Below-Ground and Above-Ground Inspections

Because a single pole or tower failure can be catastrophic, it is essential for electric utilities, wireless telecommunication tower site owners, municipalities, commercial property owners and other individuals responsible for public safety to routinely retain the services of NACE-certified inspectors.

Matergenics provides structural integrity inspection and risk assessment services for aging infrastructure including T&D towers, power poles, cell towers, monopoles and high-mast lighting towers, in addition to a wide range of similarly critical structures.

Towers, Poles, Lattice & Anchor Rod Inspections

Matergenics’ investigation team has many years of experience in all aspects of on-site and laboratory inspection, investigation, and assessment. Our diverse group of Ph. D.s, registered professional engineers, and certified technicians can provide all of the expertise you require for your inspection needs.

A few of our services:

Transmission Tower inspection
Pole/Lattice tower inspection
Communication tower inspection
Galvanized, Cor-Ten and Painted
Corrosion inspection & Analysis
Failure INVESTIGATION & FEA
Cathodic Protection Inspection
Anchor ROd inspection & Failure
Non-destructive inspection
Evaluation of Pack out
Paint and coating inspection
Technical audit of pole plants
Remaining life estimations
Pole/Lattice Integrity Assessment
Quality COntrol inspection
Computerized On-Site Inspections
Crack growth Monitoring
Visual On-site inspections
Hurricane damage evaluation
On-site & laboratory investigation 

INSPECTION STAGES

Matergenics’ corrosion inspection for T&D and communication structures involves four different stages:

Desk Study

Prior to site visits and field measurements, based on the project requirements, a desk study must be performed to complete the following tasks:

1) Review of geotechnical reports

2) Review of structural drawings

3) Review of previous reports on corrosion inspection, maintenance/repair, and all other relevant information including service history

4) Mapping out location of structures and reviewing terrain conditions for accessibility

5) Database analysis for climate data and soil characteristics such as pH, soil resistivity, and water content

6) prioritizing structures for field investigation

Field Study

Our NACE certified inspectors collect key corrosion indicator data at tower base and anchor footings, and perform site-specific tests to characterize the service environment, including:

Soil-to-structure potential mapping
Soil resistivity tests (ASTM G57 and G187)
Soil pH tests
Cathodic protection current tests
Visual inspection of underground members
Coating inspection and dimensional measurements
Concrete inspection & hardness (ASTM C805)
Photographic documentation of all tests
Laboratory Investigations

Collected samples during site visits must be examined in a controlled environment to identify:

1) Soil contamination concentration

2) Microbiologically induced corrosion 

3) Root cause determination

DOCUMENTATION & REPORTING

All inspection findings and recommendations are included in a comprehensive report that includes:

1) Corrosion risk factor (CRF) for individual structures

2) Recommended corrosion mitigation methods such as cathodic protection

3) Remedial actions

4) engineering analysis and repair recommendations

Above-Ground Inspections

If corrosion is not addressed at its early stages, it can affect system reliability and will lead to expensive repair and replacement of corroded structures, beside substantial costs of power shut down, possible environmental damages, injuries, and fatalities. As, such corrosion inspection and risk assessment are the keys to identify corrosion related issues and take initiatives for proper risk mitigation actions.

Condition Assessment by Climbing Inspection

Inspection Overview

The overall condition of the tower structural members, climbing facilities, fasteners, and other components are evaluated. Visual and physical checks are performed to ensure that the tower and subsystems are structurally sound and functional.

Tower load bearing members, conduits, ladder, stairways, and fasteners will be checked, documented and the severity of corrosion will be reported by our experienced climbers and NACE certified corrosion engineers. Corrosion mitigation (coating selection, surface preparation and application of coating per SSPC and NACE specifications will be provided for the client’s review.

Inspection Procedures

1) Physical inspections and UV thickness measurements are performed using Ultrasonic Thickness Gauges to determine steel member thickness.

2) All corners of the towers are checked at the ground level and at any location that appears questionable with a three-point check that covers the leg and the braces on either side of it.

3) Coating thickness is checked using an Elcometer 456 Coating Thickness Gauge

4) Galvanized thickness and protective organic coatings are measured

5) Concrete foundations and anchoring hardware are visually checked for damage. Concrete hardness tests are performed using a digital concrete test hammer.

