Approved by the Infrastructure and Research Policy Committee on March 14, 2019
Approved by the Public Policy Committee on April 28, 2019
Adopted by the Board of Direction on July 13, 2019
The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) supports the requirement that all infrastructure (including buildings, other structures, and utility systems), whether public or private, be maintained in a safe and functional condition. Infrastructure owners/asset managers should develop monitoring, inspection, maintenance and rehabilitation plans appropriate for their particular facilities, uses, and occupancies in order to ensure that constructed infrastructure is safe, functional and addresses sustainability. All work must be supervised by a qualified individual. The periodic inspection must be documented.
Various government entities have recognized the need for periodic inspections of infrastructure to determine safety conditions, compliance with applicable codes and laws, and compliance with current design criteria related to their functional use and vulnerability to natural and man-made hazards. An example of this is the U.S. mandate for the inspection of dams and bridges. This practice, however, is not universal.
ASCE recognizes the need to monitor and inspect all facilities. As the profession responsible for the design, construction, operation and maintenance of the built environment, civil engineers have a critical role in the development and implementation of inspection, maintenance, rehabilitation, and asset management programs aimed at assuring public safety and sustainability.
Periodic inspections of infrastructure are conducted to document their condition, compliance with current standards, and need for maintenance or rehabilitation. These periodic inspections are necessary because materials and constructed facilities age and deteriorate with time, use and from exposure to the elements. Structures may also be damaged by accidental, intentional, or natural events. Infrastructure may undergo a change in function or use class, and laws and code changes based on new understanding and technologies may justify retrofitting or strengthening this infrastructure. A regular and well-developed monitoring, inspection and maintenance plan is necessary to include a periodic vulnerability assessment. Recent advancements in sensing systems have demonstrated that they can be deployed for continuous condition assessment of infrastructure. Additionally, a post-incident inspection and evaluation should always be conducted.
ASCE Policy Statement 283
First Approved in 1982