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Monitoring systems need to be clear on objectives

Monitoring systems for construction projects must focus on displacement rather than trying to measure stress in the field if they are to deliver usable results, according to UCL emeritus reader Dr Richard Bassett who gave the keynote address at today’s GE Instrumentation and Monitoring Conference in London.

“Displacement monitoring is the best approach,” he said. “Stress monitoring only tells you if the stress is going up or down, not whether the project is close to failure. Nonetheless, even with displacement monitoring, there is a need to be clear about what is acceptable and what is not.”

Bassett said that real time monitoring systems now available were helping to speed up construction work as they create the ability to quickly react to problems but a robust plan is needed in case failure starts. “There is a need for experienced engineers to make decisions with pre-planned emergency actions agreed at various levels,” he said.

During the question and answer session, Basset went on to add that he would like to see more information published about situations where failure has started but emergency response has recovered the project. “We cannot learn from these experiences unless they are put in the public domain,” he said.

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