Structural Inspection and Repair Terms

August 30, 2021 | By: Owen Kavanagh
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Structural Inspection and Repair Terms 

What is a slab? What does “movement” mean to a structural engineer? Understanding what is being said when a building is inspected and repaired will help as you navigate the incredibly important task of maintaining a building. Here are a few terms that may pop up in conversations with structural engineers and contractors. 

  • Professional Engineer – An engineer licensed by the state government to provide engineering services, abbreviated as PE.  
  • Concrete – A mixture of cement, water, an aggregate (such as volcanic ash or silt), and stone. 
  • Slab – A flat, horizontal surface made of cast concrete. 
  • Façade – The exterior faces of the building.
  • Precast/Prestressed Concrete – Concrete created by casting in a form then shipping to the construction site where it will undergo final construction.  
  • Contraction Joint – Joint placed in concrete to allow for shrinkage or cracking at the joint. 
  • Corrosion – Deterioration of building material via chloride contamination, water, salt, and others.
  •  Cracking – A break, split, or narrow opening in a construction material like concrete, masonry, or wood. 
  • Leak – The intrusion of water through a construction material.
  • Delamination – A separation of construction material layers, it can be caused by corrosion of reinforcement steel, and other forms of deterioration. 
  • Cast-In-Place Concrete – Concrete constructed by casting or depositing in the place where it will harden. 
  • Movement – Occurs in all concrete structures from changing loads, creep, changes in temperature and moisture content, and shrinkage. A system too rigid for movement may experience cracking, connection fracturing, sealant failures, and gland failures.  
  • Sealant – A substance used to block the passage of fluids through a surface, joints, or openings, in a material. This can include (but is not limited to), caulk, epoxy, and polyurethane. 
  • Spalling – Surface failure caused by the fragmentation of material from a larger body, this can be caused by corrosion, weathering, and thermal strain from rapid heating and pressure due to water removal in concrete. 
  • Scaling – A form of deterioration involving the disintegration of surface layers of slab, similar to “weathering” in warmer climates, caused by water freezing and thawing. 
  • Masonry – The building of structures using individual pieces, such as bricks, concrete, or stone, bound by mortar.  

These terms are part of a series on Building Structural Inspection and Repair, which includes:

A deeper dive on Structural Inspection and Repair is presented in a two-part webinar series. The first webinar  focuses on the tools and tips for inspection, and the second webinar focuses on the repair process. Both webinars may be viewed on-demand through a CRE Insight 365 membership. 

 

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