Below-Ground Inspections

Structural corrosion is directly related to the atmospheric and soil conditions at a given location. However, unlike atmospheric corrosion, below-grade corrosion cannot be seen above-ground. As such, underground corrosion inspection and risk assessment are essential to identify corrosion related issues and to form proper mitigation strategies. 

Inspection Overview

The overall condition of buried members of the tower are evaluated through excavation of the legs/anchors. Visual and physical checks are performed to ensure that the tower and subsystems are structurally sound and functional. The severity of corrosion for buried components of the structures will be evaluated by a NACE certified corrosion engineers. Corrosion mitigation (coating selection, surface preparation and application of coating per SSPC and NACE specifications will be provided for the client’s review.

Matergenics maintain non-destructive and minimal disturbance inspections throughout the entire investigation process.

Inspection Procedures

1) Thickness measurements are performed using Ultrasonic Thickness Gauges to determine steel member thickness

2) Dimensional measurements are taken to evaluate material loss

3) Coating thickness is checked using an Elcometer 456 Coating Thickness Gauge

4) Galvanized thickness and protective organic coatings are measured

5) Concrete foundations and anchoring hardware are visually checked for damage. Concrete hardness tests are performed using a digital concrete test hammer.

HOW CAN WE ASSIST YOU?

 If corrosion is not detected and mitigated at its early stages, it will lead to expensive refurbishment of corroded members, while in longer time it can affect tower safety and increase risk for injuries and fatalities. Periodic corrosion inspection and risk assessment is a cost-effective method to bring certainty to core asset safety. Team Matergenics is able to provide many unique services to assess the corrosion risk and to determine the remaining life of towers and anchors. We are also able to provide best-in-class CP design for helical anchors and special situations where installation of galvanic anodes are not feasible.

Let us assist you on these tasks! At your request, we can provide a comprehensive presentation on our approach and experience in this field.

We can assist with the following tasks:

1) Construct soil corrosivity maps for sites for system-wide corrosion risk assessment and maintenance

2) Prioritize towers for corrosion risk assessment based on corrosion map, age, design/material, tower criticality, consequence of failure (high consequence areas- HCA)

3) Evaluate existing aging assets (based on prioritization order) and assess corrosion damage in high elevations, low elevations, ground level, and underground and for guy wires through visual examination, drone inspection and NDT techniques

4) Perform indirect assessment of towers, and galvanize anchors

5) Perform condition assessment of concrete foundations by inspection and petrographic analysis

6) Perform direct assessment (excavation/climbing and focus measurements)

7) Measure grounding resistance and document grounding components

8) Evaluate tower coating systems and select coating for various environments

9) Perform failure analysis root cause determination for accidents and incidents

10) Determine acceptable or unacceptable risks and provide engineering solutions for risk mitigation

11) Engineering solution for material selection, coating, cathodic protection, structural repairs

12) Sensor development and corrosion activity monitoring

13) Post assessment and development of tailored inspection program for long-term cost-effective corrosion mitigation and maintenance

Client Testimonials

Our wonderful clients are the reason we are in business. We will do everything we can to make sure you are a satisfied client too!

Excellent report with clear assessment of failure. Will recommend Matergenics for future work.

US Army Corps of Engineers

Two other labs agreed to do some analysis, but Matergenics came through and provided us with exactly the results we needed.

University of Pittsburgh, Anthropology Department

Great effort, and response was excellent. Our management was impressed.

BC Hydro

We are Here to Help!

We respond to all customers promptly by sending a technical proposal to address testing, investigation and the proposal costs. If we need more information, our engineers will contact you.We respond to all customers promptly by sending a technical proposal to address testing, investigation and the proposal costs. If we need more information, our engineers will contact you. Whether you are a large corporation or a small enterprise, we will provide you with the attention you need and deserve. In so doing, we hope to work with you for many years to come.

Please call Dr. Zee at 412-952-9441, Tara at 412-537-6239 or 412-788-1263 and let us know how we can assist you in your soil investigation. Alternatively, you can send your request to  info@matergenics.com.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Contact Us Today for More Information

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