Structural Safety and Service Life of Concrete Structures

MPW R&R provides advice, consultancy, training, and develop guidance to help organisations manage risks to the safety and service life of concrete structures.  We can also help solicitors, insurers and loss adjusters with independent and objective opinion by acting as an expert witness.

Concrete structures are valuable infrastructure assets.  However, they may suffer from poor design, construction and maintenance leading to both short and long-term risks to safety and service life.  This can result in risks to the long-term financial value of the structure, significant maintenance costs and disruption as well as risks to the safety of construction workers and the public.

This raises the questions: ‘How can organisations identify and assess what the risks are, how will they affect the structure and what needs to be done and when?

That is where we can help …

What we do

We can help with:

  • Developing asset management systems – to focus inspection, investigation and appraisal on the highest-risk structures and develop appropriate maintenance strategies
  • Assessing the safety and service life of deteriorating concrete structures – to estimate the  effects of deterioration and defects on the safety, durability and remaining service life of concrete structures
  • Developing and adapting guidance and standards – to provide documents that can be used for design, appraisal or management
  • Forensic investigations – to investigate problems with defects, durability, deterioration, safety and service life of concrete structures, and establish what happened, why it happened and what remedial action is required
  • Acting as an expert witness – to provide solicitors and their clients with independent and objective opinion in criminal and civil cases

Examples of what we have done

Mike Webster has worked on the design, site supervision, appraisal and repair of steel and concrete building and bridge structures.  He carried out research into the durability of concrete materials and the service life of concrete structures whilst working at the Cement and Concrete Association and the British Cement Association.

Mike has expertise in defects, durability, deterioration, safety and the service life of concrete structures.  His interest is in combining material, structural and construction issues to minimise risks to the safety, serviceability and whole life cost of concrete structures.

He has:

  • Co-authored the Hong Kong Building Safety Inspection Scheme – to provide a comprehensive guide aimed at identifying, prioritising and managing steel and concrete structures where there were safety concerns
  • Developed user manuals and tools for assessing the safety of concrete structures deteriorating as a result of corrosion, frost and the alkali silica reaction (ASR) – to focus investigations and establishing the time and strategy for intervention/repair to minimise risks and costs as part of the on-going infrastructure asset management
  • Researched whole-life costing options for concrete structures – to investigate what the whole-life implications were of a range of up-front investment decisions
  • Undertaken forensic investigations of concrete structures  – to understand what went wrong, why it went wrong and propose remedial action for building, industrial, bridge and offshore structures with cracking, ASR, corrosion, frost or mechanical damage


Mike Webster has published a range of reports and papers on the risks to structural safety; in particular, risks to  concrete structures.  These are listed on the publications page along with links to download them.

Articles on structural safety and service life

An article summarising the impact of a range of deterioration and defects on the safety and service life of concrete structures is available in this post.

An article summarising the effects of corrosion on cracking, bond strength, flexural strength, shear strength and column behaviour is available in this post.

A summary of what designers should do to minimise the risk of deterioration in new structures is available in this post.

We can provide advice, consultancy, research and training, develop guidance or undertake forensic investigations if something has gone wrong.  We can also act as an expert witness in civil and criminal cases.  If you would like to discuss how we might be able to help, please drop me a line at