When it comes to maintaining and repairing a building – whether it’s a commercial property or residential apartments – it’s important to understand the difference between structural repairs and general repairs.
With a strong grasp on both types of repairs, you’ll be able to best find the right building maintenance services to suit your needs. In this guide, we’ll introduce you to the different categories and outline the basic information you need to know.
Structural repairs are essentially any maintenance or fixing that needs to be done to ensure the ongoing integrity and safety of the core framework of the building itself. These issues can relate to stability of the structure, load-bearing capacity or other fundamental building-related problems.
Some examples of structural repairs include:
1. Wall Reinforcement
Walls of a building need to be stable, able to withstand a minimum load, and safely reinforced. In instances where either building degradation or natural conditions such as storms or earthquakes compromise the integrity of a wall, structural repairs need to be applied.
2. Roof Repairs
Whether a roof is damaged or just sagging, repairs are necessary. Why? The integrity of your roof prevents further damage caused by leaks and other issues, which over time can lead to structural issues.
3. Foundation Repairs
Unsurprisingly, repairing the foundations of a compromised building is foundational to the structure’s safety and integrity. Whether it’s a crack, shifting or settling foundations, the stability of the entire building could be at risk.
On the other hand, the term general repairs refers to any and all maintenance tasks that are not directly related to ensuring the structural integrity of the building. Issues related to comfort, aesthetics or even functionality all fall under the category of general repairs as they do not threaten the stability of the building itself.
Some common examples include:
Applying fresh coats of paint, decorative wallpapers and other improvements to the appearance of the space is obviously unrelated to foundational integrity and thus is considered a general repair.
2. Plumbing and Electrical Repairs
Both plumbing and electrical repairs are critical for buildings but because they do not compromise the integrity of the structure they are not considered structural repairs. Of course, leaky faucets, faulty wiring and malfunctioning appliances pose their own serious dangers and affect everyday functionality, they are not related to the structural integrity of a building.
3. Floor Repairs
Similarly, floor repairs whether for functional or fashionable reasons are not related to the foundational structure of a building. Even in cases where the flooring represents a serious safety concern and therefore needs urgent attention, it can still fall under the category of general repairs.
How to tell the difference between general building repair and maintenance and structural maintenance?
Due to the fact that both categories of building repairs maintain and relate to the overall condition and use of a building, it can sometimes be confusing to work out which sort of repair work you may be facing.
Importantly, both types of repair need quality workmanship to ensure the issues are resolved and to prevent further damage to the building, whether structural or not.
Proper maintenance can help to extend the lifespan of your building and prevent the problems from becoming worse and consequently more costly and extensive over time. The earlier you can address either a structural or a general building repair job, the more money you’ll save in the long run.
The Differences in Repair Work
If your building needs repair work done, before you pick up the phone to call a professional repair company such as BIM Sydney, run through this brief checklist to determine what kind of issue you are facing.
What is at risk?
Think about what the root risk of the building-related issue you need repaired is. Is it comfort and aesthetics? Is it to improve functionality? These are clearly general repair works. If the structural stability of the building is at risk, then you’ll be looking at structural repairs.
Remember: This is not about whether there are safety concerns. General maintenance and repair can also be required to maintain safety standards. If the safety risk is related to unstable or compromised structures, however, then it becomes a structural repair job.
How extensive is the problem?
If you’re still unsure which category your repair job falls into, think about the scope of the problem. Structural repairs typically require more extensive work, including a thorough assessment, some engineering expertise and a proposal. General repair jobs are often simpler in application and resolution, especially those that are purely of a cosmetic nature.
How much will the issue cost to fix?
Similarly, due to the nature of structural repairs being more extensive and complicated, they tend to be more expensive. Often specialised equipment or consultation is needed which can make the entire job more laborious, require more materials and be more time intensive.
What to do when you notice a problem in your building?
So, what do you do once you’ve noticed that there is an issue – structural or otherwise – with your building.
1. Assess the impact
First, you need to assess whether the repair directly affects the stability and safety. If it does, there is probably need for structural repair and a risk assessment should be carried out for current users or occupants of the building.
2. Consult a professional
Health, wellbeing and safety is paramount. But getting professional advice early is important for additional reasons as well. The earlier you can address building repair and maintenance work, the easier the job is likely to be and the greater your potential savings.
The BIM team are always happy to assist in assessing the issue, provide expert guidance and advise on any necessary or recommended repairs.
1. Inspect for visual damage
Keeping an eye out for visible signs of damage – such as roof, wall or foundation cracks – will help you continually assess the safety and stability of your building. Structural issues are often indicated by more significant and noticeable visual damage, though this isn’t always the case.
2. Review maintenance records
Having and reviewing maintenance records of your building will help provide valuable insights into the nature of previous issues and repair work conducted on the building. Check to see what sort of records related to past repairs and completed maintenance work and provide these to the professional repairers you engage.
Call the BIM Sydney team for all your building maintenance and structural repair needs
While it’s important, helpful and safer to have a strong understanding of the difference between structural repairs and general repairs, professional advice you can rely on is just a phone call away.