Many individuals find bridge inspection and maintenance to be a time-consuming and overwhelming process. Not only are they unsure of the specific purpose of each page or document within the inspection report, but many questions remain about how they should go about bridge inspection and maintenance in general. How is it different than a regular inspection? What types of information should I consider when preparing my bridge inspection and maintenance report?
First of all, bridge inspections should not be confused with regular inspections. Regular inspections are designed to make certain your bridge is sound and ready for use. Bridge inspections, on the other hand, are designed to detect problems or potential problems prior to using the bridge. A bridge inspection and maintenance specialist are a licensed engineer that is thoroughly trained in bridge engineering. They inspect the bridge to make sure that everything is operating properly and to identify any potential safety issues before any use.
In addition to an engineering evaluation, a bridge inspection and maintenance specialist will conduct a visual examination of the structure to identify and present any potential problems. The primary objective of this visual inspection is to determine if the bridge is safe for use by individuals. For instance, if a bridge requires periodic maintenance and the primary reason for that maintenance is to reduce the risk of accidents, it is important to make sure the bridge is safe. This visual inspection will also provide engineers with a list of any changes that may need to be made to the bridge in the future. If the bridge has steel reinforcement around the main span, it is important to inspect that structure as well.
When an individual requires bridge inspection and maintenance, most people have two choices: hire an engineer or have someone else perform the task. Engineered structures are typically more sophisticated and costly to build. Individuals, on the other hand, may prefer not to have an engineer on site to oversee the entire project and instead rely on bridge inspectors to do the job. bridge inspectors have the necessary tools, equipment, and training to inspect any bridge inspection.
Bridge inspectors have several specific tools at their disposal when performing this service. During a visual inspection, they must look at the deck, rail, and structure of the bridge. All of these items should appear stable and in proper condition. It is also important to check for cracks or loose panels. Many times bridge inspectors will check and see if the bridge is passable via the use of a video camera.
Throughout most states, bridge inspection is not required, but many cities and towns do have regulations and rules associated with it. Bridge inspectors typically complete a comprehensive inspection course in preparation for their job. Often these courses offer both written and practical examinations. Many times bridge inspection and maintenance courses include short courses on visual inspection techniques, bridge maintenance requirements, and bridge inspection and maintenance techniques.
In addition, some inspectors will also be able to supply the engineering drawings and other supporting documentation to support their reports. While you might not have anything to work from these documents, having them available to you would be very helpful. As a bridge construction project begins to move forward, having the necessary information available would be very helpful and would ensure your project moves along smoothly.
When choosing an engineer for your bridge construction project it is always helpful to choose one with an Accredited Senior Engineer (ASCE) or Registered Professional Engineers (RPE) accreditation. When it comes to an actual Accredited Senior Engineer, one who has been employed by a large commercial firm with a consistent history of achieving high employee and client satisfaction ratings will likely be selected. However, for individuals who have never worked in this industry it would be helpful to choose one with a Registered Professional Engineer (RPE) accreditation as well. Although you may have never been employed by a large firm, it never hurts to ask whether they are an accredited firm. Asking up front if they are registered with an RPE organization will eliminate the possibility that they are not qualified to serve as an engineer on a specific bridge project.