Understanding building defects is important to the client and the building professionals. Buildings are subjected to many forces acting upon them, resulting in defects. These defects could be minor, such as peeling paint, movement of timber caused by moisture, minor cracks in walls and foundation movements, caused by settlement to the ground. These defects can be resolved by the builder with simple repairs.
Defects which become a concern are:
• structural defects that pose safety risks
• moisture penetration through the building envelope that can cause secondary
damage leading to failure such as concrete cancer, rusting of steel members and
decay of timber structures
• moisture penetration can also pose a health risk to the occupants through
mould spores generated by mould growth
Structural timber components, especially decking is predominantly exposed to the various elements of which moisture is the most destructive. Periodic inspection of exposed load-bearing timber is important for structural reasons. Timber exposed to moisture can be subjected to decay. Untreated timber can also be exposed to termite attack. Decay and termite damage may not be detectable, especially to the untrained.
To the trained person, surface decay or termite damage by tapping with a hammer or prodding with a sharp object cannot quantify the damage but able to qualitatively assess the timber. Damages deep in the timber are difficult to verify by tapping or prodding.
Our methods and equipment have been proven to accurately detect areas of damage within the timber structure.
There have been occasions when beams and posts were renewed based on visual reports only to find that damage was minimal.
Steel has been used extensively in buildings owing to its structural properties of being able to carry concentrated loads with wider spans. Like timber, steel can undergo extensive damage caused by moisture, especially if unpainted or not galvanised. Steel undergoes major rusting in areas of high environmental pollution, coastal areas and when in contact with the ground. Hot dipped galvanised and special paint coatings reduce the effects of rusting. Corrosion of steel usually goes undetected by householders, understandably not trained in this area.
Difficult areas to diagnose include the remaining thickness of hollow sections in steel caused by corrosion. Common areas are posts with welded top and bottom plates, obscuring the cross section of the member. The external size of the section can be measured readily but the thickness of the wall is difficult to determine.
The art of diagnosis requires skill, understanding of building science and knowledge of the materials which are put together to create a dynamic building. The best equipment alone does not necessarily produce optimum results. Our knowledge of diagnostic equipment and an understanding of building science give us greater knowledge in finding the cause and effects. Building diagnostics in some circles are referred to as building pathology, a specialised field in diagnosing building problems.
We strongly believe in source control and not a mere band-aid treatment. We have state-of-the-art equipment and expertise for diagnosing complex building defects, providing solutions to the problems. Early diagnosis can save thousands of dollars to homeowners. When defects are delayed it would could cost the homeowner extra time and money in addressing the problems.
We diagnose building defects in low and high rise residential enterprises, as well as commercial, industrial, educational and health care facilities. Among other instruments, we use advanced thermal imaging which provides remarkable information on the structure and underlying conditions within the building fabric. The images are analysed in specialised software, diagnosing the root problems and providing a detailed report.
Our Service Covers:
• defects in concealed areas
• causes of major structural cracks in foundation walls
• defects in cladding
• moisture in concrete contributing to corrission of structural steel leading to spalling of concrete (concrete cancer)
• reports on complex defects
• cavity flashing and wall ties causing moisture bridging