Civil MDC

Guide for Conducting a Visual Inspection of Concrete in Service 2

Guide for Conducting a Visual Inspection of Concrete in Service


By completing a visual inspection of the concrete immedi-ately after construction, and through repetition at intervalsduring the concrete’s service life, the visual inspectionprovides important historical information on performanceand durability. The inspection results also aid in earlydetection of distress and deterioration, enabling repair orrehabilitation before replacement is necessary.

It is important that the inspector properly document any observations related to environmental and loading conditions. Inspections are often supplemented with non destructive tests, destructive tests, and other investigations, especially when distress and deterioration is observed and information regarding the internal condition of the concrete is needed. While a visual inspection is most often used in connection with the condition survey of concrete that is showing defects or some degree of distress, its application is recommended for all concrete structures.

It is important that the inspectorproperly document any observations related to environmentalexposure (effects from physical loads, deformations, defects,imperfections, and distress), durability, and performance.Concrete material records and construction practices shouldbe collected and reviewed.The checklist includes items that might have a bearing onthe durability and performance of the concrete. Individualsmaking the survey should not limit their investigation to theitems listed, but should review any other contributingfactors.

Following the guide does not eliminate the need forintelligent observations and the use of sound judgment.Individuals performing the inspection should be experiencedand competent in concrete condition surveys. In addition towritten descriptions, sketches of relevant features are valuableand encouraged. Photographs, including a scale to indicatedimensions, are of great value in showing the condition ofconcrete. Video coverage should be considered for docu-mentation as it provides an enhanced visual dimension thatmay exceed that of still photography.

The descriptions and photographs provided in Chapter 2illustrate typical observations encountered during inspectionsand aid in the preparation of a condition survey report byidentifying the characteristics of potential problems anddescribing their condition. The checklist in Chapter 3 isprovided to assist the user to identify the characteristics ofpotential condition survey findings and their description.

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