Unwanted movement in buildings can cause a good deal of distress and worry for homeowners. Subsidence, physical disturbance and a failure of building materials are just some of the factors that can impact on the structural integrity of a property.
Fortunately, while there are many reasons why a building can move, modern repair technology and advances in application techniques mean that effective solutions are on hand to tackle the problem.
Buildings can move for a variety of reasons, including:
Surprisingly, despite the unusual climate the UK has seen in recent years – moving seamlessly between flood, drought and extremes of temperature – the weather is not the most common cause of problems to a building’s structure.
In extreme dry weather, problems can arise such as soil shrinks due to a lack of water, which can ultimately lead to cracks appearing in buildings. This is caused by the soil that sits around and below the walls and floors of a home drying out and shrinking.
In certain circumstances this can result in instability in the walls, causing movement that shows itself as cracks in the fabric of the affected building. However, in most cases, while the cracking associated with drought conditions can be unsightly and distressing but is often of little structural significance and may even close back up after rainfall.
Heavy rainfall can also take its toll, but this is generally a matter of regular building maintenance rather than extremes of weather. For example, allowing water to seep into a home through broken roof tiles or poorly applied flashing on chimneys, can mean water enters a property over a long period of time, creating conditions for timber to decay and eventually collapse.
Structural repair and stabilisation offer a cost effective, low impact and environmentally sound alternative to demolition and rebuilding.
However, protecting the building and achieving a successful remedy to structural instability whilst carrying out structural repairs, presents several challenges.
First and foremost, with any problem associated with a structural defect, it is vital that a professional inspection is carried out to build an accurate picture of the issue to be faced. This will often involve a structural engineer who can work closely with JMB to deliver the appropriate repair.
Nothing should be left to chance, and time and finances need to be set aside to ensure any problems are correctly identified. Once the cause of any problem is established, a solution then needs to be drawn up.
One problem we can come across is cracking as a result of movement in the ground supporting the walls and floors. This movement in a building’s structure is commonly referred to as subsidence, and again there are several ways that the cracks and bulges occurring in the wall because of ground movement can be repaired.
Subsidence can be caused by trees removing water from the soil or heave or up-lift, caused by root growth, shifting water tables, drought, corrosion, decay, poor workmanship or lack of maintenance, erosion, vibration and even salt attack.
Foundation problems and the movement of walls are all commonplace where ground subsidence occurs. Before dealing with the cracks and bulges caused by ground movement it is important to fully understand, and in most cases halt the movement, and stabilise the foundations. Traditionally this was done through underpinning, a long and costly process that often required large scale excavations to introduce large volumes of new concrete below the existing foundations.
In recent years ground stabilisation using materials injected into the ground and remedial ground piles have offered a “lower impact” solution. Once the foundations are stabilised it may be necessary to restore the structural and mechanical bonds that were broken when the cracks formed. This is also the case where buildings have cracked or become unstable as result of impact damage, lateral movement, water ingress, poor building practice, thermal expansion and wind loading. Methods used to resolve such problems include pinning, strapping, piling, lateral restraint systems and steel reinforced cementitious anchors.
It is also possible to repair, strengthen and improve structural timbers using resin repair and reinforcement techniques. The structural repair of important and often irreplaceable wooden structures offers an effective and highly reliable means of repairing and retaining beams, joists, lintels and other timber elements. Advanced technology, techniques and expertise were once the preserve of historical buildings, but now these methods are finding a place in the restoration and preservation of more modern domestic properties. With the knowledge and skills available in this field, it now makes sense to repair rather than replace in many situations.
Frequently Asked Question
A. NO, we a medium sized construction firm, on a telephone you will get through to reception or one of our construction managers directly. Who will be able to help you further.
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A. Any information that involves a breakdown of the work involved, such as working drawings, a schedule of works and any contract particulars you may have. All of these items can aid us in supplying you with a formal quotation.
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A. Yes, we have a large client base, to which we have provided any and all office refurbishment and fit out works. Offices, schools, universities you name it we are perfectly suited to handle it.