How to Check The Steel Reinforcement in a Concrete Beam?


Concrete is a strong construction material, but it has limits to the amount of weight it can cope with, and how big an individual piece can be.

If you make concrete slabs too large or have them take too much weight, then they can crack and warp.

Reinforcing the concrete with steel beams or mesh is essential for any major construction projects.

The relative strength of different ways of reinforcing concrete beams is well understood, and civil engineers have effective ways of calculating the strength of beams based on the size, force, tension, and type of reinforcement[1].

If the concrete is older or is put under heavy stress, however, it can be hard to determine whether the concrete is still sound.

Calculating the area of steel required to support concrete of a given area with varying dead or live loads is one thing[2], but how can you be sure that the steel is still sound?

Seeing Inside The Concrete

Ground Penetrating Radar is a useful option for detecting changes in concrete.

It can be used for a variety of purposes, including imaging concrete, and thereby determining whether or not the bars are damaged.

GPR is useful for locating deep reinforcement.

There are other options such as the Hilti Ferroscan which can be used on thinner concrete or to find things that are less than 10CM deep.

GPR works for high-resolution scanning at greater depths and can provide real-time location of rebar.

You can save the data and analyse it off-site, and plot detailed maps if required.

GPR can be used with different antenna at different frequencies depending on the depth and size of the steel that is to be located.

While it is called ‘Ground Penetrating’, the radar can scan a wide variety of materials.

GPR can be used to find:

  • Rebar spacing
  • Depth
  • The layout
  • Whether there is just one reinforcement layer or several
  • The location of post tension cables

Post tension strands and cables are often overlooked, but they fulfil a crucial job.

If a PT cable is severed, then it can unload the weight that it was taking (which can be as much as 45 tonnes), and allow that stress to spread to other parts of the structure, potentially causing serious damage.

For this reason, it is important that if you are going to work on a concrete structure, you take care when working around supporting beams.

If you have any reason to suspect that supporting beams or cables have been damaged, then you should have that checked before you do anything else to the structure.

It can take some time for the stress of a damaged cable or support to make itself apparent, but once concrete starts to crack, the integrity of the structure can begin to deteriorate quite rapidly and it can be prohibitively expensive to fix that kind of structural issue.

Scanning equipment can help you to find meshes, tension strands, rebars, and beams, and can save you a lot of time, money and stress.

We are a team of experts with many years of experience in concrete scanning and imaging.

We have the tools and expertise required to work in a range of environments, on different types of concrete and to produce images at varying depths.

Scanning fine meshes at 100mm will require different tools compared to scanning for deeper supports.

We have the equipment and knowledge to recommend the best scanning methods for your particular application.

If you have any construction or excavation projects on the go, it is vitally important to hire a concrete scanning company to scan the location first.

High Resolution Concrete Scanning is a company you can trust to provide you with the most accurate and detailed information when it comes to scanning your concrete structures.

They have years of experience and use the most advanced tools and equipment in the business.

At High Resolution Concrete Scanning, our specialisation in concrete scanning services has made us industry leaders. If you need to perform any type of concrete scanning, then look no further than us at High Resolution Concrete Scanning.

Please call us today on 0437 365 830 or contact us through our website

0437 365 830