- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 07 Oct 2017
Why do buildings crack? (DG 361)
Why do buildings crack? (DG 361) was first published by BRE in May 1991, and the original content largely remains valid. The current edition was published on 21 August 2014 and includes updated references. It was written by Roger Sadgrove.
Most buildings develop cracks in their fabric, often soon after construction when materials are drying out, but sometimes later. Most early cracking is not structurally significant and is easily repaired. Only rarely does cracking indicate a reduction in structural capacity.
However, diagnosis can be difficult, as every building is unique and several factors may combine to produce a defect. DG 361 examines the causes of cracking in buildings, describes a wide range of potential problems and offers complete solutions to every cracking problem. It is intended to broaden the reader’s understanding of the factors that contribute to cracking and so increase the likelihood of correct diagnosis and remediation.
It provides guidance about how to avoid pitfalls and how to reduce the likelihood of future problems in new buildings.
The contents of the 12 page digest are:
- Extent of movement.
- The effect of movements: how do cracks occur?
- Temperature changes.
- Initial drying out of moisture and wetting and drying.
- Loss of volatiles.
- Freezing and thawing of absorbed water.
- Subsurface crystallisation of soluble salts.
- Sulfate attack.
- Corrosion or oxidation of steel.
- Moisture expansion of fired clay products.
- Alkali silica reaction.
- Hydration of oxides and unstable clinker aggregates.
- Imposed load effects.
- Foundation movement.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- BRE articles on Designing Buildings Wiki.
- BRE Buzz articles on Designing Buildings Wiki.
- BRE Buzz.
- Building Research Establishment.
- Cracking and building movement.
- Cracking in buildings.
- Defects in brickwork.
- Defects in construction.
- Defects in dot and dab.
- Defects in stonework.
- Ground heave.
- Latent defects.
- Leaning Tower of Pisa.
- Preventing wall collapse.
Featured articles and news
Whole-life costs consider all costs associated with the life of a building, from inception to disposal. Find out more here.
Reports emerge of injuries caused by Apple employees colliding with the campus' glazed walls.
The winners of NIC's ideas competition on transforming the Cambridge to Oxford arc discuss their concept.
Create new habitats and improve air quality and wellbeing.
New report provides 12 key actions which could close the structural talent gap in the construction industry.
These can be used to find out whether a proposed development is likely to be approved. Read more here.
Studying a built environment degree? Check out our helpful student resources section.
New BRE research paper explores how blockchain technology can benefit the built environment industry.
Timber is a natural carbon sink, but it must not end up in landfill at the end of its useful life.
BSRIA has collaborated with the Department of Health on research into air permeability in isolation rooms.