Cracking and Movement - Building & Pest Inspection - Common Defects No 7

N0 7. Cracking and Movement

Cracking and Movement

When cracks are observed during a Pre-Purchase Building and Pest Inspections they always attract the attention of the inspector. Cracks have many possible causes and the inspector uses his experience to attempt to identify what has caused them. This process includes examining the characteristics of the crack or cracks and other evidence that may be apparent in other areas of the building. Whilst the causes of many types of crack is obvious, there are also many situations where the cause cannot be identified within the constraints of a pre purchase inspection. When this occurs the inspector will typically recommend a further and more detailed investigation by an appropriate specialist such as a Structural Engineer.

Here are some examples of the types of cracking that occur:

  1. Cracks in the surface of concrete slabs caused by rapid drying of the concrete.

  2. Cracks in finishing layers caused by exposure to the weather.

  3. Cracks in wall and ceiling sheeting caused by the timber frame shrinking as it dries out in the first few years following construction.

  4. Cracks in masonry walls cause by movement of the foundations. Such movement has many causes and requires detailed investigation by a structural engineer.

  5. Cracks in masonry caused by insufficient or inadequate control joints to allow for thermal expansion and contraction.

If you have cracks detailed in your report Don’t Panic, they may be relatively minor. Even when the cracks are associated with more serious structural issues most can be rectified. The important thing is to inform yourself on the nature of any issues and the extent and cost of any remedial work required.