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University of Malaya

Building Pathology: The Science Behind Why Buildings Fail

University of Malaya via FutureLearn


Take a closer look at building pathology causes, effects, and solutions

In the built environment, with all of the different building materials used, environmental conditions, and other factors, there are countless possibilities for error.

Essentially, no two structures will ever be exactly the same. The best way to deal with this, and minimise failure, is with a clear understanding of building pathology.

On this four-week course from Universiti Malaya, you’ll learn the science behind building defects, including how to diagnose and deal with them. By the end, you’ll be ready to take on any building pathology you are faced with.

Delve into the science of building pathology

This course gives you a solid foundation in everything that can go wrong with a building’s structure, stability, and longevity. You’ll learn the scientific explanations for problems with various building materials, design, and other issues.

Develop your own building surveyor skill set

Importantly, this course won’t just explain the science behind building failures. It also gives you the skills you need to systematically and critically evaluate these defects in the manner that a building surveyor would.

You’ll learn to describe the problems that you see in a way that helps building professionals diagnose the underlying issues and then suggest improvements that are both suitable and sustainable. In short, you’ll be part of the solution to the problem.

Study built environment pathology in a high-quality learning environment

Accredited by both the Royal Institute of Surveyors Malaysia and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors UK, Universiti Malaya also has a staff of seasoned experts eager to impart their knowledge. Overall, the University will support your studies as strongly as a well-constructed building!

This course is designed for building professionals, homeowners, built environment students, and anyone else interested in diagnosing and repairing building pathology.


  • Introduction to the science of defect
    • Welcome to the course
    • Building Defects
    • Scientific Method as Investigative Tools
    • Weekly wrap up
  • Defects caused by water/moisture
    • Why is moisture detrimental to buildings?
    • Dampness & Condensation
    • Moisture and Building Materials
    • Weekly wrap up
  • Defects on Timber
    • Timber and wood products in construction
    • Timber defect – inherent
    • Timber conversion defects
    • Defects in construction woods
    • Weekly wrap up
  • Defects on Concrete
    • Concrete in construction
    • Defects of fresh concrete
    • Defects of hardened concrete
    • Weekly wrap up

Taught by

Zahiruddin Fitri Abu Hassan


4.7 rating at FutureLearn based on 6 ratings

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