What is the likely cause of this failure?

Crack patterns can offer insight into the most likely cause of a structural failure in reinforced concrete structures. Looking at the picture in the post, what is the most likely cause of the structural failure in the building?

Structures are designed to satisfy ultimate and serviceability limit state requirements. Under ultimate limit state requirements, strength requirements such as bending, beam shear, punching shear, axial compression or tension, fatigue, etc are expected to be satisfied. Punching shear occurs when there is a high concentration of localised load (such as column load) on a flat element such as a flat slab or footing.

In serviceability limit state requirements, phenomena that can affect the appearance or functionality of the structure, or comfort of the occupants/users are addressed. Such phenomenon can include deflection, vibration or cracking.


  1. The cracks looks like it was caused by a bending failure and could be because the cement did not have time to dry to its best strength to support what was there!

  2. This appears to be a shear crack directed at an angle approximately 45° which is the typical failure plain of reinforced concrete element such as a slab or a beam due to excessive shear.

  3. It seems they should have left the props below the lower slab because concrete did not attain full strength before loading loads of the upper floor construction. The construction loads could be worst than regular loads, and as such, it seems there is an excessive shear force on the freshly constructed concrete and failure due to shear is clearly seen. Concrete is weak in shear before it attained full strength.


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