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1.What are the causes of decay and damage in old buildings?

Roof is the most important part of a historic building. Once water manages to get through the roof, the
building's rate of decay will increase exponentially. Water not only causes wood to rot but also creates
environments that are attractive to insects and other building-destroying creatures such as squirrels,
mice and rats. If water gets into the foundation and the basement, it can destabilize the base of the
building. Dampness can also penetrate through the walls and can deteriorate the building, furniture and
its contents as well. Dampness can be caused by leaking gutters, inadequate plumbing, condensation
due to inadequate ventilation, etc.

Rot problems are closely related to water problems. There is something called "dry rot" that can
compromise the strength of joists and rafters, but the most common form of rot is caused by the
presence of water. Rotten rafters will eventually cause the roof to sag and then collapse if they are not
repaired. The same thing can happen to floors if their joists become sodden and rotten.
Termites are the kings of destroyers when it comes to unwelcome insects in historic buildings. A large
nest of termites can actually eat enough of the rafters, joists and beams to cause the building to collapse
if they are left unchecked. Carpenter ants will cause similar damage, although they are not as fast or as
voracious as termites. Other insects such as cockroaches, ants, beetles, hornets and wasps are also
equally dangerous.
Fungal decay:
Fungal stain or mould usually occurs when there is a presence of water or high moisture content in
masonry walls. It can easily flourish in environmental conditions of high humidity and lack of ventilation.
Fungal stain can be seen on wall surfaces of a bathroom, kitchen, near rainwater goods including down
pipes and gutters; and at washing areas.
Peeling of paint:

Peeling paint usually occurs on building facades, mainly on plastered walls, columns and other areas
which are exposed to excessive rain and dampness. Some buildings located near the sea may face a
much greater risk once the signs of peeling paint are visible on the exterior walls. This is because the
amount of constant wind, rain and sun received can easily turn the surfaces of the paint to be chalky
and wrinkled or blistered.

Cracking of walls:

Cracks in wall, either vertical or diagonal, are common symptoms of structural instability. Diagonal
cracks, which often being widest at the foundations and may terminate at the corner of a building, often
occur when shallow foundations are laid on shrinkable sub-soil that is drier than normal which leads in
unsettled foundations or when there is a physical uplifting action of main roots of a large tree close to
the walls.

Cracks due to unsettling foundations

Erosion of mortar joints:

Causes to the erosion of mortar joints include a presence of salt crystallization, scouring action of winds;
and disintegrating effects of plant growing on a wall or water penetration leading to the concentrations
of moisture and dampness.
2.Factors reducing strength in brick work:

Type of bricks used: Various classes of bricks of varying qualities (1st class, 2nd class, 3rd class,
etc.) are available in the market and it is of utmost importance to select the appropriate brick
depending on the purpose is it about to serve.
Binding mortar and its proportion: Mortars like Portland cement mortar or lime mortar can be
used for brick work. The appropriate cement/lime-water ratio needs to be followed neglecting
which the strength of the brick masonry cannot be achieved.
Method of laying bricks and workmanship: Various methods can be adopted for brick laying and
bonding (English, Flemish etc.) Flemish bonding of bricks is generally considered to be stronger
than English bonding. Irrespective of the method adopted, care has to be taken to avoid
formation of vertical joints at the time of laying of bricks which can weaken the masonry wall
Usage of defective bricks
Improper curing of the brick work at the time of construction.

3. Problems of timber roofing and their repair methods:

Timber failure may be attributed to

insect infestation,
fungal attack,
or shakes and splits caused during the drying out of unseasoned timber.

The three most common repair types would usually deal with:

beam end repairs, due to timber being embedded or in contact with damp masonry

losses of cross sectional area due to fungal or insect attack

longitudinal cracks appearing due to changes in moisture content of the timber.

Repair solutions:

When carrying out a repair using timber it is important to select material of the same species, preferably
from a reputable source and, most importantly, with a moisture content which matches to within one
per cent that of the timber being repaired. If this condition is not met, the different drying rates of the
timber may cause problems with the repair joint.

Repair can take the following forms:

like-for-like repairs using timber from an appropriate source

'honest' repair, where steel strapping or plates are used

Like for like rapairs:
In like-for-like repairs , scarf repairs allow the maximum amount of original timber to be retained. Scarfe
joints are commonly used where the ends of timbers have decayed, for example in a damp exterior
wall. This approach, enables the decayed timber to be cut out and replaced with sound material,
depends on careful joint detailing for its structural integrity. Scarf joints are usually fixed using stainless
steel bolts or screws with traditional wedges or adhesives used between each timber surface.

