Postprint version. Published in Journal of Structural Engineering, Volume 123, Issue 10, October 1, 1997, pages 1390-1401.
NOTE: At the time of publication, the author Allen Estes was affiliated with the University of Colorado - Boulder. Currently, August 2008, he is Head and Professor of Architectural Engineering at California Polytechnic State University - San Luis Obispo.
The definitive version is available at https://doi.org/10.1061/(ASCE)0733-9445(1997)123:10(1390).
A lifetime optimization methodology for planning the inspection and repair of structures that deteriorate over time is introduced and illustrated through numerical examples. The optimization is based on minimizing the expected total life-cycle cost while maintaining an allowable lifetime reliability for the structure. This method incorporates: (a) the quality of inspection techniques with different detection capabilities; (b) all repair possibilities based on an event tree; (c) the effects of aging, deterioration, and subsequent repair on structural reliability; and (d) the time value of money. The overall cost to be minimized includes the initial cost and the costs of preventive maintenance, inspection, repair, and failure. The methodology is illustrated using the reinforced concrete T-girders from a highway bridge. An optimum inspection/repair strategy is developed for these girders that are deteriorating due to corrosion in an aggressive environment. The effect of critical parameters such as rate of corrosion, quality of the inspection technique, and the expected cost of structural failure are all investigated, along with the effects of both uniform and nonuniform inspection intervals. Ultimately, the reliability-based lifetime approach to developing an optimum inspection/repair strategy demonstrates the potential for cost savings and improved efficiency.