Dr. Jaspal Singh & Kamaldeep Kaur, Department of Civil Engineering, Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana.

Introduction

The construction industry all around the world is getting modern, advance and growing day by day. Inspite of the development, construction industry is dealing with one major problem i.e. building defects. Structural Engineers are always striving to overcome challenge of defects in buildings but it is difficult to deal with it completely.

A defect is a building flaw or design mistake that reduces the value of the building, and causes a dangerous condition. A construction defect can arise due to many factors, such as poor workmanship or the use of inferior materials. Building defects do not appear to have been minimized despite recent advancements in building technology. Some common defects caused by agents such as atmospheric pollution, poor workmanship or the use of inferior materials and climatic conditions are more frequent. Defective building construction not only contributes to the final cost of the product but also to the cost of maintenance, which can be substantial. Defective construction includes activities such as compaction not done to specifications leading to ground subsidence and eventual early deterioration of foundations. This may lead to the complete failure of a structure. Conditions under which building construction takes place are often far from ideal with the focus mainly being on speedy delivery. Defects resulting of inaccurate construction can be avoided by ensuring that proper inspection mechanisms are in place. The understanding of building defects and their causes is essential for better performance of any building. Broadly speaking, building defects fall into two categories viz. defects that affect the performance of structure and defects that affect the appearance of structure.

Building Defects and Their Causes

Unstable foundation:- Most of the common problems associated with the foundations depend on the geology of the ground upon which a building stands, structural failures as well as presence and height of a water table. Additionally, inherent failures may also happen in a building in which has to cope and carry any unsettled problem of the foundations. Problems of the foundations may lead to an unstable building structure, which is unsafe to users and occupants.

Unstable foundations may occur because of several reasons including
  • Shrinking clay soil

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