Problems in a structure are normally the result of three factors:

1) Poor design
2) Poor quality control in construction
3) Poor maintenance by the proper owner

Poor Design
Many foundations are not designed to fit the soil or topographic conditions of the site. Reasons for design failure may include inadequate subsurface investigation, lack of knowledge about the soil characteristics or sometimes mistakes by the engineer of record. There are also many situations where the foundation type was chosen by the party purchasing the structure and the engineer's design could not overcome conditions offered by the site.

Poor Construction Quality Control
If there is insufficient inspection during construction the engineer's design will be compromised and the structure may be subject to failure. Some of the problems caused by a lack of quality control may include: poor concrete quality, poor moisture/density compaction of sub-grade soils, faulty piers/piles, and negative drainage, framing problems, improper placement of reinforcing (post-tension cables or conventional rebar).