Does My House Need Relevelling Or Lifting?

What is house relevelling and lifting?

Relevelling a house involves moving it back to the position it was in during construction. When a house’s subfloors, which may have sunk for a number of reasons, are mechanically raised to adjust their heights, the house has been relevelled. To raise and level the base back to the desired level and height, hydraulic jacks are positioned under the home. At Churchill Street, we completed a project of full relevel of five two-storey units using perimeter and internal hydraulic jacking and underpinning.

House lifting is the procedure of raising a home over its current foundation by a certain level. Your house can be raised based on the specific needs for the elevation and the integrity of the building.

Top four indicators of when house needs relevelling or lifting

To protect your home’s structural integrity, the relevelling and lifting process must be carefully carried out. The project should only be undertaken by house releveling and lifting experts with specialised training due to the intricacy and specialised nature of the work. Hiring CCS will assure you of a quality job is carried out that is second to none. Our projects stand as testaments of our work.

It’s important to contact us if your home starts to show indicators of a failing foundation. For homeowners, this could be when

• gaps between the floor or roof and the walls
• tilting chimneys
• bowed floors
• cracks in the brickwork
• Issues opening and shutting doors or windows

You shouldn’t postpone having your foundations levelled and fixed. Postponing this repair work potentially makes the issue worse over time.

If you detect these clues, your home’s structural strength may be in jeopardy. In this situation, we, as your home relevelling and lifting experts, will advise you on the best approach given the specific circumstances of your house. On one of our projects, in Fairfield Avenue in Christchurch, we completed a full foundation relevelling.

Why does a house get out of level?

Differing settlement causes homes to become unlevelled. The foundation should uniformly immerse itself in the ground when your house is first constructed. The term “differential settlement” refers to when different parts of your house settle at various speeds. Numerous issues arise as a result of this imbalance.

Poor soil conditions: If your foundation was constructed on top of expansive soil, then differential settlement may be a problem. Large amounts of clay are present in expansive soil, which goes through a continuous cycle of swelling and contracting, stressing your foundation. The ground soil expands when it’s moist and contracts when it’s dry.

Materials which are buried: Any buried organic or building material has the potential to decompose over time and leave voids where it once existed. If voids or pockets develop underneath a portion of your house, that portion will settle into those spaces.

Badly compacted/backfilled soil: Before building your house, the builder compacts loose dirt/base course using a steam roller or compactor to strengthen the foundation’s base. The differential settlement could happen if this crucial step was neglected or carried out improperly.

Inadequate drainage: Water entering your soil can lead to a number of issues. Water can wash away different types of soil, leaving gaps behind. Alternatively, expansive earth may swell and push up on your foundation.

Renovations: Adding a second storey to a portion of your property will put more pressure on the soil as well as the foundation. More settling results from the added weight.

Tree roots: Tree roots can eat away at the soil’s moisture content and leave gaps under your foundation.

Soil creep: Soil creep is the lateral movement that occurs against your foundation as a result of soil sliding down a hill.

Natural catastrophes: Natural catastrophes such as earthquakes, droughts, floods, and sinkholes can unquestionably result in uneven settlement.

The piles are damaged and aged: This issue frequently arises when the existing timber piles are kept standing for an excessive amount of time without being replaced, or begin to rot. In this case, the old piles should be removed, and the home could then be raised to the necessary height even before the new pile is put in.

House floor starts sloping downward: In some cases, the house’s timber construction is not strong enough to support the gap in between piles. This can happen because of poor engineering, but more often than not, it happens because of the age of the home and the weak building regulations of the past.

What should you do if your walls and floors are cracked?

Images of our project at Sherborne Street, Christchurch. This project’s property had been damaged in an earthquake and required complete relevelling.

The margins of your ceiling and walls may occasionally develop cracks as your house settles into its base over time. It’s usually not a problem if the cracks you notice in these places are minor or somewhat reminiscent of spiderwebs.

However, cracks in the centre of a room can indicate a more serious issue.

Because they run parallel to the walls in your home, vertical fractures are typically less severe than their horizontal counterparts. They frequently appear as the house settles, and as long as they don’t begin on a ceiling and go straight down into a wall, you shouldn’t be too concerned.

However, horizontal fractures or fractures that have sharp angles can be a symptom of something more catastrophic, such as genuine foundation movement or even hidden water damage. Generally speaking, you should have any crack that goes at a 45-degree angle or even less examined.

What goes into house lifting?

Here are a few elements that affect how much house lifting services cost.

Labour Charges
House lifting requires a lot of labour. The team at CCS have a lot of experience throughout New Zealand in house lifting.
Type of Construction
The type of structure you intend to lift also greatly impacts how much a house-lifting project will cost. Want to add one more story? Of course, the price will be lower if all you need is a standard property foundation lift.
Type of Foundation
An adequate crawl space is beneficial because it’s not too difficult to lift this area underneath the house due to access.
Fixing the Foundation
Prior to house lifting, your foundation needs to be repaired if it has substantial damage concerns like water leaks, rotten wood, sunken floors, etc.
Electrical, Plumbing, and Utilities
The recommended course of action is to first disconnect and then re-connect, any plumbing, utility, and electrical connections.

How are houses lifted?

This process is carried out in stages. Hydraulic jacks / props are used for lifting and supporting the house during relevelling. Depending on the type of foundation, repair methods vary but for many timber foundations, some piles are replaced while other compliant piles are packed.

When relevelling, the part of the home is separated from its base during the elevation procedure and raise on hydraulic jacks.

The jacks are equally spaced under the house and raised slowly.

What should you NOT do when it comes to house relevelling?

Avoid attempting to DIY your home relevelling. Even family members who work in the construction sector shouldn’t attempt this task at home. Releveling requires a distinct set of abilities that can only be provided by qualified people like CCS. If the house is not correctly levelled to ensure structural integrity, attempting to do it yourself could cause significant damage.


Contact us today for all of your relevelling and piling needs. Our team is happy to look at your specific issue and recommend the best solutions.