For the most part cracks and fractures in walls and ceilings are due to minor problems but sometimes they can be more serious and need to be investigated and suitable repairs made.
Examples of instability include:
- stepped cracking of brickwork due to subsidence (caused by ground movement or uneven settlement). Sinking may occur due to broken drains and sewers below the property
- broken or cracked lintels over doors and windows
- stress cracks in party walls between dwellings or appearing between extensions and the original dwelling
- leaning chimney stacks and bulging walls
- windows and doors that no longer fit correctly into the opening
If properties are not regularly maintained, over time they will fall into disrepair. When repairs are not carried out the structure becomes weak, old and worn and major repair work becomes necessary.
Examples of serious disrepair include:
- loose brickwork, roof tiles/slates and rusty gutters that may fall and cause injury
- rotted and dangerous windows and doors (excluding glazing broken through misuse) that are not weather-tight or otherwise let in the wind and rain
- rotted floors and missing or worn stair parts (treads, handrails, banisters and balusters) that can cause trips and falls
- sagging ceilings that may collapse
- old and broken heating appliances and electrical fixtures such as broken sockets and wiring that have exceeded their useful working life may cause carbon monoxide poisoning, electrocution and start fires
Surfaces on which you walk, and any fixed equipment which may affect stability, should be safe for you to use.
Falls associated with baths or in bathrooms - baths and showers should be stable and securely fixed, provide for slip resistance and incorporate safety features such as handles and grab rails. The layout of a bathroom and of appliances should allow for ease of use with little or no over-stretching needed.
Falls on level surfaces - includes slips and trips from uneven surfaces, thresholds or low ramps, and slips from wet surfaces resulting from ineffective surface water drainage.
Falling on stairs - which could be the result of frayed, unsecured, carpet or wood panels or weakened wood due to age, usage or insect infestation (i.e. of woodworm).
Falling between levels - includes falls from windows, balconies, and landings.