Accurately diagnosing the precise causes of building defects is crucial in order to develop an appropriate structural repair design philosophy.
Cracked brickwork, crumbling concrete and failed foundations may be triggered by a variety of causes. Careful investigation and correct diagnosis of the root of the problem is essential if the repair strategy is to be effective. Visible structural defects are generally symptoms of the problem rather than the cause. It is essential therefore that a qualified engineer, who understands building movement and stresses, formulates the most suitable repair solution to fit the specific needs of the structure.
Structural Repairs Association members use qualified building professionals. They monitor, analyse and establish the source of the faults so that they can engineer a robust and durable remedy.
The foremost consideration in any structural repair design is to reinstate the structural integrity of a building.
The design solution should address site conditions, building materials, deterioration mechanisms, load-bearing capacity, repair principles, repair materials and methods and quality control inspections. A systematic approach should be used to ensure that:
- The repair is long-lasting and resilient to normal building movements caused by cyclic variations in moisture and temperature.
- The repair solution is value-engineered to ensure cost-effectiveness
- Remedial work is designed for minimum of disruption to the building fabric and is fully concealed to maintain the aesthetic appearance of the property.
There are numerous publications giving guidance on diagnosis, design and selection of both products and repair techniques. However, as the individual condition of a building is unique it will require expert knowledge to put this guidance into practice.
Where members have no internal structural engineering capacity, the SRA recommends the involvement of a member of the Institution of Structural Engineers. They have the ability to solve complex structural engineering problems. They are able to demonstrate the technical management and leadership skills needed to bring a project successfully through all stages from conceptual design philosophy to project completion.