Mainmark, one of our biggest strengths is our incredible team of experienced professionals. We pride ourselves on recognising staff potential and promoting from within where possible. Victor Chirilas, one of the directors of our UK division, is a great example of this.

Victor joined Mainmark as a Technician in Australia 11 years ago, during the great Sydney sandstorm and has been delivering our solutions around the world ever since. having delivered our TeretekÒ geopolymer resin injection solution in Australia for a couple of years, Victor then spent just over four years working in New Zealand, split between the roles of Site Supervisor and Project Supervisor/Manager leading our JOG Computer-Controlled Grouting capability in the field, before heading to the UK in late 2016. When the Mainmark business in the UK began to expand, Victor was among the first on-board as Operations Manager. Last year, he took on the role as a Director at Mainmark UK, along with his colleague Robbie Blanchfield, and is now helping to lead the team toward a bright future.

We recently sat down with Victor to find out more about him, his work, and his vision for the future.

Tell us a bit more about your background and your role at Mainmark?

I have always been a mechanically minded and process-driven person but with my background in technical and media studies, I also have a keen eye for visual imagery. This really suits my role at Mainmark as am comfortable both on and off the tools.

I was born in Romania and grew up in Sweden before moving to Australia in 2009 where I started my journey with Mainmark, as part of the delivery team on site.  I worked on many Teretek resin projects across Australia before moving to join the Mainmark team in New Zealand, gaining more experience on a range of significant projects.

I have enjoyed working on larger residential properties and commercial buildings, and a particular highlight for me was working on the remediation of the Christchurch Art Gallery which was badly shaken by the earthquakes that hit New Zealand’s South Island in 2010 and 2011. As the foundation ground suffered quite severe liquefaction, the 33,000 tonne building lost ground support. The Art Gallery’s footings sank unevenly across the 6,500m2 footprint of the building. Subsidence was as great as 182mm in some places.

We were able to re-support and re-level the structure all while staff continued to occupy the building. You can read about the project in full here.

Can you tell us what a typical day looks like for you in your current role?

I am always focussing on the bigger picture and the ambitious growth plans we have for our UK division. This involves developing the people we have, our processes and procedures, to create an environment where people can thrive and deliver excellent results for our clients.

No two days are the same which makes it interesting, exciting and challenging all at the same time. My day-to-day tasks range from, sales and project support, equipment R&D, HR and marketing support. I juggle this while developing new and existing client relationships and always looking ahead at the bigger picture to meet our targets and focus on business development. From my early morning cup of coffee and brisk afternoon walks, to late catch ups with our overseas colleagues, it all helps to keep the focus that is needed to reach our goals.

What would you like Mainmark to do more of as a business in the UK?

We’re always looking to build on our portfolio in the commercial sector and grow our influence in the wider construction sector as a whole.

In the B2C residential space we know that we have a competitive solution for general subsidence problems that occur, and one of our aims is to become a household name when it comes to subsidence repairs.

Because our techniques can be applied in all sectors and are scalable to meet the demands of almost any project it makes it very exciting to be part of leading this organisation into the future.

How does the UK work differ to the projects you have been involved in Australia and New Zealand?

Oh, the lack of parking! In all seriousness, the work we do in the UK is often located in densely populated areas where space is limited. This means logistically we need to be more agile and re-think how we deliver our services. Mainmark’s solutions already take a very modular approach, but we’ve had to take this a step further. For example, in the UK we had to develop a way to make our solutions even more mobile by delivering our Teretek resin injection solution from smaller bespoke vehicles. 

What do you hope to achieve in the next few years as one of the recently appointed Directors at Mainmark UK?

My main goal as one of the UK Directors is to focus on sustainable growth in markets that are ready for the services we provide. I would like us to continue to develop into different markets where we can share our global expertise, for instance in the infrastructure sector. Aside from furthering our core offerings to a wider audience, we also have several more technologies yet to be deployed. This brings great excitement to what the future will hold for the UK team.

With this said a key goal for the business and for me personally, is to continue investing in our people to develop the talent we have, as well as providing opportunities to grow and to bring more people into the Mainmark family.

