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Two reasons to have the soil on your plot tested before you build your house

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Before you begin the process of constructing your new home on a plot of land, it's a good idea to have the soil tested. Read on to find out why:

To prevent subsidence and its associated structural problems

Having the plot's soil tested will provide you with insight into its composition (i.e. whether it is made up of loam, sand, etc). This information is extremely important, as the type of soil on which a foundation is built can determine the long-term structural stability of the property.

If for example, the soil has a high quantity of clay in it, there is a good chance that you may end up dealing with structural problems related to subsidence in the future. This is because clay expands in size when exposed to moisture, and contracts as it dries out. This expansion and contraction process can result in the building's foundation sinking into the ground, which, in turn, may cause problems such as warped doors and windows, and cracked walls.

In this scenario, if you discovered that the soil was primarily clay-based before the construction work began, you could potentially replace it with sand or loam (both of are far less prone to expansion in wet conditions), and thus reduce the chances of subsidence issues arising later down the line.

To protect both your family and your property

Soil testing labs can also test for the presence of toxic substances, such as asbestos. Asbestos is a collection of fibrous mineral particles which, when they become airborne and are inhaled, can result in the development of serious respiratory diseases such as lung cancer.

If there is asbestos in your soil, it is crucial to deal with this issue before you begin to build your house. There are two reasons for this; firstly, asbestos underneath the building could potentially pose a risk to you and other household members in the future, particularly if any renovation work is performed which disturbs the contaminated soil below the property.

Secondly, the presence of asbestos in the earth beneath your home would almost certainly have a negative impact on the property's value, as contaminated soil would serve as a major deterrent to potential buyers.

As such, if you suspect there might be asbestos in the soil, it is vital to have it tested long before you start the construction process. Should the test results indicate that this soil is tainted by this substance, don't worry; this issue can be remedied, with the help of a professional that specialises in asbestos soil removal.

Do not be tempted to remove the soil yourself or to allow your building contractor to get rid of it, as doing so could easily lead to people on the site being exposed to the asbestos.

Contact a company that works with asbestos soil removal for more information and assistance.