In spite of finally adopting advanced technology in construction engineering, some common construction defects are still found. While there is no apparent dominating issue related to the same, there are certain very common everyday issues which can be taken care of during construction
. This saves time, money and effort required to repair them later; not to mention the hassles one needs to face before the identification of the root cause of the problem.
Reasons for construction defects
It has been generally seen and statistically proved that construction defects, irrespective of whether they are major or minor ones, occur due to certain basic points which get overlooked at the time of the construction of the building. These key elements, each of which shares equal credit for these deviations, are related to:
- Architectural plan deviations,
- Substitution of approved construction materials and
- Substandard field quality.
It has been generally seen that all construction defects can also be classified into two types:
- Patent which relates to apparent defects like water intrusion drywall stains etc. and
- Latent which are generally not observable like foundation failures etc.
Common construction defects
Keeping this in mind, there are about 7 defects which result in devastating situations thereby making the occupants suffer the aftermath of something that they have no control over. These common caveats should always be kept in mind especially when opting for new constructions.
More often than not it is the roofs and the ceilings which get compromised the most. This results in improperly designed and ill-constructed roofs which in turn lead to water leakages and unhealthy living conditions from the growth of molds and damaged interiors. Other likely reasons for water intrusion from the roof are:
2. Doors and windows:
- Clipping of eaves,
- Flat roof with decks,
- Roof “felt” either not covering the roof properly or damaged due to overexposure,
- Flashing gaps open joints,
- No storm covers on plumbing penetrations etc.
Improper installation of doors and windows too facilitate water intrusion thereby leaving prominent drywall stains which can be quite embarrassing. Other defects of doors and windows include:
3. Decks and balconies:
- Flashing membranes are improperly lapped,
- Metal head flashing sheet is not installed at all,
- Improper installation of flashing at jambs, sills and even heads etc.
While balcony designs primarily concentrate on safety, the handrail system type selected, flashing metal choice of galvanic coating and gauge thickness, ultraviolet protection for waterproofing cold fluid, selection of traffic surfaces, all have a potency of risk involved. Flat decks are perennially at risk from positive drainage while even a slight slope of either the balcony or the desk towards the walls of the house can lead to water intrusion.
4. Structural components:
These from the skeleton of the entire building and hence any defect in the structural components of a building is only an invitation to danger. Common structural defects include:
5. Exterior siding:
- Improperly designed and constructed shear walls made either of plywood or OSB,
- Insufficient field nailing and edge,
- Drag straps either missing or inappropriately installed,
- Hold downs,
- Other connection hardware faults etc.
When this is improperly constructed, it gives rise to construction defects which result in water intrusions which are difficult to remedy. In fact, water intrusion from the exterior siding not only causes damage to the exterior walls but the interior walls also get damaged and lead to the growth of molds and wood rot and cracking, warping etc., of the wood panel itself.
6. Concrete slabs and foundation:
This is the worst kind of construction defect and can lead to the whole structure being rendered dangerous and unsafe for use. Vertical displacements, horizontal cracking, improperly mixed concrete mixture etc., are some of the causes for defects being found in the foundation and concrete slabs.
7. Installation of other electrical systems:
Systems like the HVAC, insulation, and MEPs when installed in a defective manner not only cause life-threatening issues but also result in substantial increase in monetary outflow.
As is the case with all defects, the faster they are tracked, the lower is the cost of repair. But if these basic reasons of deviations are nullified during the construction stage itself, no repairs are required thereby saving a lot of money and time. While constant surveillance during the planning and designing stages, actual construction of the building and its maintenance life cycle helps to reduce the intensity of these defects it does not obliterate them altogether.