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Building cracks: evidence on the impact of new construction works on existing buildings

Adi Irfan Che‐Ani (Department of Architecture, Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Bangi, Malaysia)
Zaleha Mohd Noor (Department of Architecture, Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Bangi, Malaysia)
Low Sui Pheng (Department of Building, School of Design and Architecture, National University of Singapore, Singapore)
Norngainy Mohd Tawil (Department of Architecture, Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Bangi, Malaysia)
Mazlan Mohd Tahir (Department of Architecture, Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Bangi, Malaysia)

Structural Survey

ISSN: 0263-080X

Article publication date: 30 August 2011

Abstract

Purpose

There have been several recent cases reported in Malaysian newspapers of complaints about the impact of construction works on the physical conditions of the surrounding buildings. The purpose of this paper is to present the findings of a study conducted on a complaint received by the Local Authority in Selangor, Malaysia, about the impact of adjacent new construction works on the conditions of existing buildings in the neighbouring vicinity.

Design/methodology/approach

The sample case study consists of 28 units of two‐storey terrace houses, and the instrument used was the inspection form for building inspections. A building survey was carried out for all the buildings in the case study. Two teams conducted the survey. Each team was led by a professional building surveyor and assisted by two assistant building surveyors. Apart from basic surveying tools, a digital calliper was also used to measure cracks. Crack‐width data were collected and analysed using the statistical package for social sciences (SPSS) software.

Findings

The findings show that the adjacent new construction works have impacted the existing buildings nearby. A numbers of cracks of various magnitudes were identified in all the existing houses. One significant finding is that there appears to be no significant relationship between the cracks on the interior and the exterior, nor between the original and the renovated parts, of the existing buildings.

Originality/value

The significant number of cracks identified in the existing houses implies that the cracks were associated with the impacts from the new construction works. However, the primary cause of the building cracks was difficult to determine. It is therefore proposed that the Local Authority should establish guidelines at the local level for new construction works to prepare an inspection report on the condition of existing buildings in the surrounding area before the project commences. Building condition reports can then be used for reference in the event of claims received from the surrounding building owners alleging that the new construction works have adversely impacted the existing conditions of nearby buildings.

Keywords

Citation

Irfan Che‐Ani, A., Mohd Noor, Z., Sui Pheng, L., Mohd Tawil, N. and Mohd Tahir, M. (2011), "Building cracks: evidence on the impact of new construction works on existing buildings", Structural Survey, Vol. 29 No. 4, pp. 337-351. https://doi.org/10.1108/02630801111162396

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited