When Papering Over the Cracks Just isn't Enough

Case Study: Repairing Structural Cracking

The property is a c.1970’s ‘new build’ single storey building, in a superb location overlooking the Pyrenees.

The property exhibited severe cracking, principally horizontal but with localised diagonal cracking, which was obviously of concern to the owners, both from an aesthetic and safety perspective.

We undertook an initial inspection, and diagnosed the cracking was principally as a result of thermal movement not being accommodated within the initial design or build. Cracking was at the interface of the clay brick walls and the block and beam/mass concrete floor and ceiling slabs, with each element moving differently (but not independently) in response to hot summers and cold winters.

It also turned out that some of the reinforced concrete pillars at the corners of the building were more reinforcement than concrete, weakening the structure overall. We presented the finding to the owners and recommended several solutions, each costed out with points for and against, to allow the owners to make a cost/benefit judgement.

The agreed solution was to strengthen the weak elements of the property and accommodate the thermal movement in an aesthetically and non-disruptive way as possible.

We used specific movement beads, brought in from a UK specialist supplier, to form an expansion/contraction joint, which would take the movement of the various elements of the structure and avoid cracking.

This operation was completed and the finish added to blend in with the rest of the building- once painted the repair offers a discrete solution.