Structural Engineering: Indications of Foundation Problems in Residential Buildings

09 September 2021

Residential buildings such as apartments, standalone houses, and others are intended to cater to the dwelling needs of families and their loved ones. And to ensure that these properties can stay functional and last for a long time, their foundations must be kept intact and solid.

The foundations of residential buildings are typically prioritised at the very start of construction projects since they must be able to support the entire structure of the properties. After all, one tiny issue on these parts can easily lead to structural damages to the properties. Worse, those who are occupying the compromised buildings may be at risk of getting into deadly accidents.

Fortunately, foundations that have some potential problems would first show some signs and indications, which can be determined and confirmed by professionals in the field of structural engineering. Here are some of the most common indications of foundation problems in a residential building.

Discernible Cracks

One of the most common indicators of foundation problems in a residential building is the sudden presence of cracks in specific areas. Normally, cracks on a property will only generate if there are major earthquakes. Hairline cracks can likewise be visible to the areas of a property as time passes. However, if the basement walls abruptly manifest huge horizontal cracks, then the foundation of the building might already be bearing a tremendous amount of pressure. Cracks found on the openings of doors and windows can also be a great sign of a quick foundation settlement.

Foundation Settlement

Another indicator that a residential building has a foundation problem is the existence of a foundation settlement. A foundation settlement happens whenever the soil beneath the structure shifts or changes. This situation can likewise happen if the soil cannot simply support the weight and pressure of the building’s foundation. Poor soil compaction, maturing of trees, bushes, and vegetation, and soil consolidation are also some of the potential reasons behind foundation settlement. With foundation settlement, the building might generate extensive vertical cracks on the walls and ultimately sink.

Foundation Upheaval

Foundation upheaval is another indicator that the foundation of a residential building has some serious problems. This specific indicator technically means that the soil is expanding and contracting, especially if it becomes wet or exposed to too much water. As some areas of the foundation expand and contract, they would eventually move upwards, which can put extreme pressure on the slab foundation. Just like foundation settlement, foundation upheaval can also be signalled by vertical cracks.

Bizarre Alterations

The foundation of a residential building may be found underneath it. But once it develops some serious problems, it could easily send signs to the occupants of the building in various areas. For instance, the foundation of a building has some problems if the concrete floor unexpectedly becomes uneven. Additionally, doors that cannot open and close smoothly, even if they are brand new, may mean that some parts of the foundation have cracked or settled. The presence of growing gaps around exterior doors and windows as well as separating counters and cabinets from the wall signify a foundation issue.

To know more about these foundation problems, you can contact us at Fairdinkum Technical Services.

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