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Mapping of pole rot risks for all buildings in the Netherlands

In mapping climate risks, pole rot is an important component. Blue Module provides building owners and parties that need to assess ESG information, such as appraisers and accountants, with an estimation of the damage due to pole rot for every building in the Netherlands in 2050.

Pole rot risk, or foundation problems, is one of the elements that Blue Module maps in the recently introduced BasicScan: This is an advanced tool for quickly gaining insight into the ESG impact of real estate portfolios. Based on public data, it analyzes energy consumption and CO2 emissions, offers social indicators, and supports ESG regulations such as CSRD and SFDR, and the valuation of the ESG aspects of a building in real estate appraisals. Besides pole rot, climate risks such as heat stress, flood risk, earthquake risk, and risk of wildfires are parts of the BasicScan.

Low groundwater levels lead to pole rot

Pole rot is a fungal attack on wooden foundations caused by low groundwater levels. When wooden foundation piles dry out and come into contact with oxygen, they become moldy and rot, causing the foundations of buildings to damage and subside. This can pose a great risk to buildings in the Netherlands, especially those built on wooden pile foundations or shallow foundations on steel. The BasicScan includes risk maps for pole rot and settlement of foundations on steel, with which the exposure, vulnerability, and risk of these conditions can be determined.

1 million properties at risk

Translating climate risks into quantifiable financial risks remains a challenge for companies worldwide - It is estimated that there are 750,000 to 1,000,000 properties in the Netherlands alone on a foundation of wooden poles or on steel. These are sensitive to soil subsidence and low groundwater levels, and therefore to drought. It is expected that the damage caused by pole rot and differential settlement of properties founded on steel will amount to between 5 and 39 billion euros by 2050 under an unchanged climate. Due to an increase in drought with climate change (KNMI scenario WH+), this can increase by 3 to 15 billion euros. These amounts only cover the risk for properties. Damage to infrastructure such as roads, bridges, and utilities due to soil subsidence is not included in this.