Common defects in buildings, causes, and remedies

You might have heard of building defects that are caused by some of the most common factors, such as erosion, dampness, and peeling paint. But these are not the only causes of the failure of building construction. To know more about what are some of the common defects in buildings, read on.

Introduction

No one wants to live in a building that consists of cracks and molds. Ever wondered why such damages occur to your building and what the most common defects in buildings are observed by other people? Well, if you are curious about this, then here is a list of building defects that will help you check for them and avoid such buildings.

What is a Building Defect?

Defects are flaws in a building or design mistakes that may reduce its value and cause it to be unsafe. A construction defect can occur due to many factors, such as poor craftsmanship or inferior materials. The number of defects in buildings does not appear to have decreased despite recent technological advances in the construction industry. Apart from the artistry, multiple reasons can cause building effects such as atmospheric pollution, climate, condition, poor interior material, and vice versa. Another course for the considerable spike in construction defects is the use of defective materials that can cause buildings to defect sooner or later.

What are the Causes of defects in buildings?

There are multiple causes of defects in buildings. However, some of the most commonly seen causes of defects in buildings, apart from general building maintenance, are the following:

  • Improper design
  • Soil subsidence, settlement, and movement
  • Defective material
  • Poor material performance
  • Making use of a defective or damaged framework
  • Lack of inspection
  • Inaccurate measurement

What are the Categories of defects in buildings?

Building defects due to poor general building maintenance can be divided into two categories based on the area they affect, and they can be provided as follows:

Structural defect

Here are the primary structural defects that are easily examined: read below to know.

  • Cracks in floors and slabs
  • Cracks in walls
  • Cracks in foundation

The structural defects can also be caused due to the following factors:

  • Improper analysis of soil
  • Substandard work
  • Improper site selection
  • Usage of defective materials for construction

Unlike non-structural defects, these structural defects can easily be avoided by including proper design and planning.

Non- Structural defect

Non-structural defects are caused due to the following factors:

  • Defects in plaster used in buildings
  • Dampness in the old structures
  • Defects in brickwork

Such types of non-structural defects in buildings tend to affect the construction by causing bad building maintenance and minor cracks, which become a part of a major structural failure. As a result, it is critical to pay close attention to the design, construction, and detailing of buildings.

What are the Types of Defects?

There are several types of defects in buildings based on how they hinder building upkeep and their sphere of operation. Based on all these parameters, the following types of building defects can be observed:

Shrinking clay soil

The shrinking of clay soil is associated with the upper parts of the soil. This is mostly caused due to a reduction in the amount of moisture found in the clay soil. This soil moisture reduction can be due to either lowering groundwater levels or even high evaporation levels from the soil surfaces.

Problems:

There might be multiple problems that may arise due to the shrinking of clay soil along with poor general building maintenance, such as follows:

  1. Damages may occur to buildings when there is a shrinking of clay soil which in turn will lead to a ‘heave’ where the wall lifts, and this can happen either at the corner of the building or at the center of the building leading to poor commercial property maintenance.
  2. Cracks may occur in the walls of the building, which may lead to both external and internal construction defects.

Remedial Measure:

To make sure there is no shrinkage of clay soil, there are certain preventive measures that you can take, such as follows:

  • Clay soil tends to both lose and take up a lot of water easily, it is important to check the drainage system of the building.
  • To make sure there is not too much moisture being extracted from the clay soil used in buildings, it is necessary to wet the building walls during extremely hot summers.

PEELING PAINT

If there is insufficient surface prep being considered while painting, then there are high chance that peeling paint will be one of your main problems. Apart from prep, if there is extra thinner being added to the paint, then there’ll be a case of peeling paint being observed in your building which is due to poor general building maintenance. Over time, it is observed that the thinned-out paint will become brittle and hence leading it to be less adaptable to high temperature and humidity.

Problems:

When it comes to peeling paint, multiple problems arise as follows:

  1. There will be vein-like line appearances over the wall indicating construction defects.
  2. The cracks that initially seem to be faint will eventually thicken and turn into dry and jagged flakes.

Remedial Measure:  

As a part of the remedial measures, the following actions can be taken:

  • Scrap away any sort of loose paint that is attached to the wall.
  • Smoothen out the walls with sandpaper before you start painting on them
  • Priming the surface properly will be of high importance.
  • Preventing moisture from building up in the walls of the building will also be important.
  • Calling out to commercial property maintenance services providers can also be helpful in the long run.

CRACKING OF WALLS / LEANING WALLS

Cracks in the walls are quite a common building defect seen in many buildings. A few of them might signify a serious issue that impacts building maintenance in common parlance. at the same time, others may not be that serious or may be based on purely cosmetic purposes. The most common causes of cracking of walls are due to either climate change or reactive soils being used in the walls of the building, and hence poor commercial property maintenance is observed.

Problems:

Cracking of walls does indicate a serious problem of structural damage or poor construction. Cracks may also tend to pop nails or screws, which will disturb the foundation of the building altogether. It also indicates the degradation of building materials that were used for construction.

Remedial Measure:

There are quite a lot of remedial measures that you can utilize along with commercial property maintenance to make sure there are no more cracks in the walls:

  • If the crack is due to leakage, then trying to find where the source of the leak is is one of the ways to repair cracks by including the commercial property maintenance services
  • Once you find out the source due to which there have been cracks in the wall, trying to patch up the cracks using plaster will help clear out the cracks and further avoid any new cracks from appearing.
  • If there are severe cracks in the foundation of the building, then contacting the damage repair company would be your best bet to clear out all the cracks and get good commercial building maintenance.

