When it comes to structural repair, it's important to understand the need for it and the various methods available. Faulty design, incorrect workmanship, and extreme weathering can all lead to the need for structural repairs. Homeowners should contact their insurer if cracks occur in the home, as they may appoint a structural surveyor to monitor the situation before any work is deemed necessary. Fortunately, structural repairs can now be carried out with much less disruption than in the past.
Depending on the building, simple maintenance work may be sufficient or a more extensive repair may be necessary. It's important to distinguish between structural repair and general repair, as they are not interchangeable. Repair methods should be designed with the expected or desired remaining service life of the structure in mind. Some repairs aim to stop deterioration completely while others only slow down the deterioration process for a limited period of time.
Relevant repair methods include the application of penetrating corrosion inhibitors and surface coatings, temporary electrochemical techniques, cathodic protection systems, bonded coatings (patch repairs), and crack injection. In addition to these methods, courses are available on various topics such as the repair of wood resins and hollow wall anchors. Subsidence can also cause cracks and bulges in walls that can be repaired if correctly identified. Structural repair and stabilisation offers a cost-effective alternative to demolition and reconstruction, and is vital for conserving and protecting buildings in the UK.
A procedure has been developed to help civil engineers model and select appropriate repair materials according to a set of pre-defined criteria. This procedure is coupled with the VIKOR method to obtain the best repair material for concrete structures. Patch repairs involve removing concrete cover up to 25 mm beyond rebar and installing a repair material. Property Care Association (PCA) members specialising in structural repair should be consulted for practical advice on structural maintenance. In summary, it's important to understand the need for structural repair and the various methods available.
Regular repairs and preventive actions serve to prolong the service life of a structure, resulting in economic savings and a reduction in material wastage.