Choosing the Optimal Structural Investigation Tests
One of the most complex aspects of structural investigation in Hong Kong or any type of analysis of the condition of a building, is ensuring the right tests are selected and carried out. The issue here is not that there are not enough assessments, but rather the decision on which of these is required and to what extent.
Ordinarily, a visual inspection comes first and this is followed by a structural survey, which includes both diagnostic on-site testing and laboratory facilities to support and extend the value and capabilities of various tests. In this area, experts in construction, as well as engineers and lab technicians are required to join forces to provide a solid overall picture of the condition of a particular building or structure.
As well as investigating a building’s structure, there are processes to follow that can assess whether repairs have been adequately carried out as well. With all structural investigation analysis it is important to establish how often testing is required for each individual area.
Initially what may be required is an on-site visit that determines crack mapping and determines any defects. These pre-survey tests can help give a clearer idea about what further tests might be needed, and when; all of which can be discussed with a developer and/or owner. Survey inspections are not a one-size-fits-all application, but are instead customised and delivered in a professional way so as to meet high standards.
When looking at structural investigations, one should look for corrosion, test for concrete carbonation and the depth of any issues relating to this. Hammer tapping can detect where concrete has spalled or tiles have become unstuck or debonded, whether internally or externally. Infrared thermography can also detect render issues on external facades, identifying any problems with waterproofing.
Radar testing checks for voids, as well as any issues with reinforcing bars, which make up reinforced steel, not to mention ensures repairs in these key areas have been carried out successfully. Meanwhile, reinforcement cover surveys use an electromagnetic meter to measure where reinforcement is located in concrete floors, as well as the depth and the area covered.
The strength and quality of concrete is assessed via ultrasonic pulse velocity measurements, while core drilling and other concrete tests can also be carried out. Chemical analysis is used too. Working with an experienced strategic partner is invaluable at this stage as is choosing a company with superior equipment.