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November 9, 2020

Who Should Conduct Structural Inspections? An “Inspector” or a Structural Engineer?

Anyone can do a structural inspection!

At least, that what it looks like when you Google “Structural Inspections Perth”.

An “Inspector” will visit your structure, and create a report of deficiencies, carefully following the company-prepared template. To cover his/her proverbial, anything a little scary will become a significant risk with an (often) expensive recommendation.

Alternatively, a remedial specialist could be called in. A supplier of coatings is hardly going to provide an independent assessment of risk and mitigate remedial works to the bare minimum. They have a vested interest in supplying a product.

Structural Inspection - Mining coating

 Coating a Hopper with An Anti-Corrosion Paint

Commonly, the inspector is not an engineer. More commonly, the inspector is not a structural design engineer.

But when it comes to assessing the ongoing suitability of a structure subjected to some form of decay, that’s who you need.

Structures contain many items. Some (few) are subjected to their limit under design loads, the rest are kept the same size for fabrication efficiency.

For example, a simply supported beam in a floor structure may be designed near its limit but that limit is only experienced at mid-span. A loss of steel due to corrosion away from the middle is tolerable from a design point of view.

Structural Inspection - Defect

A Beam with Defects

Whether to Replace or Not

A structural engineer should know this and not follow “Replacement Rules” established regardless of common sense and good engineering knowledge.

Often, these “rules” mean replacing members that are more than 10% corroded, or bent, even if just a little bit. What if the safety factor on the member “as-new” is very high?

A lot of corrosion can be tolerated before the member renders the structure unsafe. Surely replacing this member, probably requiring scaffolding, and putting workers at unnecessary risk, is not a good recommendation.

It saddens me to see these rules applied, or decisions about remedial work made by people that would be better off getting an expert opinion.

How We Conduct Our Structural Inspections

We perform structural audits on existing structures, particularly those on mine sites.

Moreover, we do them with a view of minimising the remedial works. This often means spending time in the office working harder than the original designer ever did to demonstrate ongoing safety despite degradation – not everything that is rusted or bent needs replacing.

3d interactive report

Our Interactive 3D Structural Inspection Report

We’ve done models on existing structures to demonstrate significant degradation of structural elements can be tolerated – the remedial work simply being to curb ongoing degradation.

NOTHING LASTS FOREVER.

But structural inspections and regular maintenance will make your structure last longer and remain safe!

Find out more about “SAM” our Structural Asset Management service that will help you look after your building, your structure or your process plant.

Have a Project that You Want to Discuss?

Book a meeting with us and we will assist you with the structural design and analysis of your structure to help you produce a structure that is fit-for-purpose and capable of resisting all applied loads without failure during its intended life.

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