UNSTABLE FOUNDATIONS

Unstable foundations cause the entire building to become unstable, and some of the common causes of such unstable foundations are due to the soil type being used, excess amount of water in the soil, natural disasters, and so on. However, finding out the cause of an unstable foundation is quite important when trying to fix it. Focusing on building maintenance services will also be important while fixing unstable foundations.

Problems:

The following problems are created when there are unstable foundation issues:

  1. Cracks and gaps
  2. Uneven floors in the building, which indicate construction defects in the building
  3. A slant is observed in the house.
  4. Basements of the building might consist of high moisture, which will then attract mould, insects, and rodents.

Remedial Measure:

To avoid any of the above-mentioned problems caused by unstable foundations, it is necessary to take certain remedial measures, which include commercial property maintenance, such as follows:

  • Check whether the plumbing and gutter are working in proper order, which will avoid any sort of construction defect
  • If there is a swimming pool beside your building, ensure that the pressurized water lines do not leak
  • Ensure that the underground lines of water supply or drains are free of any leaks by checking in with the commercial property maintenance services
  • Using wall anchors to repair basement walls that are cracked.
  • Shotcrete can also be used to repair the foundation walls and maintain their stability.

ROOF DEFECTS

Roofs of a house provide protection, and hence making sure that the roof is built properly is important.

Problems:

If there are roof defects, then there might be a lot of problems not only for the roof but also for the entire house, and some of the problems that a lot of people face can be provided as follows:

  1. Leakage and water ponding
  2. Sealant comes off and hence leading to instability in the roofing
  3. Inadequate ventilation as the vents might also get affected along with the roof defects
  4. When poorly designed, the roof tends to shrink and hence causing damage to the roof.

Remedial Measure:

The following remedial measures, along with proper building maintenance, will prove to be helpful when it comes to fixing the problems related to roof defects:

  • Checking for water stains or mildew will help you find the active leakage site faster
  • Removal of moss growth by mixing half a cup of laundry detergent and half a cup of chlorine bleach along with water.
  • Avoid blistering of the roof by utilizing proper ventilation on your roof which can be done by the commercial property maintenance services provider.
  • Call a professional who can properly help you install the roof, which will help avoid any problems in the future.

HONEYCOMBING

When there is an incomplete filling of concrete, there is a process known as honeycombing takes place. This can also be caused if the concrete is too stiff or by not vibrating the concrete properly after it has been poured.

Problems:

Honeycombing leads to multiple problems, and some can be very serious, even leading to poor commercial building maintenance. Some of the most commonly seen problems caused by honeycombing can be provided as follows:

  1. Reduction in bearing capacity and strength of the building
  2. Bad aesthetics
  3. Allows higher levels of water and air to enter the concrete, which will lower the strength
  4. Decrease in the durability of the building

Remedial Measure:

Various remedial measures can help prevent or repair the problems caused by honeycombing and can be provided as follows:

  • Usage of well-graded aggregates
  • Usage of waterproof and watertight frameworks
  • Using concrete that has good workability and can also be prepared according to the proper mix design will ensure there is good commercial building maintenance.
  • Maintenance of proper ratio of both cement to water
  • Prevention of movement of the framework before the concrete has been set in place.

DAMPNESS

Dampness is caused by excessive leakage in buildings. This dampness does not attract molds but will also damage the building and cause bad building maintenance both internally and externally. It is hence important to check this problem and treat it as soon as possible.

Problems:

Some of the common problems that dampness causes can be provided as follows:

  1. Corrosion of metals used in the building structure
  2. Promotes the growth of termites
  3. Unhealthy living conditions for the occupants leading to poor commercial building maintenance
  4. Softening and cracking of plaster used in the building structure
  5. Leads to the deterioration of electrical fittings

Remedial Measure:

To fix any sort of damage caused by dampness, the following solutions can be used:

  • Fill in all the cracks that are located in window frames, walls, or around door frames
  • Fixing pipes that consist of leakages
  • Replacing and fixing any missing roof tiles

Fungi and Small Plant Attack

Bad construction, which is a part of poor commercial building maintenance, is always the key to attracting a lot of fungi and small plants to the building. This provides an entry space to even the insects in your house. To avoid any such entry of fungi and small plant attacks, it is important to check the source problems along with ensuring proper building maintenance services are being set in place.

Problems:

While there are a lot of problems that can be caused due to the presence of fungi and small plants, here are some of the commonly faced issues due to poor commercial property maintenance:

  1. Leads to an unhealthy living environment
  2. May lead to unwanted health issues
  3. Will cause disturbance to those who have allergies to fungi
  4. Small plants will then creep more into the depths, which might be hard to remove.

Remedial Measure:

To remove any sort of fungi and small plant attack, it is important to follow the below-provided solutions with proper commercial property maintenance:

  • Providing pre-monsoon building maintenance services along with care during the monsoon season
  • Using baking soda will also help remove fungi on a smaller scale
  • Using bleach for a larger fungi infection will be suitable
  • Hydrogen peroxide usage to kill any unwanted fungi and small plants will also be good.

Conclusion.

Most people deal with defects in buildings at some point in their lives, whether from lousy construction, defective materials, or poor building maintenance services. However, finding out why such defects exist and trying to approach them and fix them should be the priority, or in the long run, it might affect the entire building and not just a single house.

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