An Overview of Reinforced Concrete Inspection  

Reinforced concrete structures are known and highly preferred for their long life. In most instances, these structures last well over 100 years. However, more realistically, they often require repairs before the lifespan crosses 50 years. Deterioration to concrete structures is generally caused by various types of environmental and physical factors. For example, in salty coastal areas, concrete structures are often exposed to the risk of corrosion. 

Reinforced concrete inspection is one of the best ways to evaluate the condition of different structures so that corrective measures can be implemented. Millions of reinforced concrete buildings, tunnels, and bridges around the world are continuously getting deteriorated and may need immediate repair. The only way to avoid undesired circumstances is to inspect them regularly. This is why every country has its own safety inspection regulations and guidelines for reinforced concrete.   

Inspection of reinforced concrete structures should only be carried out by professional experts with sufficient experience and professional expertise. Any slip-up here can lead to dire consequences including loss of properties and life. Therefore, inspection is the first step towards a comprehensive maintenance program for reinforced concrete structures.  

Inspection of reinforced concrete is a four step process as explained below.  

Periodic Visual Inspections:  

Concrete cancer and rebar corrosion are caused by many different factors. These issues can only be prevented by proper design, high-quality construction, and adequate quality assurance and quality control, both during and after construction. 

If a reinforced concrete structure is at risk of developing concrete cancer, the same can be determined by parameters such as concrete strength, homogeneity, and concrete cover. Inspectors use inspection software to determine whether these parameters are in red, yellow, or green zones. Red indicates that concrete cancer has already set in and yellow means concrete cancer can still be prevented by periodic maintenance. No actions are necessary when the parameters are in green zone. Along with smart sensors and software, a visual inspection workflow helps determine when to act before there is any mishap.  

Deep Data Inspections: 

Preventive inspection is the main driver of predictive maintenance. However, this can’t be accomplished by just one technology. When it comes to inspecting aging reinforced concrete structures, a multi technology approach is essential. Deep data allows inspectors to drive pro-active maintenance for preventing a wide spectrum of structural issues. Vital signs of structures or buildings are checked with non-destructive testing, thorough inspections, and evaluation.  

Some of the key parameters to asses include  

  • Concrete strength & uniformity 
  • Rebar cover & diameter 
  • Homogeneity & thickness 
  • Defects such as voids, delaminations, and honeycombing 
  • Corrosion potential 
  • Rebars, tendons, cables, pipes 
  • Permeability  

Preventive Repairs 

Repair decisions can be made more accurately and much faster with deep data, which is critical to preventive repair. It is possible to manage preventive repair efficiently before they turn into serious issues using priority classification and inspection software. Prioritization eliminates guesswork so that the most critical issues are addressed first. Moreover, owners, buyers, contractors, and future inspectors will have up to date information for future requirements.     

Predictive Maintenance: 

Inspection technology has improved significantly since the advent of artificial intelligence. By using AI and machine learning, inspection software solutions can now predict the future maintenance requirements, in addition to determining the current situation. This allows finding out the likely condition of an asset in the future without relying on speculation.      

At Coating Management Solutions, we have a team of highly experienced and certified concrete condition evaluators. Please contact us today to find out more about inspection of your reinforced concrete structures.