Honest repair:

This method includes Reinforcing timber with metalwork or by using steel plates

Eg: a typical connection detail between a purlin and a principal beam was weakened due to the insect
infestation of the mortice and tenon joints at the intersection. A mild steel plate was fixed to the top of
the purlin and supported over the principal beam. This plate provided addition support to the purlins
below via stirrup cradles welded to the side of the mild steel upper plate. All that was visible below were
the cradles supporting the purlin.
4. Joints in concrete structure:

Although concrete expands and contracts with changes in moisture and temperature the general
overall tendency is to shrink and, therefore, crack. Irregular cracks are unsightly and difficult to
maintain. Joints are simply pre-planned cracks. Concert cracks cannot be prevented entirely, but they
can be controlled and minimized by properly designed joints. joints must be carefully designed and
properly constructed if uncontrolled cracking of concrete flatwork is to be avoided.

a. Control (contraction) joint These joints are constructed to create planes of weakness so that
cracks will occur at the desired location.

b. Isolation (expansion) joints They separate or isolate slabs from other parts of the structure
such as walls, footings, or columns, and driveways and patios from sidewalks, garage slabs,
stairs, light poles and other obstructions. They permit movement of the slab and help
minimize cracking caused when such movements are restrained.

c. Construction joints These are joints that are placed at the end of a days work. In slabs they
may be designed to permit movement and/or to transfer load. Often in reinforced concrete a
conscious effort is made to clean the joint and bond the next days work.

Building components tend to fail depending upon materials, design, method of construction,
environmental conditions and the use to which building is put. The causes of building collapse can be
classified under:

Bad Design
Faulty Construction
Foundation Failure
Extraordinary Loads
Unexpected Failure Modes
Combination of Causes

Bad design can be due to errors of computation,, erroneous theories, reliance on inaccurate data,
ignorance of the effects of repeated or impulsive stresses, and improper choice of materials or
misunderstanding of their properties. The engineer is responsible for these failures, which are created at
the drawing board.

Faulty construction has been the most important cause of structural failure. This includes the use of
salty sand to make concrete, the substitution of inferior steel for that specified, bad welds, and other

Even an excellently designed and constructed structure will not stand on a bad foundation. Although the
structure will carry its loads, the earth beneath it may not. The Leaning Tower of Pisa is a famous
example of bad foundations. The displacements due to bad foundations may alter the stress distribution

These are often natural, such as repeated heavy snowfalls, or the shaking of an earthquake, or the winds
of a hurricane. A building that is intended to stand for some years should be designed to withstand
these challenges.

Unexpected failure modes are the most complex reasons for building failure. Any new type of structure
is subject to unexpected failure, until its properties are well understood. Hence, they remain unexpected
and fall under the unexpected failure modes.

A building could collapse due to more than one of the above reasons hence a Combination of causes.

6. Write short notes on:

1) Sinking or sagging of balconies:

Balconies without rooftops that experience frequent exposure to rainfall, snow and other types of
moisture leads to sinking balconies. If a balcony does not have sufficient water protection, leaks can
develop, moisture can sink in and the balcony can quickly become ruined. Since balcony water
protection is so important, there are several materials that are manufactured to help provide additional
balcony protection.
2) Strutting:

These are used in many ways and locations in a conventionally framed roof. Their function is always to
support roof members, generally below purlins, where there are no conveniently located load-bearing
walls. Strutting beams only support roof loads. The strutting beam transfers the roof load directly to
load bearing walls. It must never rest on, or transfer load to, a ceiling joist.

3) Cracks above openings:


(a) Removal of windows or doors with inadequate propping,

(b) Inadequate bearings,

(c) Loads applied directly over the opening,

(d) No lintels.
Cracks in drywall are usually caused by structural movement, such as settling in new homes. Many
cracks occur on a seam, but they are also found in the middle of sheets over doorways or windows. In
older homes, cracks above doorways or windows can be a sign of poor workmanship, increased building
loads, or a more serious structural defect. Vertical cracks are typically caused by a seam being placed at
the corner of an opening for a door or window. Diagonal cracks are usually attributed to settlement,
increased loads, or structural issues

Most cracks go completely through the panel, so just repairing the surface is not enough. The first step
is to remove any loose material with a putty knife or utility knife. and cut a V-groove along the crack
creating about 1/2 in. wide opening that goes almost completely through the panel to the paper on the
back. Fill this gap with joint compound and cover it with mesh or paper tape. Apply two or three coats of
joint compound and feather each coat into the surrounding area. It would be a good idea to lightly apply
sand after each coat. Always allow the joint compound dry between coats.

