The recent building collapse in Delhi NCR has claimed many lives. The authorities have tagged them as illegal construction of poor quality and without permits. While the built quality of the concrete structures has always remained a serious concern for homebuyers especially in high-rise buildings, homebuyers can self-check for sign of damages in a ready structure from time to time and avoid any major mishap.
Look for non-structural cracks
1) Check for hairline cracks in the wall. These are usually found on the surface of the wall and do not affect the structure inside. These cracks are resultant of poor workmanship during construction or due to shrinkage or contraction of the rendering on the walls.
2) Cracks that stretch into many directions.
3) Cracks appearing between non-structural walls and structural wall (an interface between brick walls and reinforced concrete columns)
Spalling of concrete
1) Stains of water or rust are found on the surface or there is seepage of water.
2) Appearance of cracks in the concrete and spalling of tiles/rendering. Such issues are found in ageing buildings. The prolonged seepage of water can damage the steel bars inside the concrete. When steel bars get rusty, they force them to expand and surrounding concrete to crack.
3) The bulging in surface or concrete peeling off, exposing the rusty steel bars.
Check out structural cracks
1) Cracks appearing on structural elements such as beams or penetrating the surface rendering into the structural concrete or load-bearing brick wall.
2) Long cracks across the wall or rusty stains that appear on the cracks. This can be accompanied by diagonal cracks that appear on the corners of the window frames or door frames.
3) Structural cracks are usually caused due to excessive movement of the structure of the building, overloading or partial weakening of the building due to rusting or ageing of material, damage caused by accidents, improper design or construction.
Other issues to check for ensuring construction quality
1) Problem with the roof decks is difficult to observe. Therefore, you might need the assistance of a trained professional. Watch for signs of water intrusion on the interior walls as well as ceilings
2) Cracks in concrete sidewalks, driveways, garage floors or retaining walls indicate that the soil is not properly prepared or the concrete structure is not properly installed.