The word ‘resilience’ has two separate definitions – if used in a colloquial context you might be talking about someone’s capacity to recover quickly from difficulties or the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape. Resilience is all about recovery, especially from hazardous situations.
In recent years, ‘resilience’ has become a buzzword within the construction sector and has been used to describe infrastructure and built environments. Structural failures across the world have prompted widespread reflection across the industry and highlights how important resilience is for the protection of future generations against outdated practices and technology.
The term ‘structural resilience’ is used to describe the ability to rapidly resume the use of buildings and structures following a shock incident or event. The Institution of Structural Engineers notes that to do this successfully, built structures need:
- Appropriate design for life safety and environmental protection.
- Recognition of the spectrum of severity of potential events in the context of causing disruption to the intended social function of the structure. The time and effort involved in recovering from such events should also be considered.
- Design to facilitate both maintenance and recovery works.
Why is structural resilience important in 2021?
At Structural Healthcare, structural resilience is at the core of everything we do, but our focus is on one of the biggest causes of damage to steel and concrete structures: corrosion. Infrastructure that has the characteristics that will protect them against natural disasters is a clear positive, but what about hidden structural degradation that occurs within the structure? That is why we have adapted the term to include resilience against smaller, hidden problems compared to natural disasters.
Structural resilience is the ability to properly strategise and implement solutions to cope with current and future impacts on an asset’s future health and value.
In Government publications such as The National Infrastructure Strategy and The Construction Playbook, there is a clear emphasis on resilient infrastructure and sustainable choices in construction – two of the things Structural Healthcare stands for. Sustainable resilience is vital for many reasons, and it is important that the right technology, in a greener way, to permanently prevent and control structural degradation. The need for structural resilience has become more apparent over the years, especially in terms of safety and functionality of buildings and transport infrastructure.
How do our services help?
At Structural Healthcare, our specialism lies within corrosion detection and monitoring, which itself has adverse effects on society in a social, economic, and environmental sense. Corrosion – the decay of a refined material such as steel caused by chemical and environmental factors – influences more than what we realise. It occurs within communication/data transfer facilities, industrial process control installations, sensitive production, and cultural heritage premises. It also can have detrimental effects on the infrastructure we use daily, whether it be bridges, highways or parking structures.
It is imperative that when there are signs of structural degradation, it is controlled to prevent mass disruption and a big repair bill. At Structural Healthcare, we are made up of a team of experts with decades of experience, who can provide a step-through service, so your budget is spent wisely.
Our services include the likes of:
- In-depth half-cell contour mapping surveys for corrosion assessment (car park deck example below)
- Associated chemical testing for chloride, carbonation, ASR, cement content and petrography
- Creation of a structural repair plan
- Design of a suitable mitigation to any problem that is detected
- Help prepare tender documentation to put into place the remedial plan
- Provision of on-site implementation support
Our commitment to sustainable repair strategies
Our in-depth testing and surveying of structures inform the designs we create corrosion mitigation components to use, giving clients more choice and making them completely relevant to the asset. Once the designs are created, we work to create a low-carbon repair strategy using C-Probe’s smart material LoCem® – a low-carbon, alkali-activated cementitious material (AACM geopolymer) – meaning that the structure has desired, resilient characteristics to protect it from corrosion and the anodes in mortar and concrete forms allow us to control the structure’s performance for years to come. The way LoCem® is manufactured is also sustainable, as it uses no heat and is made from mainly recycled industrial by-products, creating less CO2 emissions than traditional Portland cements. The manufacture of just one tonne of Portland Cements yields upwards of 1 tonne of CO2e compared to just 140kg with LoCem®. Dovetailing our corrosion mitigation designs with a low-carbon repair strategy enhances sustainable resilience of a structure.
However, it is our open networking monitoring and management systems that really allows clients in-depth insight into their asset with the embedment of corrosion rate probes. AiMS (Achilles Interactive Management Server) provides service life tracking from data accessed at the steel which highlights how the corrosion management system is performing, as the corrosion rate is directly measured. Complete reassurance is given with AiMS as clients can take preventative repair action to protect their structure’s legacy, mitigate repair costs and control their structure remotely.
This is true ‘structural resilience’ as clients can always be one step ahead when it comes to their structure’s performance. Corrosion mitigation systems offer a future-proofed strategy that will allow infrastructure to quickly bounce back from difficulties and contributes to the circular economy. This is a concept in which everything is engineered to be constantly reused or recycled. Through the rethinking of structural design, manufacturing, selling, re-using, recycling and consumer ownership, the asset’s maximum value is extracted, whole life performance is extended, and structural resilience is enhanced.
For more information around our services, please contact us here. Stay tuned for monthly articles on our blog page surrounding topics on modern methods of construction (MMC), sustainability and, of course, resilience in infrastructure.