Hi, so you’re walking around the exterior of an industrial/warehouse building and you see step cracks in the walls. Is it a big problem?
The question is, is the block wall supporting the structure?
If the block wall is supporting the roof structure (steel or wood beams and roof joists), then any substantial cracking of the masonry wall can be a structural problem that needs repairs.
If the block wall is not supporting the structure, it’s similar to a partition wall and a few cracks are not that significant and can likely be repointed/repaired fairly easily.
So, how do you determine which type of wall you’re dealing with? Go to the inside of the building and look for steel columns supporting a steel structure which supports the roof and holds the building together. That means the masonry wall is more like a partition wall and does not support the structure.
However, if you’re looking from the interior and you don’t see steel columns and beams and instead you see the roof structure supported by the masonry wall, then cracks are more serious.
We’re not suggesting that you should formally come to a conclusion about cracks, but it may be helpful information just the same. Obviously, there’s a lot more that goes with this topic, but hopefully this info can help you when you’re your walking around an industrial/warehouse building.
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