Diagnosis of Building Defects: Crack and Level Monitoring Essay

Table of Contentss


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2.0Initial recommendations

2.1Crack Proctor

2.2Level Monitoring

3.0Diagnosis, Prognosis & A ; Remedial Actions

3.1Cracks at Openings

3.2Thermal Motion


3.4Tree coronating Felling



3.7Previous Destruction

4.0Extension Proposal

4.1Underpinning Pile and Beam Method

4.2Construction Procedure


Appendix A





This coursework intends to place a diagnosing ; forecast and remedial recommendation sing the given scenario. In add-on one of the defects will affect foundation failure and a suited Underpinning Method will be identified to rectify the defect. Annotated manus graduated table drawings on the fix methods of the chief defects of the edifice will be included together. Additionally the feasibleness of building a new level concrete roof by widening the brickwork and making a big window gap in the front lift of the belongings has been evaluated.

2.0Initial recommendations:

2.1Crack Proctor:

The snap above the headers should be monitored to help in the diagnosing of the cause of the cracks/movement. Monitoring shall be carried out on a monthly footing for 12 months to cover climatic alterations. The informations recorded should be reviewed after each visit to measure if motion is progressive. The clefts should be monitored vertically and horizontally with fictile skiding home bases installed with prison guards. Movement will be gauged by comparing the alliance of the crosshairs with the grillage home base below. This method offers sensible truth ( 1mm ) for the motion occurring.

2.2Level Monitoring:

Level monitoring is every bit of import as cleft monitoring where harm is suspected of ensuing from remission, differential colony etc. It will supply strong grounds as to the location and way of motion. Robust and stable monitoring points along with a secure data point must be installed to guarantee accurate readings. The data point must widen 6m into the land to avoid issues created by flora and seasonal/moisture alterations in the clay dirt. In this state of affairs it may be suited to utilize the surrounding edifices as data point points due to there being no marks of hurt or motion seeable. It will hence be simpler and cheaper to utilize this method, so long as permission is granted by the properties’ proprietor. The informations recorded should be plotted on a graph to help reading.

3.0Diagnosis, Prognosis & A ; Remedial Actions:

3.1Cracks at Openings:

The clefts widening from the gaps are stepped diagonal and tapered with the largest country being closest to the header. The headers all show a inclination to fall in the way of the forepart right corner of the edifice proposing land motion. Further probe will be required to find the cause. Possible causes are outlined below.

3.2Thermal Motion:

Cracking ensuing from thermic motion normally occurs at the weak points in walls and are hence frequently seen widening from gaps and their accompanying headers. Thermal checking will non widen below the DPC as the brickwork is ever wet, therefore it will non be affected by atmospheric alterations. It is still possible for the clefts to widen to roof degree.

Thermal checking normally presents itself as directly perpendicular clefts which sometimes pass through bricks if a strong howitzer has been used during building. In this instance stepped diagonal clefts are pictured widening from multiple gaps most likely because a weaker calcium hydroxide howitzer has been used. Crack breadths are normally the same for the full length of the cleft typically between 1 and 2mm. The clefts appear to transcend this figure by being about 10mm in breadth.

Thermal and wet alterations can frequently be accommodated vertically without harm in most instances, nevertheless horizontal alterations need commissariats to be built in during building. This is addressed in Building Regulation Approved Document A stipulating enlargement articulations every 10m of brickwork. Temperature and wet alterations were frequently ignored in domestic edifices yet the walls will still be affected by seasonal alterations and irreversible initial shrinking of stuffs.

This peculiarly affects edifices with mass concrete headers as is the instance on this edifice. A spread about 15mm can be observed between the concrete header on the 1st floor left manus window on the front lift, and the surrounding brickwork. This could hold resulted in differential shrinking declining the clefts.

The recommended Repair for thermic snap and the differential shrinking would be to seal in mastic applied by gun to a deepness of at least 10mm and struck off to clean lines. It may besides be suited to repoint the clefts in a weak strength calcium hydroxide howitzer to suit farther shrinkage/expansion and put in new enlargement articulations in debatable countries. The new enlargement articulations should be consecutive cut, filled with compressive stuff, sealed with a silicone based sealer and be 10mm broad.


