One of the common questions JHA hears from our customers are those relating to worries about cracking in the walls or brickwork of their homes. Cracking noted by homeowners around their property generally causes a great deal of stress and worry. In some cases, clients are genuinely concerned that their property is at risk of severe structural damage.
Generally, cracking in buildings is indicative of subsidence or movement in the foundations of the home. Subsidence (or movement) is a term used when the foundations of a dwelling shift or subside. Movement in the foundations may then translate to cracking in the building structure. Several factors may be involved in the foundational movement. These include however is not limited too, periods of high rainfall, periods of low rainfall, water leaks, poor site drainage, the presence of trees close by or a combination of all these.
Irrespective of the particular site conditions, it is the change in the moisture content of the founding soil which is a possible underlying cause of movement. Minor footing movements are completely normal and are not a cause for concern; large footing movements, however, can cause serious structural damages.
In instances of cracking, our JHA approach is to perform a site inspection. During the inspection, our Engineer will check for any visible signs of movement or cracking. They will also complete a Hydraulic Level Survey (HLS) to check on floor the levels of the house.
During the survey, our engineer will use a device that measures floor level readings. The collected floor level readings taken onsite are then used to create an accurate 2D plan of the property. Our highly-trained and experienced engineers will then compare the contour lines with the tolerances and guidelines outlined in the Australian Standards. Our final report will include, in our professional opinion, the causes of the movement, whether the movement is causing structural damage and also provide recommendations to rectify the property.
Depending on the severity of the movement recorded in the dwelling, several recommendations may be provided. Recommendations will range from the installation of flexible joints to the most invasive solution of underpinning the foundations.
In cases of minor movement, the installation of flexible joints will allow further minor movements to occur without causing any unsightly cracking or damage to the dwelling.
In cases of greater movements, where the previously designed footings have not performed as intended, underpinning may be recommended. Underpinning is a rectification technique that supports the original footings with bored concrete piers, which are founded to a depth of suitable soil.
Contact us today for an initial investigation into the degree of movement and cracking that you have noticed in your dwelling, to put all your worries at ease.