What’s the most rewarding aspect of the role?

We’re all really passionate about what we do here, so seeing people around me develop and become effective within their roles and establishing great careers within Mainmark, is definitely the most rewarding aspect for me. Together we can achieve great things.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I have a range of interests outside of work, I am a keen photographer, I enjoy podcasts with a coffee in hand and naturally with an engineering mindset, I also like building things and working with cars – there’s usually a ‘project’ on the driveway or in the garage!

I also like to travel but due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation that’s been put on hold for the time being. I’m really looking forward to being able to get back out again soon, but until then a cold beer with some rock music on the garage stereo keeps me happy while I work away.


Victor Chirilas

Victor is one of the Directors at Mainmark UK, with over 10 years’ experience in project management and construction management. Having joined Mainmark in 2009, he has managed projects in Australia, the UK and New Zealand including the remediation of the Christchurch Art Gallery which was shaken by the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes that hit New Zealand’s South Island, the old Bank of New Zealand building in Kaiapoi and Ultima Furniture’s warehouse in the UK.

Issues Facing the UK’s Road and Infrastructure Networks

The UK’s road and infrastructure network is in constant need of upkeep and traditional remediation methods are often too slow to keep our networks running in a timely, cost-efficient manner. This ultimately leads to much public frustration and loss of confidence in our Government’s ability to, quite literally, take us where we want to go. Mainmark’s Technical Sales Engineer, David Hedley BEng (Hons), discusses the key issues currently facing UK infrastructure.

Whilst we would all like users to feel comfortable and safe using our country’s infrastructure, from motorways to airports, it is no small job to ensure this is the case. Through collaboration and innovation, there is no reason why we shouldn’t be able to find long-term solutions to the problems at hand; to rebuild and sustain the public’s trust in our infrastructure networks.

Maintaining roads and other infrastructure networks – such as railways, ports, airports and bridges – and ensuring that they are durable enough to stand the test of time is no small task. From increased dynamic loads and harsh weather conditions to ground subsidence and settlement, there are plenty of factors that can affect the structural integrity of the systems we rely on every day.

These causes can all lead to a wide variety of issues that, in-turn, require effort and expertise to overcome. There are five key issues facing our country’s infrastructure, and solving them is vital to keep the UK’s road and infrastructure networks safe, stable and sustainable.

Structural foundation damage

It might seem obvious, but one of the biggest issues facing our road and infrastructure systems is the ongoing deterioration and damage to their foundations. Over 40% of the local road network in the UK is classed as AMBER or RED by the Asphalt Industry Association (AIA), meaning they require maintenance within the next year. At their current state, however, it is estimated that it would take up to 14 years to return all local roads in the UK to a stable condition [1]. This might take the form of fixing cracked pavements, stabilising uneven ground or repairing leaking concrete road slab joints, to name just a few. These often tend to be the symptoms of more complex, underlying causes that require attention and remediation at the root.

Increased maintenance costs

When faced with problems like un-level or unstable ground, those responsible for the maintenance of our road and infrastructure networks in the UK often face worryingly high costs for repair. Recent reports suggest a backlog of repair works worth £11 billion currently exists across the UK [2]. Even so, the Government budget for tackling road repairs over the next five years sits at just £2.5 million. It is an unfortunate truth that most traditional methods of remediating subsidence and settlement tend to be very expensive and thus create an additional hurdle to solving these issues.

Increased accidents

When roads and other infrastructure needs repair, the risk of accidents, and other safety issues occurring, tend to increase exponentially. In a worst-case scenario, ground instability, potholes and even sink holes can lead to serious damage or injury. These are some of the most serious issues caused by foundation ground deterioration and the most in most urgent need of a sustainable solution.

Disruptions to daily operations

A bothersome side-effect of carrying out the works necessary to remediate structural damage that has affected roads and other infrastructure, for example bridges and culverts, is that most traditional methods are both time-consuming and cause mess. More often than not, they lead to disruptions in the day-to-day operations of the network and can be a huge burden on the transportation system, such as when roads need to be re-routed. Inefficient travel and more time spent in traffic not only affects our daily lives but also has an impact on the economy.

