SIGNS YOU HAVE A STRUCTURAL DEFECT IN YOUR BUILDING
So you have a water leak that is a pain when it rains, or maybe you have rust stains on the façade of your building that look ugly, or maybe it
is brickwork or render that is bulging, fretting or cracking. What you may consider to be a minor inconvenience could actually be a warning sign that you have a larger structural issue in your structure.
Rectifying the issue early has been proven to save money as the issue is not as widespread as it will develop to be. This is because once a structure has a leak, or concrete cancer, more water will reach the affected (and other) area causing more rusting, displacement of concrete and cracking.
Some of the tell-tale signs you have structural issues include:
- Rust stains on the edge of your building that originate at random
- Cracks which appear either on internal or external walls and go up or down the building in a step-like manner
- Water leaks which cannot be tracked to an exact area above the leak
- Brick growth/expansion which causes displacement and/or windows and doors to not fit as soundly as before
- Lintels and arch bars (above doors and windows) show signs of rust and cracking of the brickwork
- Balconies which are cracking and leaking
- Large pieces of concrete are falling from the structure
REASONS STRUCTURAL ISSUES APPEAR
Whether it is due to the age of your building, exposure to the elements or poor workmanship and materials during construction, there are a number of factors which could be the cause of your structural problems. Many of the common issues which lead to large problems include:
- Poor workmanship during construction. Often builders will leave reinforcing too close to the surface allowing surface moisture to seep far enough into the surface. This leaches the concrete and causes a chemical reaction on the steel below it
- Use of incompatible materials in close proximity to each other. These cause a chemical reaction which causes rusting
- Mechanical wear and tear
- Damaged concrete slabs which allow water to penetrate through to the reinforcing below
- Installation of new equipment – often on rooves – such as air conditioning units or anchor points. These are often drilled through water proof membranes and are not sealed properly after thus allowing water to ingress to the metal below.
- Inadequate flashings. Where flashings are installed poorly, or not high enough into the cavity, water can penetrate through to the cavity. Even if they were installed well, if drains are not cleared properly then during heavy rains, water can rise above the flashing, thus leaking into the cavity
WHY YOU SHOULD TACKLE STRUCTURAL ISSUES EARLY
Whether the issue is caused by water leak, age or construction flaw, the base fact is, what was or is a small problem may develop into a larger underlying issue which affects the structural integrity of your building. The earlier you take steps to the correct the latent issue – not just treat the obvious signs – the less advanced the issue becomes.
Many people often think that patching the issue will solve it, but once rust has started to affect steel, it will continue to expand, leading to further fracturing and ongoing issues. The issue will also continue to affect new areas, whether it is more areas starting to rust, or worsening leaks. Ideally, as soon as you notice an area with an issue as described above, you should call us in to investigate the issue and advise how wide-spread or otherwise it really is. Doing so could save you tens of thousands of dollars into the future and rectification works which are finished much faster.