Poor workmanship causes cracking when seams must land above an opening. It is general practice to
keep the seam at least 7 in. away from the corner of an opening. Using drywall adhesive when attaching
drywall will also help strengthen the seam. If the crack is at an angle, then it is not a seam cracking it is
the drywall itself.

4) Leakage from toilets:

Types of leakage:

Checking for a bad wax seal - A bad wax seal can be easily identified by the following method.
Place about ten drops of food coloring into the toilet bowl and mix the water around. Flush the
toilet and add another ten drops of the same color food coloring and wait. If you see the food
coloring leaking around the base of your toilet bowl, you know that your wax seal has gone bad
and you need to replace the toilet wax seal.
Checking for a bad toilet tank seal - To check for a bad toilet tank seal, place ten drops of food
coloring into the toilet bowl tank and let the water sit for a few hours. If the colored water is
running down the back of the commode and pooling at the base of your toilet, then your toilet
tank seal is bad and will need to be repaired. Repairing the problem consists of replacing the
seals that prevent water from leaking from the base of the toilet tank.

Checking for sweating toilet - Toilet tanks sweat when the humid air causes condensation to
form on the cold toilet bowl tank. There are no seals to replace nor any leaks to repairs with a
sweating toilet tank. There is only one way to prevent a sweating toilet tank and that is to
insulate the toilet tank itself.

Repairing: To be certain that the leak is a toilet leak, add some drops of liquid food coloring into the
toilet tank and wait about ten or fifteen minutes. If any of the food coloring is in the toilet bowl, you
have a certified leaking toilet tank. The most common cause for the toilet tank leaking is a faulty
toilet bowl flapper. The flapper is what holds fresh water in the toilet tank until the toilet is flushed.
Replacing the toilet flapper is a common repair. To replace a toilet flapper, just unhook the chain at
the flush lever, carefully pull the flapper out of the bracket it is locked into and replace with a new
flapper of the correct size. Another common reason for toilet leaks is that there is too much tension
on the toilet lever chain. If you look in the toilet tank, you will see a chain attached to the toilet
lever. If this chain is too tight, which in turn will hold the flapper away from its seal, then you can
loosen the chain until the flapper seats on its seal properly.

5) Terrace water proofing:

In India, Terrace Waterproofing has always been done with very traditional materials. Typically systems
like brickbat Coba, Lime terracing or the Mud Fuska technique are still very much in vogue. These
systems have been offering waterproofing with some insulation against heat.

Some of the problems that these systems have are:

Heavy loading on the slab

Cracks on the surface, especially in case of brick bat coba

Expertise levels of application required for lime terracing/mud fuska not as good as in the olden

Offer more insulation rather than a leak proof or a water-tight system

As they age breaking them and re-doing the same system is risky for the slab; cracks caused in
the slab increase the problem of leakage

Issues in carrying out water proofing:

1. Slope not proper-Slope must be provided for water drainage

2. Inadequate rain water pipes-Provide drain water pipes as required

3. Parapet wall not in good condition-Repair parapet masonry/plaster using mortar added with
w/p compounds/polymer bonding agents

4. Internal cracks, honeycombs (finished with ordinary mortar), porosity, etc. which cannot be
seen by eye-pack using inject grout at the place of leakage from top to bottom

5. Mechanical installations like cooling towers, AC units, etc., on the terrace-Foundations must be
examined and repaired if required

There are many different types of products on the market to address the above issues that can be
broken broadly into two groups: acrylic products and bituminous based products:

> Acrylic products: Are paint based and usually used in conjunction with a membrane/cloth. The product
is easy to apply and relatively cheap. However, acrylic products do not withstand ponding water (any
area where water lies), their flexibility only lasts around two to three years and then they tend to crack,
and if applied to steel, these products can trap water causing the steel to rust.

