It’s every householder’s nightmare. Early last year, the ground floor of Kevin and Adrienne Loftus’s Cheshire home started to sink. The wooden and laminated floorboards had become uneven and cracks had appeared in some. We also found many of the floor tiles in the bathroom had broken, says Mr Loftus.

A structural surveyor inspected the damage and gave a bleak warning: the ground floor would have to be taken up and relaid, and the family would need to be rehoused until the work was done.

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