Defects - Topic Home



The following few pages show photos of building defects, general bad practice, and a few interesting repairs. In some cases we know the cause of the defect, in others we can only guess. Many of the pictures have been kindly supplied by existing or former students; where possible we have given their names. Each image is accompanied by the name of the copyright holder (as far as we know) and one or two paragraphs of text. A few images don't have any accompanying text; this probably means we don't know who owns the copyright and/or we can't work out the nature of the problem.

Please note that none of these photos can be used in any publication etc without the owner's written permission. A few of the photos are larger colour versions of pictures in Understanding Housing Defects (Estates Gazette).

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Additional photos
This garage wall was built in the 1950s. It's one brick thick and in English Garden Wall bond. The photos were taken either side of a week-end in December - during a period of heavy frost following a wet November. It's a typical example of frost attack. These bricks can be patched or re-faced but it's hardly worth it.

In practice, diagnosing some defects is a complex business and a photo on its own is often not much use. Unfortunately, it's the best we can do at the moment. Defining just what is a defect can also be difficult. Is it the manifestation or the root cause? Is a leaning loadbearing wall defective if the house can still function as normal? Fortunately, on this site we do not have to be too pedantic - if we like the photo it's in! And, because we want to increase your knowledge and understanding we have also included photos of potential defects.

We have tried to split these photos into sections. This is a lot harder than it sounds. A crack in an external wall could lead to dampness and plaster failure (among other things): so just how do you categorise the defect? Is it a cracking problem or a dampness problem? We may review this at some point in the future but, for the present, we have split the images into elements - in other words where the defect is most obvious: thus a crack in wall which allows dampness to penetrate is most likely to be included in the section on Cracking & Movement. 

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