A closer look at property damage caused by ground vibration — II

Back in February, our blog spent some time examining how even though people might not realize it, their property can be severely damaged through the ground vibration generated by the sustained use of everything from pile drivers and dump trucks to delivery vehicles and other heavy construction equipment.

We also examined how those builders, demolition crews or other outfits that engage in this type of work could drastically reduce the possibility of structural damage by taking a few relatively simple steps. In today’s post, we’ll continue this discussion by exploring the types of damage that structures can sustain when these simple steps aren’t implemented.

Cosmetic damage

When people hear the term cosmetic damage, they might envision damage that is relatively minor in scope and/or or not much of a concern given that it is limited to the aesthetic.

While it’s true that cosmetic damage does have everything to do with appearance, it would be a mistake to think that it’s somehow always minor in scope. Indeed, cosmetic damage caused by ground vibration can include any of the following:

  • Cracks in plaster, drywall or stucco
  • Nail and/or screw “pops” in the walls
  • Cracks in concrete patios, driveways or other slabs
  • Windows and doors becoming misaligned

Structural damage  

As implied by the name, this includes any sort of damage that has the ability to comprise structural integrity. Unlike cosmetic damage, however, structural damage is often not obvious, such that it can only be detected by a trained professional (civil engineer, home inspector, etc.).

Structural damage caused by ground vibration can include everything from shifting foundations to malfunctioning mechanical systems (air conditioning units, furnaces, plumbing, etc.).

One important factor to keep in mind is that structural damage isn’t always more expensive to repair than cosmetic damage. Indeed, it’s entirely possible that a considerable degree of the latter can end up costing much more to repair than a limited degree of the former.

We’ll continue to explore this topic further in future posts. In the meantime, if your insurance company is delaying or even denying a claim for vibration damages, it’s important to understand that you do have options.