Losing public trust

It is sadly common for the general public to lose trust in the widespread road and infrastructure systems they use every day. By using traditional repair and remediation methods for roads, railways ports and bridges, the process is often costly, causing greater delays and disruptions.


By David Hedley

David Hedley is a Technical Sales Engineer at ground engineering specialist Mainmark UK. With a civil engineering degree and over eight years’ experience in the ground engineering sector David is an expert in road infrastructure and efficient highway maintenance, specialising in repairs using geopolymer injection.

Collaborating with trades to remediate properties

Cracked walls, uneven floors, footpaths, driveways, jammed windows and unaligned doors can all be signs of potential problems with foundation ground. Homeowners who spot these problems around their home often start by calling upon tradespeople to help restore their home to its original condition.

However, as these issues often require a more technical engineered solution, Mainmark is frequently called upon to help. Mainmark’s Teretek® non-invasive resin injection solution is frequently used as a cost-effective way to improve ground-bearing capacity and to re-level buildings that have been impacted by foundation subsidence issues.

Consultation and referral between the homeowner, Mainmark, and speciality trades (such as landscapers, plasterers, plumbers and builders) may take place either before or after ground improvement works have been completed, with different trades each playing an important role in the remediation process.

Following are a few examples of the types of ground issues different trades might encounter when undertaking residential remediation projects.

Landscapers and arborists:

Landscapers can help assess soil conditions at a property while arborists can identify trees with potentially invasive root systems that may be contributing to blocked drains and cracked water pipes. These can all be causes of a home’s foundation ground subsiding. However, trees can also be beneficial for drawing up excess moisture from the ground, so removing trees can sometimes lead to differential soil movement. Homeowners can be guided by a landscaper to help ensure trees are planted at an appropriate distance from the home, driveways, patios and footpaths to ensure this doesn’t become an issue. Landscapers can also provide guidance on suitable retaining walls for different zones around the home and the impact that any new paving may have on site-drainage.

Plumbers:

Leaking sewers and water main pipes can weaken a home’s foundations, which is why it’s critical to catch signs of a leaking pipe or cracked drain as early as possible. If not treated it could lead to homes subsiding at different points, or indeed over their entire property. Damaged or unconnected downpipes and overflowing gutters can also cause complications as soils wash away. This is why engaging a licensed plumber at the first sign of a leak, who knows what to look for, can help avoid longer-term ground problems and significant structural damage.

Builders, plasterers and painters:

Wall cracks are a common first sign of potential foundation movement under a home. Therefore, it’s important that homeowners avoid painting or patching plaster over a crack without investigating the underlying issue first. A professional builder can help homeowners differentiate between minor cracks and possible symptoms of a more serious structural issue. Small hairline cracks are usually the result of seasonal expansion and contraction of soils beneath the building over time. These are generally not a cause for concern and can be patched with a flexible filler and repainted. Problematic wall cracks, however, will typically start at windows, doorways or corners of buildings, and they are usually wider than 5mm (about the thickness of a little finger).

Homeowners can take action to help fix large cracks like these, which have been caused by ground subsidence, by re-levelling the home’s foundations. This can be done using a non-invasive method such as Mainmark’s Teretek® resin injection solution. While this will generally result in wall cracks narrowing or closing up, the area may still need cosmetic finishing with the help of a plasterer or painter. With brickwork, some re-pointing or mortar joints may be required, and with plaster or render walls, some patching and repainting is often needed as well.

Maintaining and restoring homes that have been impacted by foundation issues is often a team effort and the type of trades required to support remediation work will depend on the underlying cause. Mainmark has raised, re-levelled and re-supported homes and other residential buildings across the globe for more than 25 years. Providing fast, cost-effective and non-invasive alternatives to traditional underpinning methods, with our experienced team working collaboratively with other trade professionals to help complete the remediation of many homes.


