Cracking in buildings is a very common issue faced by the people of Adelaide and South Australia. The effects and issues arise throughout the property and not simply in Strata Title of Community Title properties.
What Is Cracking?
Buildings and other constructed structures are moving constantly, yet for the most part, these movements occur at such a slow rate that it is often unnoticeable. These movements can occur for many different reasons, ground movement, failure or deterioration in the structure, natural or unnatural subsidence, etc. On occasions the structures (depending on age, level of movement, etc will crack whether it be superficial, aesthetic and hairline in nature or more extreme and even structurally concerning. The presence of these cracks and deformations can be outwardly unpleasant visually to Residents, but the more serious cracks, if not taken care of properly, can influence and undermine the steadiness of the structure and cause safety concerns for those with-in or surrounding the building.
In recent years we have seen a number of structurally concerning Buildings in the Eastern States presented in the News and the ramifications showing how these large structural cracks have undermined those buildings and resulted in extreme financial hardship for Owners and Body Corporate Members.
Some Common Reasons Of The Cracking:
A few of the common causes are discussed below. Keep reading to find out more about them.
- Soil Issues:
Cracks in buildings may occur as a result of movement in the soil, soils shifting and allowing the building to move. Some of these movements are natural and will expand and contract each year to an extent depending on the moisture levels of the soil. Changes to surrounding soils can play an impact (i.e lack of moisture or removal of trees), etc. Certain areas in South Australia are more prominent for soil movement due to the types of soils and clays in those suburbs.
- Contraction Of Clay:
When the clay found underneath the property shrinks, cracks are likely to appear. When this clay or soil contracts or shrinks, cracks are likely to appear. When you are in a dry area for example (and as Australia has seen plenty of droughts in recent periods) you can physically see how the top layers of clay crack and open up then may contract again. In some areas, Buildings are sitting on soil just like this, sometimes deeper into the ground and just as the soil moves, the building sitting on top may move along with it.
- Due To Changes In Weather Or Temperature:
Thermal or seasonal cracking is another common cause of cracking in a building that occurs due to changes in weather and temperature. As South Australia faces extreme weather throughout the year, a lot of property owners in Adelaide especially experience seasonal cracking in their buildings due to constant changes in weather. These buildings including Strata and Community Title properties will shrink or expand as the temperature increases or decreases because moisture or humidity keeps on changing throughout the year. As a result, some minor cracks may appear and can disappear as the temperature changes. Depending on the size and location of these cracks, however, dirt or moisture may get into these cracks. It may not be viable to continuously patch these aesthetic cracks.
- Due To Chemical Reactions
- Due To Moisture Present In The Homes.
How Everyone Is Affected By It?
Major cracks can cause immense problems to the people living in these buildings if not looked after properly. They can make the building structure weak or unsafe for the people living there. Also, if this issue is not resolved in due time, serious damages can result in owners of these buildings facing large financial losses.
What Needs To Be Done?
Although it might scare you to find a crack in your house or building, you do not need to worry about it in most cases. If you feel that this might risk your Strata or Community Titled unit or building then you should raise this with your Strata Manager of Management Committee.
If the damage is severe, there may be a need to engage either an Engineer or Plumber to determine if there is an underlying cause to the cracks that require structural repairs or repairs to prevent further cracking, such as repairing a cracked or broken pipe.
Minor aesthetic internal cracks are the responsibility of the Unit Owner and you may choose to patch these cracks for aesthetic reasons
It’s Your Community.