foundation system of burj al arab

How to Diagnosis Structural Failure due to Ground Movement

Diagonal structural cracks indicate serious structural failure but, not all distortions and cracks in buildings are necessarily due to ground movement. Symptoms of distress can also be caused by inadequate strength of materials, inadequate structural togetherness, material decay, dimensional instability (caused by thermal and moisture movement), overall instability, alterations, misuse and accidental loads.

There are no foolproof rules for distinguishing between the causes of movement in buildings, and correct assessment can only be made with experience and by following good surveying practice. It is essential to be thorough; examine every part of the structure and every possible cause of failure; consult geological maps; record all individual symptoms; and keep an open mind. The most probable causes may be determined by a process of elimination. If symptoms are consistent with ground movement as well as other causes, further investigations must be made to distinguish between them, including trial-pits, boreholes, drain testing, and movement monitoring.
Diagonal Structural Cracks in Building at San Francisco

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