> Bituminous products are based in bitumen and have been used throughout history as waterproofing
agents. Bitumen by itself is pliable at high temperatures and rigid at low temperatures. When hot, the
polymer bitumen mix is inconsistent and it is the reinforcement that provides the required mechanical
resistance. Therefore the most stabilising effect is given by reinforcements that contain glass-fibre. It
gets applied using the torch-on method that is broken up into three parts: rolled/painted bitumen on
primer, heat is used to use the polyester matting and lastly silver aluminium bitumen-based paint that is
UV-reflective is applied.

7) Maintenance and repair of old buildings:

> Roofs:

Roofs can be difficult and dangerous to access and so are often neglected but regular maintenance of a
roof is essential to keep the whole building in good order

Identifying problems:

Problems with the roof structure: defects in original construction; overloading of structure; timber
decay due to insect or fungal attack

Problems from previous repairs

Decay of the cladding materials

Poor original design e.g. lead sheeting

Poor ventilation
Repairing a historic roof:

Retain the roofs structural integrity and historic significance

Minimise disturbance of the roof

Use traditional materials, techniques and carpentry details

Record the roof before starting and replicate original details except where they have failed.

Rain water disposal maintenance:

Check that gutters, hoppers, downpipes and gullies are running freely. Need to be cleared at least
twice annually
Check that gutters are falling the right way and dont sag between brackets
Look for any leaking joints in gutters and downpipes
Check soakaways are working properly

8) Cracking of concrete floor slabs:

As concrete loses moisture, it shrinks in dimension. If concrete were left as it is placed, it would crack in
random patterns. To avoid random cracking we create joints at regularly spaced intervals, thus
weakening the slab in a grid pattern. These joints, called control (or contraction) joints force the cracking
to occur in straight lines beneath the joints which are usually saw cut. Thus, a control joint is actually a
designed crack.

In the design and construction process there are literally hundreds of mistakes that can be made. The
following are the most common that we encounter

The joints were not cut deep enough to induce the crack, leaving the slab to crack randomly.

If the slab thickness varies, the slab contraction will encounter restraint, causing the slab to crack.

Joints were spaced too far apart and the concrete cracked between the joints, rather than at the joints.

The shrinkage stresses in the slab exceeded the strength of the concrete before the joints were cut.

The base under the slab must be smooth and evenly, densely compacted. Uneven bases create restraint,
causing the slab to crack.

> Concrete mix was too weak (too much water, etc.).
> Slab was subjected to wind or sun,
causing rapid drying and early stress build-up.
> Steel reinforcing was improperly
> Floor was designed for light loads, but
operations imposed are heavy loads.
> Slab was not properly cured to prolong water

The basic principles of crack repair are as follows:


If the crack is of hairline width, it is usually better to leave it alone. For additional protection against
deterioration apply an epoxy coating over crack.


If the crack snapped cleanly, with no islands, and if the edges of the crack have not spalled, merely fill
the crack with a proper epoxy (semi-rigid).


Don't use a cutting tool (router, etc.) that will create a 1/2" wide repair of a 1/8" wide crack.


When cutting out cracks, always go at least 1/2" deep to provide
enough "bite" for the epoxy along the joint walls.


Most cracks in slabs-on-grade do not present structural problems. Welding the slab together at the
crack may merely result in another crack occurring adjacent to the first. Use a semi-rigid epoxy for most
crack repairs, especially for the first two years.


To feather means to taper to -0- thickness. Instead, create a vertical edge of at least
1/2" deep on all crack repairs.
9) Pressure Grouting:

Cementitious Pressure Grouting is a technique where a series of 2" holes are drilled
through the existing concrete slab and a grout tube is inserted into each hold.
Cementitious "slabjack" grout is pumped under pressure through each hole. The grout
displaces, compacts and solidifies, thus forming grout columns and or filling void areas,
as applicable to each individual job. Pressure grouting stabilizes the existing concrete
slab; however, lifting of the slab, if any, is contingent upon integrity of the concrete.
Pressure grouting for stabilization is widely used under pool decks and lanai areas and
driveways. The interior of a residence may also be stabilized in this manner. Pressure
grouting is effective alone or in conjunction with helical piering system applications.
Urethane Grouting for the purpose of soil stabilization is achieved by installing lengths
of galvanized pipe into the soils at specified intervals and injecting urethane soil
stabilization grout into the soils. As pumping takes place the pipes are raised, creating a
stabilized soil curtain and or pile cap. These stabilized soils create a load bearing