We have to first make a report that includes all the defects in the buildings in every component…
For this analysing the structure, we have to take up preliminary inspection and observations are to be noted down.
The preliminary inspection and observation will include five basic steps:
- Climate of the surroundings
- Location of the Structure
- Building type and change in use
- Age of the building
- Physical inspection of the building components
Step 1 :
Analysis of the Climatic condition of the surroundings
- It is very essential to consider the climatic conditions of the surroundings of the structure because determining the kind of climate the place has, figuring out the defects in building materials will be easier.
- Climate has a great effect on building materials.
- For example:
India has a tropical climate. Like many other tropical countries, India has heavy rainfall and warm sunshine all year round.
- This implies that buildings in the country tend to weather rapidly, particularly in respect to external building materials which are exposed to external causes such as rain, wind, solar radiation including ultra-violet light; and atmospheric pollution.
- Here are a few examples of the defects that may occur in a structure located in a tropical country: Fungal stain, harmful growth of trees, peeling paint, erosion of mortar joints and defective plastered rendering.
Analysis of the Location of the Structure
- In the analysis of the location of the structure, consideration of the micro-climate is of great importance.
- For example:
- Buildings that are located near the sea or rivers tend to have common building defects. This is because the water coming from the ground causes dampness penetration and structural instability.
- The dampness in the structure causes crystallisation of salt which results into efflorescence (the soluble salts present in the bricks dissolve because of damp condition and cause whiting of the external walls).
- Damp-proof courses have to be installed in order to prevent rising water coming from nearby River or sea.
- In addition, soluble salt which comes from sea and together with the presence of a polluted atmosphere can cause damage to the exterior surface of the buildings.
Building type and change in use
- Most of old buildings that maintain their original functions or uses appear to have less problem internally, even though there were symptoms of building defects found on the external fabric because of innumerable reasons such as Solar radiaton, scouring action of wind, moisture etc.
- Many older buildings have been converted into museums and hotels.
- For example:
- Salarjung Palace in Hyderabad, India was converted into a general museum and Palaces in Jaipur have been converted into five-star hotels.
- Buildings that change their use and spaces should consider the effect of the new use on the existing structure. This is because historic buildings were built to only hold certain loads and sometimes may not withstand additional loads.
- Where buildings which have been converted into either commercial or office purposes, the need to install air-conditioning systems to meet modern building requirements seems necessary.
- It has been found that in a few cases the air-conditioning units were placed improperly.
- This not only affects the appearance of the buildings but intervenes with the existing fabric, particularly when ducts are running in full view on the ceiling.
- The problem about the installation of air-conditioning system mentioned above has also been seen at Salarjung Museum, Hyderabad, India.
Analysis of the Age of the Building
- All the building materials used in the construction tend to deteriorate after a period of time that result in the deterioration of the elements of the buildings at a lesser or greater rate depending upon their location and function.
- Aging building materials, particularly timber should be checked once there are signs of fungal and termite attacks.
- Building that were built in the early period of British occupation, for instance, often face problems in building materials.
- Therefore, proper treatment of building repair and maintenance should be given full consideration.
- Determining the age of the structure will also help us determine the construction technique used which will make the repair and maintenance of the structure easier.
Physical inspection of the building components
The physical inspection of the building components will help us detect the minor and major defects in the components of the structure.
- Structural inspection (Diagonal cracks occur because of structure failure)
- Walls are to be inspected (cracks or holes in the walls)
- Foundation stability is to be checked
- Electrical systems (air-conditioning)
- Mechanical systems (generator and pumps)
These are the basic steps to be followed for the repair and maintenance of old buildings.
Prevention of Building defects
- Building maintenance is the key for the prevention of building defects.
- Old buildings that neglect building maintenance may fall into several defects which may lead to structural failures.
- This can be achieved by the inspections carried out by either architects or surveyors which should include checking for any signs of abnormal deterioration, cleaning out gutters of leaves or harmful growth, checking lighting conductors, cleaning out all voids and spaces; and changing tap washers.
- To secure the general structural stability and life of a building, it is important to regularly inspect not only the main structural elements including foundations, walls and roofs; but other common building problems.