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Assessment of historic concrete structures

There will be many situations in which there may be a need to assess the condition of concrete structures, for example if there are visible signs of distress (e.g. cracking, spalling of the concrete) or if the use of the building is to be changed, which will result in additional loading. General guidance on appraisal (covering all construction materials) may be found in the Institution of Structural Engineers Appraisal of existing structures.

Appraisal will often require information on the materials (concrete and reinforcement) that would have been used in the original construction and on the design standards in place at the time. Appropriate information is given in other entries in this area of Fingertips and in Concrete Society Technical Report 70, Historical approaches to the design of concrete buildings and structures, which also gives information on such aspects as allowable materials and the design Standards applicable at the time of construction.

Concrete was widely used for housing in the 1950s and 1960s, using a variety of precast concrete systems, some of which were less successful than others. Further information is given in Historic non-traditional houses in this area of Fingertips.

Entries under the main heading Defects and deterioration describe the appearance and significance of defects that may be visible on the surface of the concrete. Information on the inspection of concrete structures may be found under the main heading Inspection and maintenance.


Acknowledgement: The Concrete Society

Other references:Institution of Structural Engineers, ´Appraisal of existing structures´ (Second Edition). Note that the preparation of the Third Edition is at an advanced stage.)

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TR70 Historical approaches to the design of concrete buildings and structures