Let’s consider a vehicle inspection. There’s a state inspection that looks for certain performance standards, often related to public safety and emissions. A local garage shop may have a multi-point inspection that they do related to a particular service. For example, an oil change may also come with an air filter check as well as other fluids, such as coolant, windshield cleaner, and transmission fluid. A body repair shop will likely do a different type of inspection before and after the work is complete. These are all different types of checks, and as such, they have different checklists. This is also true of bridge inspections.
Some different types of bridge inspections include the following:
- New construction: During the construction of a new bridge, inspectors will check various elements as part of quality control and project delivery. Construction conditions, methods, and material quality may impact performance in the short or long term.
- Rehabilitation or reconstruction: Similar to new construction, a rehabbed or rebuilt bridge must be inspected for quality and performance, with special attention paid to components related to previous deficiencies.
- In-depth: An in-depth inspection may be called for if unexpected performance issues arise. An example might be a suspension bridge with larger vibrational oscillations than expected. These could be signs of an impending problem or catastrophe.
- Damage: Imagine a truck crashing into the beams of a bridge with insufficient clearance. You would want a bridge inspection checklist that covers issues related to the affected girders and bridge rail.
- Special: Consider a scenario where a steel girder supplier learns of an error or omission in their manufacturing process. This should spur inspections of any bridge that used girders from the process. The girders may still perform as intended, but it’s impossible to know without a special inspection.