Remission can be caused by a figure of factors such as leaking drains, broken pipes or deficient foundations, in this instance it is more likely that the Alder tree within close propinquity has absorbed wet from the land and caused dehydration of the dirt. This basically causes the dirt to shrivel and make a deficiency of support for the brick termss. Alder trees H2O demand is classed as moderate. A mature Alder tree can impact edifice with foundations 1.2m deep within a radius of 12m. ( West Berkshire Council, 2009 ) . The Alder tree has increased its demand for H2O as it has maturated and desiccated the clay dirt ( which is peculiarly prone to this job ) below the edifice. The edifice is likely to hold simple brick termss instead than a concrete foundation widening to an unaffected bomber strata and has been unable to get by with the volume shrinking of the dirt. This is supported by the form of the clefts on the gaps and the seeable tapering of the clefts ( wider at the top than the underside ) .

If the remission has been caused by the tree, the degree monitoring consequences should demo the edifice rise in through fall and winter when the trees demand for H2O reduces and rehydration of the dirt occurs. This procedure will change by reversal during spring and summer doing the remission to re-emerge. The cleft proctor consequences should be likewise affected cut downing in winter and increasing during summer. ( CILA, 2007 )

3.4Tree coronating Felling:

Reducing the canopy of the tree by coronating will hold limited consequences. In most instances cut downing the canopy by 50 % reduces the H2O demand for a short period but consequences in a denser canopy capable of run downing wet at the same rate as the original. In this instance merely terrible canopy decrease of 90 % would hold any effectual consequences ; this has been shown to merely last two turning seasons on norm. At this point the tree will hold lost any aesthetic entreaty so it is hence recommend that the tree is reduced bit by bit to let the dirt to rehydrate and spread out at a governable rate. Once heavy decrease is reached the tree should be removed to let complete rehydration and complete the procedure. This method will let the edifice to return to its original standing without doing the emphasis of a sudden rise in land degrees being placed onto the edifice and perchance declining the snap. If this method does non ensue in betterment of the land conditions and shut the snap underpinning should be considered.


Underpining can be carried out in several ways to halt farther motion. The bing clefts should be closely monitored during the underpinning procedure to look into for any motion. In this state of affairs a mass concrete underpin is recommended. This will make a new foundation under the bing brick termss. The diggings will necessitate to be carried out in little subdivisions ( 1m ) and filled with concrete to let the bing land to back up the construction. A series of pins will fall in each subdivision together to make a uninterrupted strip foundation to back up the edifice.


A figure of countries of brickwork have seeable spalling caused by the soaking up of H2O by the bricks and the enlargement ensuing from the H2O stop deading making clefts. The clefts allow extra H2O to come in the brick and reiterate the procedure until the faces are disintegrated or flake off. This is more outstanding towards the lower degree brickwork due to gravitation coercing the wet down through the brickwork. The rainwater downpipe on the left manus lift discharges straight into the drain which will besides do sprinkling onto the brickwork buttocks.

The lone manner to mend spalling bricks is to wholly replace them in little subdivisions to forestall upseting the structural unity of the wall. This has been undertaken antecedently as evidenced by the lighter brickwork and repointing. A new gully drain 300mm2 should be installed to forestall spatter and to get by with heavy rainfall.

3.7Previous Destruction:

The rear of the edifice appears to hold had a subdivision demolished and the freshly exposed wall rendered to do the edifice watertight. The subdivision of the edifice demolished was probably an out-of-door shed/storage country which was fell into disrepair and was no longer needed. It is ill-defined if a door into this construction straight from the edifice was present as it could hold been bricked up and rendered. This creates the possibility of the constructions use being an out-of-door lavatory and therefore drains and organ pipe may be present.

4.0Extension Proposal:

The given scenario discusses whether building a new level concrete roof by widening the brickwork and making a big window gap in the front lift of the belongings is executable.