By Robbie Blanchfield

Robbie is the Commercial Manager at Mainmark UK, with over 10 years’ experience in the construction and civil industries across the world, including UK, Ireland, North America, Australia and New Zealand. Experienced in both risk management and contracting, he has been involved in many civil and infrastructure projects including the remediation of the Christchurch Art Gallery which was shaken by the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes that hit New Zealand’s South Island, the old Bank of New Zealand building in Kaiapoi and Ultima Furniture’s warehouse in the UK.

The application of JOG Computer-Controlled Grouting

JOG drones commercial

Mainmark’s JOG Computer-Controlled Grouting is a unique, award-winning multi-point cementitious grouting process which is used to lift structures and achieve level correction. This process is scalable and allows for structures of all sizes to be raised and re-levelled effectively, capable of lifts in excess of one metre.

Developed utilising over 25 years of global experience, the process uses a high-mobility cementitious grout mix; it does not affect ground water and is environmentally neutral. It is an extremely precise method for stabilising soils, consolidating weak ground and lifting foundations to deliver specific, engineered outcomes, regardless of complexity.

Further benefits include:

  • Little or no excavation needed, only small injection holes 25 or 40mm wide
  • Little or no mess, noise or vibration during the process
  • Quick procedure with millimetre accuracy
  • Buildings can remain occupied during the re-levelling process

JOG in action

To showcase how the JOG Computer-Controlled Grouting process can be utilised in building projects, we will focus four key projects from small to large.


Holy Trinity Church – subsided by: 26mm

The annex to this historic Anglican Church had subsided by up to 26mm, causing it to separate from the main building. Mainmark’s JOG technology allowed for a more controlled and precise lift, which is critical for delicate buildings. Crucially, the majority of the equipment and grout was located away from the injection area and was delivered to the injection points via a sequence of hoses, avoiding excessive intrusion to the grounds.

A total of five injection points were used to lift the structure at its lowest point, closing the cracks and improving ground conditions. The work was completed within a two-day period.


Residential Property – subsided by: 82mm

A two-storey brick house was sloping, leading to uneven subsidence by as much as 82mm in the lowest position.  Access to the house was via a shared driveway that was narrow and sloping, meaning Mainmark had to configure all its equipment within a small lorry and then use that as a work platform to make the most of the limited space available.

Mainmark’s JOG method was the least disruptive option available to the homeowner because it did not require any structural demolition, removal or reinstatement of landscaping. Using JOG, Mainmark lifted the 64m2 home by as much as 82mm in just five days.


Coffee Production Facility – subsided by: 120mm

The ground underneath a South London business unit had weakened, resulting in the integrity of the building being compromised.

Multiple injection ports were installed through the concrete foundation and structural pads along the subsided section of the building, through which the JOG cementitious grout was introduced under computer control. The spacing and placement of the injection ports were tailored to accommodate the structural elements of the foundation, while the grout was mixed and pumped from just outside the unit’s main entrance.

The facility remained in operation during the entire re-levelling process and ground improvement was provided by Teretek® injection at various depths. Despite limited space the structure was successfully re-levelled by 138mm within 11 days while leaving the neighbouring property unaffected.


Ultima Furniture – subsided by: 353mm

A kitchen manufacturer recently purchased a large 3,700m2 warehouse in Pontefract which was built on 20m of made ground in an area that had a history of mining activity.

The facility was experiencing subsidence and the building tilted severely towards the rear.

During the preceding 10-15 years, the building had subsided by 353mm below its original level, making it unsafe for workers.

The building owner was considering two main solutions: demolition and rebuild; or ground remediation to re-level the building and help arrest the subsidence.

Mainmark’s JOG technology was chosen (in combination with Mainmark’s Teretek resin injection solution) as this would allow for the desired outcome with minimal intrusion to the building. This method also allowed a portion of the building to be used by the client during the lifting process.

The project was completed in a time-efficient and cost-effective manner, well within agreed budgets and timeframes, achieving a maximum lift of 325mm.


By Victor Chirilas

Victor is the Operations Manager at Mainmark UK, with over 10 years’ experience in project management and construction management. Having joined Mainmark in 2009, he has managed projects in Australia, the UK and New Zealand including the remediation of the Christchurch Art Gallery which was shaken by the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes that hit New Zealand’s South Island, the old Bank of New Zealand building in Kaiapoi and Ultima Furniture’s warehouse in the UK.

