If you own or manage steel poles and lattice towers, you know concrete damage can leave critical steel reinforcements vulnerable.
Concrete foundations are tough, but they are not invincible. Structural inspection of an asset’s foundation is as essential as inspecting the asset itself. If foundation inspection is neglected, the integrity of these assets and the resiliency of the grid will suffer. Most often, our technicians find cracking or spalling in concrete foundations, which happens for a number of reasons.
Spalling happens when a chunk of concrete separates from the main body of the structure and falls out. Concrete damage can be caused by a variety of factors and can leave poles and towers exposed at various stages in the lifecycle of the asset. Damage to the concrete can expose the foundation’s steel reinforcement to the elements making it vulnerable to corrosion.
Once steel reinforcement is degraded, the overall structural integrity of the foundation is compromised, which places the entire asset at risk for structural failure.
We observe concrete damage in the following situations:
- Manufacturing Issues: Some foundations have fabrication defects, including improper mixing and curing, that can happen during the pole and tower manufacturing process.
- Weather Damage: Concrete is durable, but lightning from severe storms can damage it. Freeze/thaw cycles where moisture penetrates existing cracks in the concrete can also damage the structure.
- Inadequate Grounding Systems: Grounding system issues can lead to premature concrete foundation damage.
How Exo Performs Foundation Inspection
Exo technicians can identify the cause of concrete foundation damage and make a plan for prompt and effective remediation. We can take core samples and perform laboratory testing to assess the chemical and physical properties of the material. We seal minor cracks to prevent moisture intrusion, patching spalls with fresh concrete or epoxy material.
If we see a spall with exposed reinforcement in the mid-span or near the base, the concrete foundation problem could be much more severe and will receive immediate attention, such as coring in new reinforcement and pouring new concrete. Along with finding and repairing concrete damage, Exo will make a plan to regularly monitor and inspect steel structures and their concrete foundations for greater structural integrity.
Prevent Concrete Spalling and Cracking
Whether it’s foundation inspection, weld repair, coatings repair, or correcting structural damage, successful maintenance and remediation are critical to avoiding pole and tower collapse and subsequent catastrophic failures. Exo completes safe, compliant, cost-effective structural repairs on in-service assets across infrastructure industries. Contact us to plan your field service and repair.