More than 50% of commercial buildings that stand today were built before the 80’s when the world did not have any idea about the internet and modern way of wiring and connectivity. Also the building codes and regulations that time were not as strict as today. While planning for new business practices and ways to cope with them as time rolls on, old building owners are basically left with two options: either to refurbish their structure or to build an entirely new structure.
Refurbishing an older building can have financial and environmental benefits. It also ensures that some glorious past creativity isn’t lost forever. But unfortunately, some old buildings aren’t just suitable for refurbishment because of various factors like foundation strength and internal layout that can not be fixed for technical reasons. However, if your building’s structural integrity is intact, your building is in a position where you can choose a cheaper, better, and more efficient option for your building to cope with modern needs – refurbishment.
Structural integrity is the ability of a structure to operate at an optimum level under a load, including its own weight, without breaking or deforming excessively. It assures that the construction will perform its designed function during reasonable use, for as long as its intended lifespan. The materials used to erect a building and its engineering during construction play an important role in determining the structural integrity of your building. The concept of structural integrity management has become more apparent these days because of long term consequences shown in different structural failure analysis reports from the past.
Whether because of exceeding their strength limit or because of engineering errors, various factors account in contributing to structural failure of buildings. Environmental challenges or even fatigue of the core components may also contribute to loss of structural integrity of a building. That is why building owners need to understand well about their commercial structure in order to plan their business effectively and avoid surprise losses.
To understand how to mitigate and prevent disastrous failure from happening, structural integrity management is essential. With structural integrity management, you will be able to manage load, pressure and other factors that drive your building’s core components to fatigue. Knowing when your building is still structurally viable for refurbishment and when it’s time for a new structure altogether is critical.
Structural inspection is a process of examining the structural integrity of a structure. It is done by expert companies and engineers to assess if your building is suitable for its intended use and for how long. Different steps like preliminary evaluation, on-site investigation, laboratory and field tests, and structural evaluation are taken to inspect a structure’s integrity. Technology has made it easier these days to assess such reports on time. Undergoing structural inspection will help you know about your building’s capacity and its lifespan. Risk factors apart from vandalism, intended destruction, and natural disasters are predictable and manageable in engineering. A structural inspection will also make it easier to manage and plan your activities effectively in your premises.
As a relatively new concept, mandatory assessment of structural integrity these days ensures that a higher standard of safety is being upheld in construction. Many buildings that were constructed well in the past will keep standing for decades to come. But since engineering requirements and codes and regulations were not that strict in the past, it is essential for building owners to have knowledge about their building’s structural integrity, and its management should be a top priority. It will not only save time and money for future planning but is also risk mitigation to help avoid unmanageable disasters.