The importance of being able to lift a building, and how it’s done

jog inside industrial factory

Subsidence compromises the integrity of a building. While concrete underpinning and ground improvement can help to slow or stop a building from subsiding further, sometimes this is not enough.

In warehouse and manufacturing environments for example, it is crucial that a building is level and stable to ensure the safety of the facility. Therefore, raising and re-levelling a building can be a necessity.

Why is re-levelling so important?

Uneven or sloping floors immediately create trip and fall hazards, while also affecting the stability of walkways, gantries and elevated work platforms. This greatly affects the ability for workers to carry out routine tasks safely. A sinking floor often indicates that the building’s foundations need reinforcement or remediation, which is particularly important when the floor needs to support the weight of heavy machinery. In warehouse and manufacturing environments, it is crucial to the safe operation of forklifts, pallet jacks, cranes and delivery lorries that the floor is stable and flat.

A subsiding building also adds adverse stress to walls and roof structure leading to longer-term issues if not addressed. Aside from this, it also has an adverse impact on the value of the building.

How to safely raise and re-level a building

Lifting a building is not a straightforward task as many variables come into play. Often, structural engineers opt for traditional concrete underpinning, as a way to mitigate the risk of ‘over-lifting’ which can be damaging. To re-level a building accurately and safely, engineers need a precise degree of control.

Mainmark implements its highly precise and effective JOG Computer-Controlled Grouting technology, which makes it possible to substantially lift a building’s foundations, back to level, while not impacting the surrounding area, this degree of accuracy is crucial. To achieve this, multiple small injection ports are installed throughout the foundations of a building and along the structural pads of the subsided section. Through these ports, JOG high mobility cementitious grout is injected slowly, under precise monitoring. Injection takes place via multiple ports a few seconds at a time, to gently raise the structure in a uniform and incremental way, effectively “floating” the structure, a millimetre at a time.

The monitoring data from the manual or robotic system is fed back to the controller who alters the program in the computer and directs the flow of grout to the individual injection ports.

In some cases, to successfully lift a building safely and accurately, a two-pronged approach may be needed. Mainmark’s proprietary Teretek resin injection solution can be used to fill any voids, raise the floor level or provide additional ground improvement below or around the JOG injection area. Teretek is unique in that it delivers both ground improvement and re-levelling with a fast, non-invasive process likened to key-hole surgery. As with JOG, constant monitoring of the process ensures that it is successful.

Mainmark | JOG and Teretek® used to raise and re-level a 3,700m2 warehouse in Pontefract

For more information on structural and subsidence concerns or to arrange a free site visit and assessment visit: https://mainmark.co.uk/


By Victor Chirilas

Victor is the Operations Manager at Mainmark UK, with over 10 years’ experience in project management and construction management. Having joined Mainmark in 2009, he has managed projects in Australia, the UK and New Zealand including the remediation of the Christchurch Art Gallery which was shaken by the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes that hit New Zealand’s South Island, the old Bank of New Zealand building in Kaiapoi and Ultima Furniture’s warehouse in the UK.

Wall cracks in your home – 3 signs to look out for and how to address them

Wall cracks are common in UK houses. In most cases they are not necessarily a reason for concern, but some cracks can indicate more significant issues. When identifying the cause, seriousness and possible solutions for cracks in a home, the type, size and location are critical.

If the underlying cause of problematic wall cracks isn’t addressed, such as damage to a building’s foundations from subsidence, the property could quickly devalue and affect insurance premiums.

When do wall cracks indicate a structural problem?

Small, hairline cracks are common and not usually concerning. These are often the result of seasonable expansion and contraction of soils beneath a structure’s foundations over time. These types of cracks can usually be easily patched over and repainted.

