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Failures, Deterioration, Renovations

Weekly load:2+1
Assessment:Credit, exam
Branch of study:Erasmus (ERA), Building Structures (D)
Type of study:Bachelor
Type of course:Compulsory
Main lecturer:Doc. Ing. Eva Burgetová, CSc.


Approach to building failures, their manifestation. Types of defects, their reasons. Agents causing deterioration, durability. Principles and procedures of structural diagnosis. Failures and remedial work of foundations, masonry and DPCs, vaults, horizontal load-bearing structures (timber, concrete), roofs and claddings, vertical load-bearing structures (concrete, steel). Study Cases. Protection and rehabilitation of historic monuments.


To introduce types of defects (symptoms, significance, criticality), structural survey (site inspection, laboratory tests). To analyse causes, reason for failures (origin, frequency, performance) agencies causing deterioration, durability of materials, role of external forces, instability and deficiency of structures. Failures and repair and rehabilitation of structures.


1.-2. Introduction (B)
Approach to building failures, manifestation of failures
Types of defects, reasons for failures
Agencies causing deterioration of building materials, non-force effects (temperature, moisture), durability of building materials
Moisture movement through porous materials
R ole of external forces - principles , deficiency of structures

3. Structural survey and evaluation of building state and performance (B)
Methodology, criteria, observation - the site survey, laboratory tests, description of quidance
Principles and procedures of structural diagnosis (site inspection, laboratory tests)
Survey: preliminary, comprehensive, additional
The report: principles, contents, conclusions

4. Investigation kits (B)
pull-off tester, Schmidt concrete test hammer, rebar locater (profometer), deformationmeter, ultrasonic device, technoscope, infra red thermography, protimeter, hygrometer, moisture meter, moisture analyser

5. Biodeterioration (B)
plants, algae, lichen, bacteria, moulds (micromycete), crusts, fungi, insects
- life cycles, conditions, occurance, identification, treatment

6. Moisture in masonry and DPCs (B)

7. Failures and remedial work of foundations (C)

8. Failures and remedial work of masonry and pillars (strengthening) (C)

9. Failures and remedial work of vaults (C)

10. Failures and remedial work of timber and half-timber load-bearing structures (B)

11. Failures and remedial work of roof-truss structures and steel structures (C)

12. Failures and remedial work of concrete load-bearing structures (C)

13. Failures and remedial work of precast concrete structures (C)

14. Excursion

Note: composition of lectures 6. - 13. is following:

- Historical structures, technologies

- Types of defects, symptoms, significance, criticality, reason for failures
- Records of faults: origin, frequency, performance
- Survey
- Study Cases


Seminar work - 2 study cases

  • description of failures, documentation previous report
  • laboratory checks on objective factors (properties of materials, degree of deterioration)
  • analysis of failure reasons
  • assessment of remedial works leading to improvement / optimalization
  • presentation of seminar work


  1. Addleson L.: Building Failures, Butterworth-Heinemann, Ltd. 1992
  2. Cook, G. Hinks, A.J.: Appraising building defects, Longman Group UK L. 1992
  3. Assesing traditional housing for rehabilitation, BRE 1990

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