Suppose you’re the owner of a commercial building. In that case, you’re responsible for ensuring its structural integrity, safety, and security to keep your tenants and the establishments safe. But sometimes, there are some damages that we don’t see with the naked eye.
Luckily, structural damages have signs that we can see to determine something wrong with the building itself. It manifests in ways we don’t usually acknowledge, but is evident once we start noticing it. If you don’t know these signs, maybe we can help you. Here are some signs that your commercial building has sustained structural damage.
Water leaks are usually dealt with through historical building restoration on specific properties, since their sewer systems are already too old and need updating. However, even new commercial buildings suffer from water leakage occasionally.
This is usually due to cracked concrete that exposes the internal sewer systems to outside elements, creating rust, mold, etc. It could also expose electrical wiring, which can be a massive problem for the whole building. The worst thing about water leaks is that they can also occur due to faulty pipes.
That said, when doing your routine inspections, you should check for wet spots and water stains on the ceiling, floor, and other areas where you know the pipes are closed. Unless it’s a typical spill, it’s not a problem. However, when you determine that it’s not just a typical spill, that might be a potential issue forming before your eyes or have been a recent problem for quite a while now.
Unfortunately, structural damage due to water is quite common in the US, especially in states where many storms come through. Back in 2022, it was expected for the US to have at least 13.5 billion in expenses for flooding damages alone.
Even in other places like Australia, almost 42% of the common building defects are caused by water. If you have a commercial building in Australia, like Newcastle, working with building certifiers newcastle should help you get the proper approvals and certifications to ensure your commercial building is safe.
Cracks in the Wall
Cracks in the wall are always scary, especially if you see them everywhere in the building. Thankfully, most cracks aren’t that serious since it’s expected due to how the ground shifts. However, if you see a long fissure running horizontally or at a 45-degree angle, it might be time to call the professionals.
This usually means that your building’s entire structural integrity is in danger, risking everyone and everything inside the building. You can usually see these cracks around the windows, ceilings, and doors.
If you notice that your roof is sagging even for a little bit, it’s an obvious sign that something is up with the structural integrity of your building. Many factors cause a sagging roof, like weather-related damages, wearing of the materials, etc. However, it can also occur due to a lack of maintenance. For example, if you don’t have a well-maintained gutter system, too much water will accumulate on your roof, making it sag so much that you start noticing it.
Of course, a sagging roof is quite a huge problem to your building’s structural integrity. If you choose to neglect it, too much water will accumulate in your gutter system. Eventually, your roof will collapse, leading to many problems you now have to deal with, like structural damage, water damage, property damage, etc.
The crumbling of concrete and brick walls usually means they are exposed to high levels of moisture and chemicals, specifically salt and chloride. If you see your concrete and brick walls slowly crumbling, especially in the underground area, the place might have been suffering from too much moisture for quite a while already. Moisture and chemicals lessen the strength of the bond between bricks, which makes them crumble down.
However, it takes quite a long time, so if you see extensive damage already, you can assume that the problem has been here for quite a while. This could also be a cause of concern for your foundation since it might have been affected as well already. In this situation, you need the help of a professional since there might be other places that have also been damaged.
Spike in Utility Bills
A spike in utility bills is usually not a concern for many property owners since it’s usually caused by the establishments renting your building. However, if you notice that you’re still getting big energy bills even with the less usage of electricity by the tenants, there might be something wrong already.
One of the major causes of this is faulty electrical wiring. Many things can cause it; however, it also includes structural damage since a piece of the electrical wiring work might be exposed to outside elements due to structural damage. If you think this is the case, you might want to call in the professionals.
Structural damage can come in many forms, and for the most part, they are hard to determine since their “symptoms” overlap with other problems. However, you might want to pay attention directly if you think this is the case. Structural damage is no joke, and not only does it endanger the people in your building, but it can also cause you a lot of money if you continue to neglect it.