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Master of Engineering Science


Civil and Environmental Engineering


Bartlett, F. Michael


In a world of aging infrastructure, sustainability initiatives require additional investment in the assessment of existing reinforced concrete structures. Reliability-based assessment should minimize costs by reducing conservatism, while ensuring levels of safety equivalent to those for new designs. Current Canadian and US provisions assign target reliability levels for structural assessment based on criteria including occupancy type, expected failure behaviour, and the effect of element failure on the overall structural integrity. These criteria are defined using discrete and qualitative parameter values. It is shown that the true structural conditions can be better represented by verifying the applicability and completeness of these parameters and associating them with quantifiable structural attributes. Structural risk can be quantified by determining the number of people at risk due to an element failure, and by using the magnitude of deflection at incipient failure as an indicator of the warning of failure. Flexural capacities for assessment can be increased by up to 60% of values used for design using reduction factors calibrated to these parameters.

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