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Mr Graham Baker (Heriot-Watt University): The authors have presented a simple and readable physical proof of this fundamentally important principle and have drawn attention to particular areas of student misunderstanding.
When a damaged building is founded on clay and roots have been found at or near foundations, it can be considered a certainty that the roots have, in some way, contributed to the damage. There may, of course, be other contributory factors such as uneven soils, under-design of foundations (unlikely in smaller structures), deep seated
lenses of softer materials, and so on. It is not always easy to decide whether the damage has been caused by subsidence or by ground heave, and this writer has come across one block of flats in which one end was affected by ground heave and the other by subsidence. The pattern of cracking will usually provide an indication and the age of the building and the state of the roots will be an additional pointer. It is not possible, in an article of this length, to describe accurately the differences in crack pattern (if it is possible to describe these at all); neither is it possible to give specific advise on where to dig trial holes, the location of these being one of the most important arts in the whole process.
Russell G. Grahame
In May 1973 the Institution of Structural Engineers and the Institution of Highway Engineers, now the Institution of Highways and Transportation, held a conference in London on the subject of multistorey and underground carparks, where the emphasis was on design. The information presented at this conference was clearly of considerable value, and the two Institutions therefore appointed a Joint Committee to prepare comprehensive recommendations on design, using the conference proceedings as a starting point. The Committtee moved very quickly and, in December 1975, the Joint Report was published by the Institution of Structural Engineers on behalf of the two Institutions.