• Moody Engineering, Inc.

Structural Asset Health (Pt 3): Common Mistakes - When Does it Make Sense to Invest in Repairs?

Now that you know the difference between the "old way" of dealing with deteriorating steel and the "new way" we've revealed over the past few weeks in Part 1 and Part 2, it's now time to go through when to do something about it. We want to show you how to keep your people and assets safe while avoiding some of the most common mistakes.

Where and When Do You Spend Your Money on Structural Upgrades?

The following is a list of three typical primary elements; i.e., those that would cause a catastrophic structural failure. The members listed below are considered critical to the structural integrity of a system and Inspectors should pay close attention:

  • Bottom chord of a truss

  • Primary support beams with equipment mounted

  • Heavily-loaded columns

Secondary members and bracing are typically considered non-critical members:

  • Secondary members: non-heavily-loaded floor beams, struts, etc.

  • Bracing: most structures have multiple bracing systems; a single brace failure will not typically cause a structure to fail under normal operating conditions.

Owners are encouraged to perform an initial review of these items; however, a qualified Engineer must validate the initial review to ensure focus is placed on the most critical members.

Common Mistakes

We have included a brief checklist for you to keep in mind the next time you put together a scope of work for a Structural Inspector to perform work onsite. These items represent the most common mistakes Owner facilities make when dealing with structural upgrades. Use this checklist as a quick reminder to always include the following elements in your scope of work and/or the proposal you receive from your inspectors:

☑️ Identify the most critical members in your inspections, based on a mutually agreed-upon rating criteria (risk matrix)

☑️ Always insist on including recommendations or action items from the inspection group for any structural inspection report

☑️ Look to upgrade or replace only critical NOT all assets (falling hazards, etc.) – some structural members don’t pose a threat to production or safety, so don’t be fooled by unnecessary engineering recommendations

☑️ Setup a regular Structural Asset Health program for inspections before assets deteriorate to the level of No. 5 and 6 (see “How to Rate Members” section above

☑️ Not all rusty steel needs to be replaced, first identify the primary vs. secondary elements of a structure

☑️ Use a Professional to work with your Maintenance Department to establish frequency of inspection criteria based on your facility’s unique scheduling and workflow process

What’s Next?

You now have the foundation for what it takes to mitigate the risk of unbudgeted structural repairs at your facility. It may take some time to setup a good workflow, but it’s worth keeping your employees and structural assets safe.

Would you be interested in having a trusted, full-service engineering service provider do the heavy lifting for you?

At Moody Engineering, we are proud of our reputation for developing innovative solutions to meet your structural engineering needs and we have setup successful Structural Asset Health Programs for a number of clients in various industries. Our programs have saved our clients in heavy industries like yours save millions of dollars in downtime and production loss.

There’s no better time than right now to start implementing a good Structural Asset Health Program for your aging infrastructure. Don’t wait until a structure failures and it’s too late! Our team is happy to walk through this process with you, step-by-step and show you specifically how we’ve implemented programs like this for our other customers.

Let’s setup a phone call to talk about your specific structural asset and/or engineering needs.


If you have any questions about structural asset health for your facility or there's an opportunity or problem you want to ask a qualified engineer about, please contact us - we're happy to help.