Weidlinger redefines its services to support infrastructure health: In September 2011, Weidlinger Principal Dr. Mohammed M. Ettouney published a highly detailed technical treatise, Infrastructure Health in Civil Engineering (Two-Volume Set), with Dr. Sreenivas Alampalli of the New York State Department of Transportation. It defines the agenda for infrastructure health in civil engineering (IHCE), a new engineering discipline for the 21st century that represents a holistic approach to infrastructure design, inspection, repair, maintenance, and decision making. The goal is to ensure that structures do not degrade unduly, fail precipitously, or require expensive retrofits due to lack of attention at the beginning of or throughout their lifespans. The assumption is that with the building environment, as with the human body, it is wiser and more cost-effective to forestall illness than to treat it after it takes root.
Partnership with STRAAM (www.straam.com): In November 2011, Weidlinger initiated an alliance with STRAAM® Corp. (Structural Risk Assessment and Management) for applying newly developed tools and techniques to the measurement of structural performance to determine whether aging or traumatic events have compromised safety. These services empower clients with precise information about the integrity of their structures, bridging the gap between theoretical design capacity and current condition.
Science-based decision making: Weidlinger looks inside a structure and evaluates not just the current state of its health but also the rate at which its health is changing, without disruption to daily activities. The systems used to identify hidden damage, either through continuous monitoring or pre- and post-event and repair evaluations, permit stakeholders to make informed decisions about safe operation and decrease potential for loss of life, property damage, and service interruptions.
Noninvasive, nondestructive techniques: Measurements of ambient vibrations with proprietary equipment are translated into usable data. The result is a "Dynamic Signature" that can be compared with subsequent assessments to increase confidence in prioritization of repairs, response to emergencies, and rehabilitation designs.
All types of structures: Any structure that degrades over time is a candidate for structural performance assessment and monitoring. The causes of degradation can be natural (due to water, salt, wind, sun, earthquakes, windstorms) or manmade (due to accidents, material flammability or destruction, excavation, poor design or craftsmanship). Structures that have been assessed and monitored successfully include:
Quantification of global structural behavior, performance, and rate of degradation
Recommendations for repairs or upgrade based on real-time performance and serviceability
Inspection in response to revised safety threat level
Continuous real-time monitoring (24/7/365)
Post-event monitoring to determine actual damage sustained
Assessment of significant post-event structural issues in relation to occupant safety for fast reentry or temporary (or permanent) vacancy
Pre- and Post-Rehabilitation
Comparison of dynamic signatures before, during, and after construction to ensure that repairs achieve stated design goals
Pre- and Post-Event (Blast, Accidents, Natural Disasters)
Immediate diagnosis of a structure's changed condition
Real-time comparison of a structure under construction to designed performance criteria
Early warning of construction's negative impact on structural integrity and occupant safety