Anyone buying a new-build home can benefit from new build snagging inspections to ensure everything is as it should be, but this is particularly true if there are potential issues with the local land a property is built on.

While flood risks are a concern for many, others will consider the potential risk of subsidence if there is a problem with the local geology, or perhaps some past human activity that could compromise the integrity of the ground below.

Bristol is one place where new build issues may arise. A new study by surveyors Groundsure has suggested that as many as 170,000 existing homes in the city could be at risk from ground movement due to the presence of old mine shifts in many areas. 

Various sinkholes and cavities include former coal mining works and also sandstone mining in the Redcliffe area of the city, which is seen as being at particular risk.

Mining consultant at Groundshare Tom Harvey-James said: “There are currently 82 reported ground collapses in the region, and with 243 mines, pits and quarries recorded in the area, this number is predicted to increase.”

The Redcliff area is already densely populated with a large number of older Georgian buildings, which will limit the scope for new building there, but the warning for the city as a whole means any new development might potentially be close to a site with a compromised subterranean structure.

Bristol’s underground geography and the impact of subterranean human activity could be even more of an issue in years to come, should ambitions for an Underground metro network come to fruition.

Mayor Marvin Rees has reiterated his ambitions for such a system, which would require surveys of the ground through which tunnelling could take place. 

While that may uncover further previously unknown problems, it also raises the question of whether the tunnelling work itself might cause issues for new homes, especially any developments built on sites chosen for their proximity to stations.