Building failures are usually design related
It is said the only thing constant in life is change. Without fluidity in our environment, the cosmos, nothing at all would happen. Everything from a bacterium, a planet, to all the vast universes, are all in a perpetual state of change. We humans have been able to figure out quite successfully how to manipulate our environment. To stave off change, not to stop it. For that is certainly(?) impossible.
The process of our successes is historically fraught with failures. For without disappointment there can never be triumph. Through trial and error techniques are derived that work. That stand up to nature’s mutability. At least in the short term.
I came to ponder the science of building and the environment and how they are intrinsically linked when seeing a detached garage in a state of failure.
Building failures in almost every instance that I observe, are a very slow process that will someday come to a catastrophic end. They are measured with a calendar, not a watch. In fact it could be loosely said that every building is in a state collapse, for nothing lasts forever. As such when building a house or in this case a garage, considerations and precautionary techniques must be employed to stave off the inevitable. Ignoring or perhaps being ignorant of these methods can over time lead to dramatic results.
The first indication of a problem was the concrete retaining wall along the driveway leading to the entry of the garage. I think it should have a name, Eileen. The wall did not have drainage openings. I would also suspect there is nothing behind the wall, such as gravel, to drain away water.
The right side of the garage wall, constructed of concrete block, is in essence a continuation of Eileen. Soil was several feet above the wall. If you look close, you can see about where the soil line ends. Also apparent are recent “repairs” to the numerous step cracks not only in the right wall, but also to the rear wall.
At the corner I found some of those aforemetioned dramtic results.
There is a lot of movement in both walls. There is also quite a bit of water infiltration. Could that be from a lack of drainage? I would have to say that it is very possible. I also have to wonder how the wall was constructed. Are the blocks of adequate width? Has the wall been reenforced with rebar and grout? This I can not know. I am certain however that this garage will meet its end sooner than later.
My advice to my client; Send the garage back to where it all began.
Change is inevitable.