Structural Repair vs General Repair

26 July 2019
By Jeff Anderson

Not all buildings are the same and thus, no two “repair jobs” are the same. Sometimes a simple piece of handyman work will suffice, other times, there is a need for structural repair. What we want to do, is help you distinguish between structural repair and general repair as the two terms are not interchangeable really.

And we write it to serve as a guide for owners and building managers to identify when to call for general repairs and which building conditions are deemed appropriate to call in structural repair specialists – like Remedial Building Services.

If you are interested in learning more, then this article is for you.

What is included in general repair?

In very basic terms, general repair covers work such as basic patch-ups which result from normal wear and tear. This includes fixing broken doors and windows, dislodged cabinet hinges, and other similar basic carpentry works. It can also refer to repairing bricks and walls damaged by car bumps or resident comings and goings, and even refers to replacing detached bricks on the wall or replacing a corroded piece of IG sheet from the roof.

General repair in buildings embraces a wide spectrum and often because people do not understand that some works are caused by latent issues (those that cannot be seen) it becomes hard to differentiate which tasks fall under it.

A general rule of thumb though is this: If the works in question are superficial, rudimentary, and instantly remedied with simple mending using handheld tools, then there is a good chance the works are generalised.

What comprises structural repair then?

Structural repair is much more complicated. It involves overhauling, restoration, and carrying out other works that aim to improve the deteriorating structural integrity of a building and or improve aspects of the building which are causing ‘side effects’. This can include works to restore corrosion in cavity walls, repairs to a leaking flat roof which is covered in the membrane, or a balcony which is leaking, window upgrades to improve heating and acoustic dynamics or repair of concrete cancer.

In short, structural repair encompasses lengthy and in-depth remedial works that aim to meet the health, safety, and fire safety standards required by one’s local, state and even Federal government.

Why is it important to properly differentiate general and structural repair?

While it may seem that differentiating between general and structural repair work is trivial, we cannot emphasise enough just how important it is to get it right the first time.

  • First off, it will be easier for you to identify whom to call on to carry out the task and ensure that the work you have done is done correctly the first time
    • Do you need a handyman to reattach that door or do you actually need an engineer to ascertain why the door frame has dropped completely on one side?
  • Secondly getting to structural problems early – instead of covering them up – can save you tens’ of thousands of dollars (if not more) into the longer term.

In New South Wales, you are required to hire a person who’s certified to perform certain types of work. He or she should have a contractor licence of at least any of the following:

  • CPC10111 Certificate I in Construction – can handle construction materials, undertake basic estimation and costing, and remove and replace doors and door and window components;
  • CPC10108 Certificate I in General Construction – can handle construction materials, undertake basic estimation and costing, and remove and replace doors and door and window components;
  • BCG10103 Certificate I in General Construction – handle construction materials, undertake basic construction projects, undertake basic estimation and costing, handle carpentry materials, use carpentry tools and equipment, and remove and replace doors and door and window furniture; or
  • BCG10198 Certificate I in Construction TAFE course #1206.

Another point why it’s important to distinguish general repair from structural repair is for you to be able to gauge the time required to undertake the restoration project. Normally, general repairs only take a few hours or a couple of days to complete, while serious structural repairs take a week, a few months and even more than a year depending on the size of the building. By being able to estimate the amount of time needed, you will be able to assess the magnitude of impact it will have on your operations. Do you need to close a portion of your building so that construction experts can investigate the defect or can a repairman take a look at the problem and fix it at that week? If it is the former, you will be able to buy some time to inform the building occupants of the trouble and allow you to find alternatives so as not to disrupt the normalcy for your employees or tenants.

And of course, there is the financial consideration: You need to evaluate the costs involved in minor maintenance tasks versus structural works.

Remedial Building Services, the structural repair experts in NSW

When it comes to rectification works for residential and commercial buildings in New South Wales, Remedial Building Services is one of the most reputable partners that can help you resolve your property’s structural issues. If you need regulation-compliant and health and safety-standard solutions for concrete cancer, facade repair, waterproofing, balustrade replacement, carbon fibre strengthening, and the like, consult our experts. After all, we are here to help.