Cracks Mentioned in Your Inspection Report. How Serious Are They?

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Your structural inspection report reveals there is some cracks in your building. You are wondering how serious this could be. First and foremost, it is important to note that most buildings have cracks at some stage in their existence.

Modern buildings have been found to crack a lot more than older buildings. The reason for this is threefold. The modern buildings are built very fast, go very high and have thin walls. This increasing cracking on modern buildings makes its control a lot more crucial in the modern world.

The seriousness of cracks depends on what type they are.

Types of cracks

Cracking on buildings can be classified into two broad categories.

  • Structural cracks. These affect the safety of a building. They arise from faulty construction, incorrect design or overloading. An example of structural cracking occurs when the RCC beam cracks extensively.
  • Non-structural cracking. These types of cracks do not affect the stability of a building. They are a sore sight, however. They make the affected building look unstable and seem to indicate poor workmanship. They don’t cause weakening of the structure, and will occur when constructing materials experience internally induced stresses. In the long run, they may lead to structural weakening which may endanger the building’s safety. This may happen due to weathering action or when moisture penetrates through cracks and results in corrosion of the reinforcements. An example of non-structural cracking is when a compound wall has vertical cracks. Erect cracks on a wall may be due to thermal movement or shrinkage.

How to determine severity of cracks

It is necessary to point out that no cracks, structural or non-structural, should be ignored. All cracks should be investigated to determine their age, extent, and possible remedial action.

It takes some time to learn all the details regarding a crack in a building. It could even be a few days before the types of cracks on a building are correctly identified. By determining the crack type, remedial action, if any, can be decided. A crack is investigated by a structural engineer for the following:

  • Age. An old crack will have debris gathering in it.
  • Thickness and uniformity. Some cracks are very thin, barely visible to the naked eye. Others are quite thick at more than 2mm. Some are thin at the edges and wider in the middle. It is necessary to note, however, that the width of a crack does not directly determine its seriousness. Some cracks may be very thin but serious.
  • Stability. This refers to the change in shape and size of the cracks over time. Some cracks keep growing and increasing in length and width. These cracks are considered unstable.

Bottom line

It is important that you have your building inspected for cracks regularly. If a structural inspection reveals a crack, it is crucial to seek the services of experts like Arnold Investigative Engineering. We provide comprehensive reports and offer proper recommendations depending on the type of cracks. Our structural engineers are extensively experienced and skilled to provide topnotch crack inspections. Contact us today!


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