When it comes to the structural integrity of your home or office, nothing is more important than a concrete slab. Concrete slabs are the foundation upon which everything else is built, so it’s essential to ensure they are in good condition.
In this article, we will discuss what a concrete slab is, what is involved in a concrete slab inspection, and what common issues and defects occur in concrete slabs. This knowledge will be imperative for – and can be applied to – any future house work or building inspections.
Do you require a concrete slab inspection?
Whether it’s to check the foundations, witness the pour or to inspect the final slab, our team of building inspectors can help.
What is a concrete slab?
A concrete slab is a flat, horizontal surface made of a concrete mix. They are commonly used in concrete structures that serve as foundations for buildings or homes, as well as driveways, patios, and walkways.
Concrete slabs must be strong enough to support the weight of the structure above it, so it’s important to ensure they are correctly installed. You can find hardened concrete slabs in a very large number of building structures.
What common issues are found in concrete slabs?
Despite being used to set a good foundation in many different types of construction, there are issues that may be encountered with concrete slabs. Let’s take a look through some of the most common concrete slab defects you may encounter.
By far the most commonly seen problem with concrete slabs is cracks. There are a wide range of potential causes for cracks, and they also have a wide range of possible consequences. There are also different types, from closely spaced shallow cracks to long, deep structural cracks.
Some causes of concrete cracks include poor concrete placement, a poorly balanced concrete mix, variations in temperature and climate, and even an insufficiently designed structure or poor maintenance. Depending on the severity of the cracks, these can be minor aesthetic issues or severe structural integrity problems.
The good thing is that it can be easy to avoid cracks in your hardened concrete surface. One of the best things to do is ensure you and any workers hired for the job are using proper procedure and checking everything as they go.
Found on the exterior of a concrete slab, honeycombing is where the integrity of the concrete is compromised and the result looks like honeycombs made by bees.
Like cracked concrete, honeycombing can be caused by a poor concrete mix with too much – or too little – loose powdered concrete compared to the rest of the mix. It can also occur when the footing perimeter of the concrete pour is weak, leaving some to leak out before hardening.
Honeycombed concrete can cause big defects in concrete structures if left untreated – especially if moisture is able to seep in. Like with cracks, taking proper procedure when making and pouring the concrete should help avoid this.
What can I expect during a concrete slab inspection?
A concrete slab inspection is a visual examination of the slab to check for cracks, unevenness, and other defects. A slab inspection completed by SURE Building & Pest is conducted in 3 phases. A pre pour inspection and a slab pour witness are completed on the same day with a post slab inspection completed during the plate high inspection.
Phase 1: Pre pour inspection
Pre pour inspections – also known as foundation or footing inspections – are the first phase, being performed prior to the concrete slab being poured. The condition of the footings is checked and the area is inspected to make sure it adheres to Australian standards. This includes looking at things such as trenches, services, stormwater, pipe penetrations, and the steel reinforcement. It is also important to check that the slab layout accurately matches the floor plan of the building that will be built upon it.
Phase 2: Slab pour witness
The building inspector remains onsite to observe the concrete being poured. This ensures a second pair of eyes watches and makes sure the concrete is being poured correctly, while also allowing any issues to be found and resolved as they occur, saving the hassle of trying to make repairs and fixes after the concrete slab has begun to set.
Phase 3: Post slab inspection
Once the concrete slab has been poured and set, a final inspection can occur during plate high inspections to verify whether or not the finished concrete surface is correctly installed as per the building specification and National Construction Code. Here is when checks for cracks and protrusions are made, as well as checking the slab is level and has set correctly.
Get your next concrete slab inspection from SURE Building & Pest
Having a good concrete slab is critical to making sure any reinforced concrete structures built upon it stand the test of time and meet the right standards. Getting a slab inspection is critical to ensuring no construction defects occur later in the life of the building.