Indicative Signs that Show Your Building Needs Structural Foundation Repair

Blog | September 26th, 2018

Arguably speaking, the foundations of a structure are more essential than any other part of its framework. Agreed, upper floors must synchronously generate and direct their loads while the structural skeleton supports, well, everything. All the same, none of those load-critical elements can hold fast if the foundations are compromised. Knowing that, let’s outline some indicative signs, ones that signal trouble for a building’s foundations, and, consequently, the entire edifice.

The Foundations are Sinking 

The ground soil hasn’t been compacted. Alternatively, there’s a void somewhere below the structure. Whatever the reason, the foundations are tilting. If the rising structure isn’t to resemble the Leaning Tower of Pisa, a consulting structural engineering service needs to address the settling side of the base structure and level it immediately. Granted, a little settling is natural, but this extreme drop in one side isn’t acceptable. To fix the problem, the soil requires a compaction service. Of course, since the structure is complete and the occupants are making themselves at home, this option isn’t always feasible. Helical rods and steel piers are commonly used to anchor building foundations when they sink.

An Indicative Signs Checklist 

Scan the following list of potential foundation’s compromising signs to see if repair work is warranted.

  • Basement cracks
  • Lower wall cracks
  • Ground level doors won’t close properly
  • Uneven gaps in window/door frames
  • Cracked or tilted chimneys
  • Water seepage

In mortar and brick walls, the mortar will crumble while gaps and cracks propagate between the brick rows. Structurally, the building should no longer be occupied, not until the repairs are made and the consulting engineer carries out an inspection.

The Role of the Consulting Engineer 

Hindsight is always twenty-twenty, as the saying goes. For engineers, though, it’s their job to plan for the worse and design for the best. They carry out soil analysis checks or arrange for a professionally conducted land survey. If there’s water in the area, that soil could expand then contract again as the land warms and cools. Again, the consultant looks for signs of water in the area.

Suppose some other service gave the go-ahead for the structure. Or, conceivably, there was a change in the subterranean conditions, perhaps due to a seismic event. There’s clay under there or the site is built on top of an old quarry. Whatever the reason, a post-construction solution needs to be found. Helical piers and concrete-filled steel tubes are one options, but there are others, which will all be explored once the engineer analyses the foundations and discovers one or more of the above structural issues.

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