Engineering Report

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Altez Engineering Group specialises in structural inspections. We have been experts in the field and have been engaged to attend sites for structural distress and dispute matters. There are many defects in your home that could be related to the structure of the building that would require immediate attention or remedial work. A site inspection is always recommended to determine the structural defects, the causations and the effects. Depending on the site conditions and situations, our inspection service would also include the use of professional equipment like thermal imaging cameras, digital floor level measuring meter, laser levelling meter, moisture reading meter and soil moisture meter to assist us in our inspection findings to achieve accurate results.

An engineering report would detail the defects found at the time, the application of the professional instrument and the results, the inspection findings, the causation of the defects and their rectification methods. In addition, an engineering drawing may be required depending on the site inspection outcome and council regulations. An engineering report can be used for insurance claim disputes, VCAT disputes, satisfying a contract of sale, and other purposes. To understand more about an engineering report and the scope of content, contact the office at


The type of cracks homeowners should know

Wall and ceiling cracks can be commonly found in residential buildings. While most plastering cracks can be easily repaired and patched by tradesmen, this form of cosmetic repair would not necessarily guarantee that the cracks would stop forming after that. In most cases, the major cracks can be traced back to a structural defect that would require a major step to repair such as underpinning or restumping.

Hairline Cracks

Hairline cracks have an approximate crack width of less than 0.1 mm and can be found in any residential building. Hairline cracks can be found in internal plastering walls, ceilings, concrete pavement and exterior masonry walls. They can be from the foundation movement, thermal expansion, settlement, or even water damage. Unless you have a professional background in the construction industry, it is difficult to determine whether the hairline cracks are merely cosmetic or structural defects in disguise.

Most hairline cracks can be easily repaired with cosmetic touch-ups like painting, plastering or applying a thin layer of crack filler. Though they do not necessarily have a direct impact on the structure, they are often an indication of a serious underlying structural issue that calls for our attention. Most importantly, even an experienced structural engineer would not be able to comment on the overall structural integrity of a house based on a single crack assessment. You should monitor the hairline cracks for a short period of time and if you notice any further crack development, you should contact Altez Engineering Group for an assessment.

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Vertical Cracks in Masonry Walls

Two common vertical cracks that can be found in masonry walls are straight cracks and toothed vertical cracks. The straight vertical crack can form through the wall by cracking through the bricks. On the other hand, the toothed vertical cracks normally formed along the brick mortar without cracking through the bricks. Common causes of these vertical cracks are temperature variation, foundation movement and moisture movement. Their impact on the structure depends on the crack width, category and amount of cracks found in the same wall. The cracks shown in the pictures below depict the vertical straight crack and toothed crack respectively. Although these cracks can be repaired easily with a crack filler, it would require further monitoring to understand the causation of the cracks and their rectification. If the cracks continue to develop further in length and width, you should organise an inspection by a qualified inspector as there is a chance it is an active crack due to foundation movement.

Moderate to Extreme Cracks in Brickwork

If you notice major cracks are forming in the exterior brick walls, there is a chance that this building is experiencing structural distress and should be attended to by a structural engineer as soon as possible to prevent further degradation. A structural crack is typically wider and longer than a non- structural crack and can be easily noticed by one from a normal viewing position. These cracks can be attributed to many factors, including differential settlement movement, missing articulation joints in masonry walls, poor design capacity, subsidence, reactive soils or rising damp issues. It is important to stress that applying strong crack fillers are often not adequate for these structural defects.

The standard first step is to undertake a forensic investigation that would potentially require a soil report and a thorough inspection to understand the nature of these cracks. Depending on the investigation and situations, a well-put remedial plan may be required to rectify the defects and reinstate the property to its normal serviceable state. For example, in one of our inspection cases, we were engaged by our client to investigate a house due to the emergence of multiple long and wide cracks found inside and outside of the building. And after a thorough investigation, we noticed the downpipes were not connected to any stormwater drain and instead discharging directly into the grounds near the building. Not only would this cause abnormal moisture conditions in the foundation, but this can also cause major subsidence to the footings. We then offer an engineering plan for the underpinning works to reinstate the footings to a serviceable state.

If you happen to find some extreme cracks in your building and require any further advice before engaging in a structural inspection, please do not hesitate to submit your photos using our enquiry forms or reach out to

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Major Cracks inside the building

The images below are actual structural cracks photographed during our site inspections in the past. They were all from different properties. While some of the cracks shown in the given images may not necessarily be categorised as major structural cracks, they were all related to subsidence and defective footing that required remedial action to stop further crack formation. Most structural cracks have common characteristics. They typically begin to form around doors and windows opening as they are the weak points in the structure. As the cracks extend longer, wider and deeper, you often find other corresponding defects, such as window gaps, door binding issues, sinking floorboards and distorted cornices.

It is up to the individual to determine what they are prepared to tolerate the extent of the structural defect. You can choose to repair the apparent defects at the surface level or tackle the problem at its roots. Most of the major cracks can be related to poor footing or foundation that would require a few major steps to rectify, depending on the case. It can involve underpinning jobs, tree removals, relocation of the downpipes and landscaping work, subjected to expert opinions.

Altez Engineering offers professional inspection to determine the extent of the defects, the causation of the damage, and an engineering report detailing the necessary steps to rectify the issues. A site inspection is always required to understand the structural distress, and the outcome can be shared with the clients at the site after the inspection. If you are experiencing similar distress, please contact the office at for advice.

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