In timber construction, the last decades were characterized by significant technical advances and developments, widening the range of application of timber structures in the building sector. This resulted in the fact of timber being increasingly used for e.g. wide-span structures. Consequently this led to a growing importance of the assessment of wide-span timber structures, naturally resulting in an increased interest of the professional community in assessment methods for existing timber structures.
Many methods exist to assess location and degree of damages in structures. In a more narrow sense, this is also true for the observation of failure mechanisms by appropriate monitoring systems or by inspections e.g. visually or by means of non-destructive measurements.
The current practice of the assessment of existing timber structures however might not be considered suitable to facilitate confident decisions about the reliability of structures.
Any method allows only to assess certain types of failures, making it necessary to combine different methods to derive a full picture about the residual performance of the structure.
Many methods assess certain properties of the structure non-destructively and deliver results in form of measurements. To date it is often not possible to relate these measurements to strength and stiffness related properties of the timber components with sufficient certainty and therefore do not allow a quantification of the reliability of the structural component under consideration.
The objective of this task group was to collect feasible assessment methods and to evaluate each of them with regard to the following objectives:
− What can be determined / what can not be determined?
− How exact and valid are the results (e.g. degree and size of damage;
− How complex and time consuming is its application (on-site,
− Which combinations of methods are useful to derive a clear picture
of the structural integrity of the assessed structure?
− How are the test results related to the properties of interest?
The data received from an assessment should be incorporated into probabilistic models. These models can be used to carry out analyses of the remaining load-bearing capacity and reliability of the structure as well as a basis for the planning of inspection and/or monitoring strategies.
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