Before taking any action there are issues which need to be taken into consideration.

  1. The Alder tree situated following to the belongings,
  2. The underpinning method suited to defy the burden of the extension,
  3. The building procedure.

Harmonizing to the given information, the belongings was constructed 120 old ages ago. It is likely that the foundation is merely an extension of the bing brickwork walls below land degree ; moreover there is the possibility that the edifice was constructed without any foundation. In order to back up larger tonss underpinning of the foundation will be required. There are assorted methods of underpinning, but there are some limitations due to the next edifice situated within about two meters ( Figure 15 ) .

4.1Underpinning Pile and Beam Method:

The most suited underpin will be the heap and beam method, in order to ease this, there should be a mini heap installed on both sides of the loadbearing wall by utilizing a machine to drive steel rods known as hemorrhoids into a suited strata capable of defying the burden. Small subdivisions are so removed from the bing wall and a steel needle beam is passed through, reenforcing bars are so used to fall in the two the hemorrhoids on either side of the wall. This will reassign the burden of the wall onto the hemorrhoids. The diameter, deepness and figure of hemorrhoids used will be determined by the bearing capacity and bing land conditions present.

This method is extremely preferred as high capacity tonss can be supported by puting the hemorrhoids near together and installing can be undertaken in countries with limited infinite, as 600mm spreads are the lower limit required for the mini-piling machine to run.

4.2Construction Procedure:

The Alder tree will necessitate to be removed along with the internal construction and suspended lumber floors on the land and first floor. The roof will be removed so equipment can be easy placed in to the internal infinite. A shore system will be installed to move as a impermanent support system on the external walls during digging of the land works. The wall new window gap will be supported by a beam inserted into a cut channel resting on both terminals every bit with a bearing specified by the structural applied scientist. Acro Props will be placed under the beam to Acts of the Apostless as impermanent support, before taking the wall to make the gap. As mentioned above the masonry extension will be built up beyond the roofline to organize a parapet wall and back up the level concrete roof, the land works should be wholly cured and capable of defying the extra dead and imposed tonss created.


The edifice has a figure of defects most notably the snap at the gaps. Initial recommendations have been made to look into the cause of the checking with degree and cleft monitoring. The subsequent remedial action has been described for remission and thermic expansion/shrinkage the most likely causes. In add-on Spalling and old destruction has besides been observed and covered in less item as they have less serious deductions.

Appendix A:

“See Attached Documents”



Stuart Hill 2008, –Practical Building Repairs. Banishment by The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors

P.G. Biddle 1998, –Tree Root Damage to Buildings Volume 1. Wantage by Acorn Press Swindon Ltd

Michael F. Atkinson 2000, –Structural Defects Reference Manual for Low-Rise Buildings.London by E & A ; FN Spon

Peter R. Dickinson and Nigel Thornton 2007, –Cracking and Building Movement. Banishment by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors

Web site:

CILA, 2009 –Remission and Trees. [ on-line ] Available at: hypertext transfer protocol: //www.cila.co.uk/files/Subsidence and Trees – A Soils Perspective.pdf

[ Accessed 5th February 2015 ]

West Berkshire Council –Constructing near Trees.[ online ] Available at:

hypertext transfer protocol: //info.westberks.gov.uk/CHttpHandler.ashx? id=35300 & A ; p=0

[ Accessed 8th February 2015 ]

Darlington Borough Council –Foundations near to Trees. [ on-line ] Available at:

hypertext transfer protocol: //hydeparkandwoodhouseonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/Tree-distances.pdf

[ Accessed 9th February 2015 ]

Irish Cottage –Types of Underpining. [ on-line ] Available at:

hypertext transfer protocol: //cottageology.com/irish-cottage-foundations-types-of-underpinning/

[ Accessed 10th February 2015 ]

Roger Bullivant – Underpinning. [ on-line ] Available at:

hypertext transfer protocol: //www.roger-bullivant.co.uk/products/underpinning.cfm

[ Accessed 10th February 2015 ]