However, larger cracks that display the following characteristics may indicate weaknesses in your property’s foundation and mean that you should seek expert advice:

  • Large cracks that start at windows, doorways or corners of buildings
  • Cracks are wider than about 5mm (or half a centimetre)
  • Cracks that are jagged, horizontal or vertical, zig-zagged, stepped in brickwork, or follow mortar lines

Pay attention to other warning signs such as sinking or sloping floors, cracks in paths and driveways as these may be signs of structural issues caused by subsidence. Windows and doors becoming jammed or misaligned, skirting boards separating from the wall or the formation of puddles around the perimeter of your home may also indicate foundation ground issues.

How to fix large cracks in the wall

The best long-term solution for fixing large cracks is to re-support your home. This process is called ‘underpinning’. Solutions to consider include traditional methods like concrete underpinning, or non-invasive resin injection, which is comparatively much faster and usually more cost effective.

Before choosing a solution, the first step should always be to consult an expert such as a structural engineer to assess the cause of the cracks and recommend a solution. The types of underpinning methods are:

The traditional method

This involves excavating or digging up parts of the foundation, pouring in concrete, waiting for it to set and then lifting the house off the concrete blocks. However, this method can be:

  • time consuming (often requiring weeks or months)
  • usually means you’ll have to vacate your home while tradespeople work
  • disruptive to yourself and neighbours
  • messy and intrusive

The modern method – Teretek® resin injection

In a process very similar to keyhole surgery, an expanding Teretek® resin solution is injected under the home’s foundations through very small holes. The resin expands to fill in voids and compact weak ground, exerting controlled pressure to help raise the home back towards level. The benefits of this are:

  • usually completed within a few hours; rarely takes more than a day
  • doesn’t require you to move out
  • requires no digging and therefore no mess
  • can be completed around furniture and floor coverings
  • often carried out from outside the house, so it doesn’t interrupt day to day life

As the building is brought up towards level, the cracks may close or become smaller (plaster or render walls can then be patched and repainted). Windows and doors will also usually begin to work properly again.

Mainmark’s Teretek® resin injection technology is a tried-and-tested, quick and reliable method for underpinning homes as seen in this Oxford home. For more information and advice, please call 0800 9750507 or visit www.mainmark.com/uk

Injecting new life into ground improvement

underpinning banner

Most subsidence issues in the UK are created by unstable ground, often caused by extreme weather conditions such as hot, dry summers and heavy rainfall or flooding. Other factors such as leaking pipes, vegetation with invasive roots, loosely packed soils or old landfill sites, excavation work and inferior concrete foundations can also be sources of subsidence.

Common signs of subsidence around your home are:

  • Cracks in walls larger than 5mm
  • Sinking or sloping floors
  • Doors and windows that won’t close

Minor cracks alone may not necessarily be a cause for concern, but larger cracks can be a sign of something more serious and should not be ignored. Cracks which are wider than 5mm, or zigzag/stepped cracks in brickwork which usually follow the mortar lines, are indicators of possible structural problems.

While the anticipated cost to arrest subsidence and rectify foundation damage may seem prohibitive, if the signs are ignored, costs will increase over time as the situation worsens and not addressing the issue could even devalue the property. The two most popular methods of resolving foundation subsidence issues are traditional concrete underpinning and modern resin injection. Both are proven methods, yet involve very different procedures.

Concrete underpinning: an expensive, labour intensive process

Historically, concrete underpinning has been the most common method for strengthening a building’s foundations and fixing subsidence. This tried and tested method has been used for more than 100 years. However, it is a costly and time intensive process that can take weeks or months to complete. It’s also inconvenient for homeowners, who are generally required to vacate their home while the work is being completed.

The basic premise of concrete underpinning is to increase the depth of the structure’s foundation to extend it to stronger soil. To achieve this, large holes are dug beneath the structure and concrete is poured into the spaces in accordance with the project specific plan. This process essentially creates new foundations underneath the original, to further stabilise the structure. Depending on the extent of the issue, homeowners will also need to consult with engineers and gain appropriate council permits before commencing the underpinning work which can add weeks to the project. Once work begins, cement trucks and other heavy vehicles will need to transport concrete, tools and machinery onto the site, adding further disruption. Homeowners may also find that existing plants and landscaping around the home’s perimeter are damaged.

