Foundations are quite possibly the most important structural element of a building so it is important that they are constructed well and built to last the lifespan of the building. However, changes in ground conditions do not guarantee that this will always be the case. The formation of sinkholes and other unexpected geological hazards may increase the probability of damage to the foundations of your home so it is a good idea to have your building inspected when you notice early alarms and signs of concern.
You might wonder “How are foundations assessed during a building inspection?” An average person may not be able to assess the cause of defects present. Through the assistance of a structural engineer, you can find out the real reason behind the cracks and defects present, which in turn will allow you to find the best solution to avoid further damages to your property.
Cracks which have formed in your walls, sagging floors and difficulty of using doors or windows are all signs which demonstrate unhealthy building foundations. Usually, the problem begins with a small crack which starts increasing in width over a period of time. Despite showing no major damage, this already indicates that something irregular is about to happen in the ground beneath your home. As with anything, you will save yourself a lot of time and money if you act fast when the early signs are detected. Make a booking with your local structural engineer to get their professional opinion on your house. After the engineer has inspected the building they may request for either a geotechnical investigation or non-destructive testing of your building foundations in order to obtain additional information about the soil that is supporting your building.
Geotechnical investigations require an activity called borehole drilling. Following Australian design standards, a small hole formed in the ground serves as the sample that indicates what kind of soil or problem lies beneath. The structural engineer can then design a solution to repair your home and prevent further damage.
Non-destructive testing focuses on the structural aspect (i.e. footings) of an existing building. It will try to determine whether the capacity of the building foundations are adequate based on the current state without breaking or exposing it. In the event that either of the two investigation methods show non-compliance to Australian design standards, the structural engineer will recommend a foundation repair plan.
Some common foundation repair solutions would require for the installation of steel piers, tieback anchors, or hydraulic jacks which are able to lift up the building foundations. Your local trusted engineering consultant will then be able to provide you with the calculations, drawings, and estimation of costs necessary to carry out the required works. In the end of the day, you will have much more peace of mind knowing your home is structurally safe and free of defects.
Are you worried that the foundations in your home may have any of the defects noted above? Don’t wait until it’s too late! Contact ML Civil to speak to one of our expert structural engineers today on (02) 9875 5714.