What is Concrete Scanning?

One of the world’s most versatile materials, concrete is used extensively in both civil and private construction projects all over the world. While concrete is tough on its own, it needs to be professionally poured and reinforced to see the best results. Without that, concrete structures can become brittle, with minor faults turning into major repairs or failures. Due to concrete’s hardness and density, it can be a challenge to verify that concrete slabs are structurally sound and properly engineered. This is typically done using concrete scanning, a common method of assessing cured slabs during construction, destruction, engineering and renovation projects.

What is It?

Concrete scanning is a non-destructive assessment process that uses Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) to detect the composition of a concrete slab. GPR can be used to find structural defects like voids, and also to find reinforcement, post-tension cables, as well as pipes or conduits that carry services. Concrete scanning using GPR is safe, non-invasive and more effective than older scanning and utility-locating technologies such as x-ray and electromagnetic induction tools. Professional concrete scanning can successfully assess most concrete structures, including slabs, walls, tunnels and columns.

How Does Concrete Scanning Work?

The GPR technology used in modern concrete scanning is based on simple principles. A technician will pass the GPR machine over a concrete slab. It fires radio waves into the concrete and measures the way those radio waves are reflected. Voids and other materials in the concrete - such as reinforcement and service runs - reflect radio waves differently to solid concrete. An experienced concrete scanning technician can interpret the GPR read out and use the information to find structural defects, utilities and reinforcing. Because GPR only uses radio waves, it is harmless to both concrete structures and anyone working on site.

When Do You Need to Scan Concrete?

The most common uses of concrete scanning are during construction, destruction and engineering projects. Concrete scanning is mostly used to:

  • Detect voids or defects in concrete slabs and structures
  • Locate utilities in existing concrete slabs
  • Prepare for renovation, destruction or construction projects
  • Identify and mark safety hazards such as electrical conduits
  • Identify and mark the location of reinforcement and post-tensioning cables

Concrete scanning is particularly useful during renovations on buildings that use concrete construction. Cutting blindly into existing concrete slabs can lead to dangerous and costly mistakes that could compromise the safety of your team or even damage the structure itself. For instance, cutting into a slab and accidentally severing a post-tensioning cable could lead to significant damage that the construction company may be liable to repair.

Why is Concrete Scanning Important?

Despite its versatility, working with concrete often proves difficult. On its own the material is hard and brittle, and it requires reinforcement and planning before it can be used in major construction projects. But, once a slab has been completed, it can be difficult for future workers to locate those important construction features. Before any destructive work such as cutting or drilling is carried out, concrete scanning can be used to ensure the process is as safe as possible. By locating reinforcement and runs of potentially dangerous electrical services, construction workers gain a real-world picture of a building’s construction. Comparing the results of a concrete scan to the original drawings then allows for work to proceed safely.

In cases where concrete scanning is not used, unnoticed voids or damaged reinforcements have the potential to compromise the integrity of a building or even do fatal harm to the people on site. The end result is that concrete scanning is an effective method of reducing the risk and cost associated with your project.

Need Concrete Scanning Services? Speak to the Team at GPR Concrete Scanning & Coring

If you are planning a construction or renovation project then concrete scanning is a simple way to protect your business and improve the quality of your work. The experienced team at GPR Concrete Scanning & Coring have the specialist equipment and technicians to provide concrete scanning services you can rely on. We can help you identify services, faults and reinforcement in most concrete structures, assisting you to map out the work. Talk to us today for more information on our services or to make an appointment.

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