Resin injection: a faster, smarter, less-invasive solution

A more modern method is resin injection.  Used globally for over 20 years, this non-invasive solution is able to remediate homes affected by subsidence in significantly less time than traditional concrete underpinning.

This process involves injecting resin into the existing foundations through small incisions made in the ground, typically only 16mm in diameter from outside a home. The resin then flows into the soil and expands, compressing the surrounding soils while filling voids and cracks.

Mainmark’s proprietary Teretek® engineered resin injection solution is a proven, cost-effective and quick alternative compared to the invasive traditional underpinning methods. Using a process similar to keyhole surgery, the work can often be completed in one day. It is widely used to strengthen foundation ground, and to raise, re-level and re-support buildings in residential, commercial, industrial, mining and infrastructure projects.

Resin injection strengthens and improves the ground beneath a structure. By using Mainmark’s Teretek resin injection solution, homeowners will usually see immediate results:

  • Windows and doors will begin to work properly again
  • Gaps between skirting boards and sunken floors will realign
  • Cracks in walls will begin to close up

For more information regarding resin injection, please visit mainmark.com/uk/technology/teretek/


By Victor Chirilas

Victor is the Operations Manager at Mainmark UK, with over 10 years’ experience in project management and construction management. Having joined Mainmark in 2009, he has managed projects in Australia, the UK and New Zealand including the remediation of the Christchurch Art Gallery which was shaken by the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes that hit New Zealand’s South Island, the old Bank of New Zealand building in Kaiapoi and Ultima Furniture’s warehouse in the UK.

How non-invasive solutions gave an international courier’s warehouse an extensive foundation lift

How non-invasive solutions gave an international courier’s warehouse an extensive foundation lift

Sinking Feeling

An international courier was faced with a subsidence problem at its warehouse facility in Northamptonshire. The warehouse’s office building (20m x 15m) had sunk by 70mm due to subsidence and was causing safety risks and operational issues. The ground needed to be strengthened and the building raised and re-levelled to ensure the business could operate safely.

Mainmark was chosen as the principal contractor for this ground improvement project, thanks to our market leading ground improvement solutions and extensive experience working with large commercial warehouses, as well as our range of advanced technologies offering non-invasive, cost-effective and time-efficient solutions. We needed to complete work quickly and with no business interruption, using our specialist non-invasive solutions.

We used a bespoke combination of our JOG Computer-Controlled Grouting (JOG) technology, offering a greater level of precision and control, and our proprietary Teretek® resin injection, a non-invasive solution able to deliver both ground improvement and re-levelling to help lift the office building, with no business disruption whatsoever.

What was Mainmark’s methodology?

Before commencing ground improvement and re-levelling works, Mainmark discovered that the main gas pipe was running across the front of the building. Our project team managed the additional risks, ensuring the subsidence rectification works could continue as planned.

To begin the works, multiple injection ports were installed through the concrete pads along the subsided sections of the building. The spacing and placement of the ports were tailored to accommodate the structural elements of the building. Through these ports, JOG high mobility cement grout was injected under computer control. This enabled the Mainmark team to lift the office building gradually and in a precisely controlled manner, moving the building back to its neutral position – all without causing business interruption.

Our Teretek resin injection solution was then used to provide the necessary ground improvement, as well as raise and void-fill under the internal floor slab.

This approach allowed us to tailor work around the client’s busy periods, ensuring successful management of noise levels, completing the project with minimal disruption to the day-to-day business.

Outcome:

In just 27 days, Mainmark was able to raise the building by 57mm, with the ground improved to the required specification. The repair work has provided a long-term solution for the ground issues, ensuring the safety and efficiency of the courier’s warehouse operations.

To find out more about this project and how we solve subsidence, settlement and ground stabilisation challenges, view the project profile online or call 0800 9750507.


By Victor Chirilas

Victor is the Operations Manager at Mainmark UK, with over 10 years’ experience in project management and construction management. Having joined Mainmark in 2009, he has managed projects in Australia, the UK and New Zealand including the remediation of the Christchurch Art Gallery which was shaken by the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes that hit New Zealand’s South Island, the old Bank of New Zealand building in Kaiapoi and Ultima Furniture’s warehouse in the UK.