Building Failure

As they get older, buildings will fail; materials get old, buildings move and the weather gradually erodes the building's fabric. The weather is also becoming less predictable, more intense and more regularly runs contrary to historic patterns.

Nothing beats regular checks and maintenance for minimising building repairs; we always advise clients to have a regular process of checking and maintenance.

Even old buildings are complex constructions and while many failures manifest themselves in a very obvious manner, can be easily diagnosed and rectified, they will sometimes exhibit symptoms of failure which are either very puzzling or, apparently simple to solve but actually caused by another problem. This is especially true of failures caused by changes in weather patterns.

The consequences of not solving a problem correctly can be damaging; both for the wallet and for the building.

JGA have over 20 years' experience of assessing buildings' problems, analysing the causes, demonstrating that the analysis is correct and then specifying appropriate repairs and alterations to stop or mitigate the problem. This has included:
  • understanding that the damp in a basement actually comes from the roof and chimneys, 4 floors above
  • appreciating that the face of a wall which is now external was built as an internal wall and less able to cope with the weather as a result
  • noticing that recent severe weather has been from an unusual direction, coinciding with the time when the problem occurred
  • demonstrating that the prevalence of weather from a given direction has changed and how that is now having an impact on places which were previously protected
  • analysing rainfall rates to demonstrate that existing rainwater goods and overflows are adequate; or not, as the case may be.
  • having a critical eye for existing building constructions and appreciating that they have been failing since first constructed.

Above all, we know that the weather is no arbiter of taste of fashion, if the design won't keep out the weather - it will get in!

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