Abstract This paper presents the laboratory evaluation of concrete samples cut from a 20-year-old office building in Kuwait suffering from concrete deterioration. The building exemplifies structures built in the 50's and 60's using limited quality control and site machinery. In situ nondestructive tests were performed on elements with variable degrees of visible defects. The physical, mechanical and chemical properties of concrete cores were determined. Pulse velocity and hammer tests were applied to lab-prepared samples and results were compared with the performance of field samples. The effect of field condition was also studied. Causes of deterioration were obtained using advanced physical chemistry techniques including x-ray diffraction and the scanning electron microscope along with wet chemistry methods. The correlation between physical and mechanical properties was studied to evaluate the significance and reliability.