What is concrete scanning?

Concrete scanning is the process of scanning concrete using one or more forms of non-destructive technology. This could include concrete-specific ground penetrating radar (GPR), a cover meter, a ferroscan instrument or, perhaps, ultrasonic scanning equipment. Regardless of which of these tools is used, they are all able to penetrate the ground and locate objects and/or anomalies within a specified depth range and in a variety of conditions. Those anomalies are then interpreted by our highly experienced engineers; time-served professionals who can tell you what lies beneath and, crucially, what might need to be avoided during any work due to take place.

At Perry Testing Limited we have a variety of different scanning options available. These include the Hilti Ferroscan PS250 and PS300, the GSSI Structure Scan Mini ground penetrating radar and the advanced technology of the Proceq GPR Live, allowing us to see down to greater depths than ever before. Again, regardless of which methodology is selected, scanning is a relatively quick and painless process; one that, on the whole, requires access to only one side of the concrete whilst frequently providing real-time, on-site images.

Often, the results of the scans can be quickly and easily exported into a variety of software packages including Word and CAD, allowing the operator to provide user-friendly and intuitive reports, frequently containing an accurate representation of what’s hidden within the concrete. Depending upon the equipment used and the nature of the structure itself, our experienced engineers are able to locate reinforcing steel, cables, services and more, as well as being able to analyse the structural nature of the concrete itself, checking for faults, cracks and voids within the material. Again, depending on the nature of the structure itself, our engineers can provide useful information on the strength, density and thickness of the concrete.

Why would I need concrete scanning?

A huge range of construction projects – particularly renovations – may involve the cutting or coring of a concrete slab for a variety of reasons. When carrying out this type of work, it’s vital that those involved are aware of anything beneath the service that may pose a risk to them, other people or the structure itself.

For example, if when cutting into a slab, the workers accidentally cut through a cable, reinforcement, or a utility, the outcome could be costly and potentially dangerous. It could be costly because of the cost of repairs, because of the resultant negative effects upon both programme and budget or because of the trickle-down effect upon other trades, taking time and resources from what are often already stretched budgets.

Potentially, should a cable buried within a slab be held under high tension, when released this could break through the concrete, potentially injuring workers. The highly detailed picture that scanning is often able to provide can help trades people and organisations avoid such incidents.   

Similarly, if an electrical cable is damaged, it could result in serious injury or even death to workers as well as a disruption of electrical supply. This can be costly and time-consuming and not something you want on a time-critical project with a limited budget.

The scanning of the concrete can also prove incredibly useful for the identification of structural faults and voids. Granted, such issues may subsequently require remedial repairs but, that aside, one thing is for sure… Given the potential impact of not carrying out such investigatory works, it’s better to see the full picture than to go in blind and take the risk. The same applies to the density and thickness of the concrete. Depending upon the nature of the structure, non-destructive scanning can provide greater confidence that safety and building regulations are being adhered to. In many cases, the scanning produces on-site, real-time results meaning minimal disruption and costs.

This type of analysis can also be an incredibly useful tool for designers, engineers and architects as knowing how much reinforcement is contained within a slab (and where within the slab it lies) can provide a good idea of the load-bearing capabilities of a structure. In renovation projects, it can give developers, engineers and trades (such as plumbers, electricians, HVAC contractors and so on) a heads-up as to exactly where they can and can’t drill without potentially costly and harmful clashes taking place.

So, if you work in construction and need concrete scanning, why not get in touch? A member of our experienced, professional team will be only too happy to help.