Crack Monitoring In Structures

Ensuring safety during the construction process isn’t strictly confined to the construction site itself. Safety concerns also pertain to the structures that surround the active site. Various activities that occur on a construction site may cause significant vibrations and noises that could cause ground movements that may potentially damage the neighboring structures.  

To prevent vibration and noise-related damage to structures, firms must monitor their construction sites for vibrations and noises to ensure that they do not exceed the threshold that are established by local laws. 

However, before construction begins, firms need to assess the conditions of the surrounding buildings to determine if any structural cracks exist. If so, these existing cracks must be monitored during the construction process to confirm that there are no changes in the crack width. This service is called crack gauge monitoring. 

In the following article, we’ll discuss some of the causes of structural cracks, discuss the importance of crack monitoring, define the two monitoring methods that are currently used, and explain how you can safeguard your construction site with crack monitoring services

What Causes Cracks In Structures? 

As we mentioned above, many activities associated with active construction sites can generate a variety of vibrations and tremors that may cause structural cracks. These activities include excavating, underpinning and demolition. 

While these activities may lead to damage during construction, there are other factors that may have caused structural cracks prior to construction

After a structure is built, its weight compresses the soil beneath. This is called settlement or compaction. Over time, this movement can lead to structural damage such as cracks in the foundations.  

Other contributing factors to structural damage include subsidence and landslip. Subsidence occurs when the ground the building rests on loses significant amounts of moisture. This causes the ground to shrink and creates movement which causes damage to the structure. When subsidence occurs due to movement of a sloping ground (hills, mounds, sandbank) near a structure it can lead to damage. This factor is called landslip. 

Before construction begins, firms should conduct a thorough examination of the structures that surround the future site. During this examination, any cracks or structural damage should be identified and documented. Once cracks are identified, they need to be monitored to ensure that they do not expand and become worse during the construction process. 

Observing and measuring the identified cracks during the construction process is known as crack monitoring. 

Crack Monitoring Services  

When cracks are identified and documented in the surrounding structures during the pre-construction phases, they must be monitored during the construction phase. Crack monitoring uses devices known as crack gauges to monitor, measure and record the identified cracks’ progress and alert the firm if the crack conditions worsen during construction. 

There are two types of crack monitoring services: 

Stationary Crack Gauge Monitoring 

The old school way of monitoring existing cracks is through the use of a stationary crack gauge. Also known as a manual crack gauge or tell-tale crack monitor, these devices are installed in the area of each identified crack to measure its progress. Since these are manual tools, a trained technician must visit the site to read the gauge to collect and record the data. If a change has occurred, the technician will alert the construction team and they will take the necessary action.  

Wireless Crack Gauge Monitoring

In recent years, many firms switched to this digital variation of the traditional crack gauge. Also known as automated crack gauge monitoring or crackmeter, wireless crack gauge monitoring automatically tracks the progress of each identified crack. All information is sent to an electronic data logging system for remote, real-time monitoring purposes. In the event of a significant change, the wireless gauge will send an alert to the system and prompt the construction team to take action. 

Avoiding Violations with Saltus Crack Monitoring Services

If you need to document and monitor existing damage in the structures located in your construction zone, Saltus Construction Monitoring Services is the firm to trust. 

Using both stationary and wireless crack gauges, our certified team of field technicians can provide detailed and accurate crack monitoring services for your site. By tracking the progress of each identified crack in nearby structures, notifying your team of any significant changes, and creating a final report at the completion of the project, our team ensures your project’s full  compliance with all applicable codes and laws, including the Technical Policy and Procedure Notice #10/88 (TPPN 10/88). 

With over 15 years of experience in crack gauge monitoring and other construction monitoring services, Saltus provides solutions for any construction project in the Tri-State area – and beyond! 

Contact us today to learn more about our crack monitoring services!