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Concrete cancer: Why is it important to address it straight away?

Concrete cancer, also known as concrete spalling, is a widespread issue that affects many residential strata properties in Perth, Western Australia. This condition occurs when the steel reinforcing bars inside the concrete corrode and expand, causing the concrete to crack and eventually fall apart. The consequences of concrete cancer can be severe, leading to structural damage, potential collapses, and costly repairs. It is essential that this issue is addressed promptly to ensure the safety and longevity of residential strata properties.


In Western Australia, the coastal location of many residential strata properties exacerbates the issue of concrete cancer, as saltwater and moisture from the ocean can speed up the corrosion process. This has led to an increasing number of buildings in Perth suffering from this issue, particularly those constructed in the 1960s and 1970s.

Concrete cancer is not always immediately noticeable, with early signs often going unnoticed or overlooked. However, as the condition progresses, visible symptoms such as cracks, spalling, and rust stains on the building's exterior become apparent. In severe cases, pieces of concrete can even fall from the building's structure, posing a significant risk to residents and passersby.


Addressing concrete cancer is crucial for several reasons. Firstly, it is a safety issue. The potential for structural damage and collapse means that residents, employees, and visitors to the building are at risk of injury or worse. Additionally, the cost of repairs can be substantial, with the entire building requiring extensive remedial work to address the issue.

Furthermore, untreated concrete cancer can impact property values and make it more challenging to secure loans or insurance for the building. In the worst-case scenario, the building may even need to be demolished if the damage is too severe to repair.

The remediation process for concrete cancer involves removing and replacing the affected concrete and reinforcing bars, often requiring significant structural work. While the cost of remediation can be substantial, it is essential to address the issue promptly to ensure the safety and longevity of the building.


In conclusion, concrete cancer is a significant issue affecting many residential strata properties in Perth, Western Australia. The use of reinforced concrete in construction means that buildings constructed in the mid-20th century are particularly susceptible to this condition, with coastal locations exacerbating the issue due to exposure to saltwater and moisture. Addressing concrete cancer is crucial for the safety of residents, the longevity of the building, and the preservation of property values. It is essential that strata property owners and managers are aware of this issue and take the necessary steps to address it promptly.


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