Structural assessment is the process used to determine the adequacy, structural integrity and soundness of structures and their components, in order to evaluate whether a structure’s current and future use conforms to current building codes. This is usually performed by a licensed structural engineer. In addition to buildings, structures could be bridges, dams, towers, equipment platforms, or any other man-made infrastructure. Structural assessments are usually required when a building has been bought or sold; a renovation is planned; new equipment is to be installed; or if there is a change in building use or occupancy.
All buildings and structures require periodic inspection to ensure structural safety, strength, and stability. The assessment helps determine if a structure is safe for occupancy or its intended use. By assessing the structure’s condition, potential hazards or weaknesses can be identified and appropriate measures can be recommended to correct them.
Various tools and techniques are used for a structural assessment, including visual inspections and non-destructive testing such as ultrasonic testing. Destructive testing includes taking concrete core samples to determine compressive strength and rebar size. Tools necessary to gather and analyze data include digital cameras, ground penetrating radar (GPR), engineering software, and drones.
During an inspection, the structural engineer examines the foundation, exterior and interior walls, framing, and roof systems. When performing the inspection, the engineer is looking for any deficiencies in columns, beams, joists, etc. for signs of deterioration such as cracks, excessive movement, bowing, and deflection. A report is generally prepared for the client detailing the engineer’s findings, and sometimes includes repair scope and / or design.
Encorus Group has performed numerous structural assessments under a variety of circumstances, such as:
- Evaluation of a concrete floor and columns to determine whether they are sufficient to support a planned renovation
- Assessment of a restaurant which had been hit by a truck, and development of repair plans
- Investigation of a water tower to determine whether it had the capacity to support planned restoration efforts
Encorus Group has the staff and equipment to perform a range of structural assessment services. Visit our website www.encorus.com for more information or contact Steve Rakvica at 716.592.3980, ext. 153 or [email protected].