A structural condition assessment is the process of collecting observations and data and systematically using them to evaluate and assess the condition of an existing structure. Each structural condition assessment is unique. The steps necessary for an adequate structural condition assessment require engineering judgement and depend on the structure's size, type, and quality. Carrasquillo Associates (CA) follows guidelines set forth in ASCE 11, Guideline for Structural Condition Assessment of Existing Buildings.
Typically, the structural condition assessment process entails a basic inspection of critical members and areas followed by a detailed inspection of larger portions of the structure, if deemed necessary by the basic inspection. The basic inspection consists of document review to attempt to determine the original design information and criteria followed by a visual condition assessment. The visual condition survey involves the close inspection of the structure or portions of the structure to document visual observations. The visual observations that are made vary based on the structure being evaluated and generally include observations of:
- Settlement, heaving, bowing, sagging, warping, or other distortion
- Concrete cracking, scaling, spalling, or delaminations
- Corrosion of metal objects
- Moisture accumulation
- Construction details and type of construction
The results of the visual structural condition assessment assist CA in developing the detailed inspection plan. Before completing a detailed inspection, a more thorough document review is completed, pending the availability of documents. Next, a detailed testing and analysis protocol is developed. The formulation of the protocol will include determining the most appropriate destructive and non-destructive test methods to further investigate the observed conditions and distress, determining the best sampling locations, and determining the sample quantities as needed.
After completing the detailed inspection, the results are typically summarized in a report. The report will include the scope of the structural condition assessment, the results of the basic inspection, the results of the detailed inspection, the summary of the testing methods and techniques employed, and the recommendations for the best course of action for further analysis, repairs, remediations, and/or retrofits moving forward.
Non-destructive testing services are a valuable resource in CA's structural condition assessments. They assist CA in further investigating the nature and cause(s) of the observed distress. CA's NDT services can provide the following:
- Locating concrete reinforcing steel for penetrations or additions to existing structures
- Estimating the quality and/or level of deterioration of an existing structure
- Identifying and confirming the underlying causes of structural distress and deterioration
- Determine various parameters needed to accurately estimate the strength of an existing structure
- Determining various parameters needed to estimate a structure's remaining service life
- Determining if the structure was constructed in accordance with the original contract documents
- Estimating the extent of structural repairs required to address deterioration and/or non-conformant construction
- Avoiding damaging portions of an existing structure while completing any destructive testing, retrofits, and/or repairs