Common Defects Found in a Building through Inspections

August 10, 2017 Building defects

Structural problems and leakages are sometimes only noticed during building inspections. Without a building inspection, these defects can be overlooked and unattended. As time goes on, these small problems can become worse, leading to compromised integrity and eventual structural failure. As time passes, these problems become more expensive to repair.

It’s important to get your building inspected and to repair or maintain any hazardous feature. Note that getting a governmental code inspection may not be enough, as these look for the minimum requirements and can be too infrequent to pick up serious deterioration of your building. Through proper identification and maintenance, most common defects can be easily and inexpensively fixed.

Defects are building flaws or design mistakes that significantly reduce the value of a property. They can potentially lead to a dangerous condition like collapse or fire. Even though structural engineers, architects, and building designers do their best to ensure safety, as a building owner or manager, you still have to do your part through regular inspection and maintenance.

Here are six common defects found in a building through inspections:

1. Façade and window leaks

Façade leaks, which often appear as unsightly marks and water spots in walls, are one of the most common building defects found through inspections.

As building architecture and design constantly change due to innovation, more and more complex windows and exteriors are being used. This means a single façade can be made up of many different component pieces that have to be carefully installed and maintained. Any mistake can cost a fortune in repair.

Serious water infiltration can happen when the pieces do not match together perfectly. As such, it is important to spot these defects early.

Window leaks are usually due to faulty installation. Clean out seals and gaskets at least once a year. Things like accumulated dust and grime can easily make your windows, and by extension your building, more vulnerable to the elements.

2. Crawlspace and attic ventilation

Proper ventilation keeps prevents damage, as it ensures moisture isn’t trapped inside your building. Crawlspaces and attics must be adequately ventilated to prevent wood rot and mould. Often, this kind of problem manifests as spots on the ceiling, rot and mould, and eventual attic floor collapse.

3. Foundation drainage

Water is the enemy of many buildings and homes. Improperly covering the foundation of a building can lead to water infiltration, which can evolve into rot, mould, and eventual structural failure. You can also expect insect intrusion to happen because of the moisture.

The foundation of your property should not be covered. Space should be visible along the walls and siding. More importantly, gutter downspouts should lead several metres away from the foundation and should not seep into the foundation.

4. Electrical defects

Electrical defects pose one of the biggest dangers to building safety. Proper installation and maintenance are essential. When doing anything with wiring, be sure to use the services of a licensed and insured electrical contractor.

An improper and unprofessional job poses a fire hazard. This can manifest as:

  • Inaccessible location of the electrical panels (e.g. blocked by free standing shelves or cabinets).
  • Non-professional wiring and owner repairs, which can lead to electrocution due to wires not enclosed or waterproof.
  • Double tapping, which occurs when two wires are connected to a circuit breaker that is only designed to accept one wire.

Exposure to animals is also an issue. Rodents especially can chew cables, making them unsafe. All of these things have to be quickly identified before they become a fire.

5. Roofing drainage

The design of your roof drainage system should be efficient enough to prevent the accumulation of water. This means that all upper downspouts must drain to lower gutters and flow freely away from the building. They should not drain onto the lower levels of the roof, which can harm the tiles and shingles, or back to the foundation of the building.

Unprofessional repairs are also a common cause of roof leaks and damage.

6. Plumbing problems roof leaks

Lastly, plumbing problems are often a result of inadequate maintenance and non-professional repairs. It is important to prevent the rusting of pipes and to keep your plumbing system well maintained.

 

Have your building inspected by EBI as soon as possible and prevent these building defects from risking your safety.

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