Types of Defects & Cracking of Building Elements

Cracking of Building Elements

(Informative) as described in Australian Standard AS 4349.1

Cracking of Building Elements

(Informative) as described in Australian Standard AS 4349.1

E1 GENERAL

Use of cracking of building elements as an indicator of structural performance can be problematic.
Where cracking is present in a building element the inspector has to be alert to the possibility that the
cracking may be the result of one or more of a range of factors and that the significance of the
cracking may vary (see paragraph E2)

E2 TYPES OF CRACKING DEFECT’S
E2.1 Determining defect

Cracking in a building element may constitute a defect in a variety of ways. In many cases a
particular cracking occurrence may result in more than one type of defect, a serviceability defect and
an appearance defect.

The inspector should determine whether the cracking constitutes a major or minor defect, based on
the expected impact of the cracking.

E2.2 Appearance defect

Cracking of a building element is an appearance defect where in the opinion of the inspector the only
present or expected consequence of the cracking is that the appearance of the element is blemished.

E2.3 Serviceability defect

Cracking of a building element is a serviceability defect where the opinion of the inspector the
present or expected consequence of the cracking is that the function of the building element is
impaired.

Examples of serviceability defects resulting from cracking are as follows:

  • (a) Windows or doors not opening and closing properly
  • (b) Water leakage occurring through a building element, which otherwise should not allow water entry.
E2.4 Structural defect

Cracking of a building element is a structural defect where in the opinion of the inspector the present
or expected consequence of the cracking is that the structural performance of the building element is
impaired, or where the cracking is the result of the structural behaviour of the building.

The criteria for determining whether cracking is a structural defect are not solely related to crack
width. Cracks 0.1 mm wide may be a structural defect while cracks 5.0 mm wide may not be
structural defects. Cracking in a structural element does not necessarily indicate a structural defect.

E3 CATEGORIZATION OF CRACK IN MASONRY WALLS

Reporting of cracking in masonry walls should be in accordance with Table E1