Environmental monitoring is an essential service that we offer to guarantee the integrity and safety of your home, building project or construction.
Our expertise comprises a wide range of specialised measurements and inspections, such as foundation inspections, photographic pre-construction surveys, deformation measurements, ribbon joint measurements, crack measurements, slant measurements, slope measurements, extenso measurements and vibration measurements. With the aid of advanced techniques and instruments, our qualified engineers offer accurate results and valuable insight to optimise the performance of your building and identify any problems at an early stage. Rely on our expert advice and broad experience to help you take well-considered decisions with regard to the maintenance, renovation or construction of your project.
Want to avoid paying for damage that you didn’t cause or assessing whether a damage claim is justified? SOCOTEC can carry out a photographic pre-construction survey for you. Prior to the work, we carry out an initial measurement, the baseline measurement. The results of this structural pre-construction survey can be used to assess damage claims. With a photographic pre-construction survey, we record all the visible shortcomings on the outside of the building (front, rear and side facades) and on the inside (all the rooms) in photographic form. In addition, we can carry out an interim repeat survey as well as a final survey on completion of the work.
If necessary, SOCOTEC will record the state of the public space on video. Work for which roads have to be fully or partly closed cause severely traffic deviations. A video recording is a good way to record the condition of the public space.
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- Deformation tests
How and how much is a structure moving? Is there a trend in the settlement behaviour? Is a structure settling evenly? A height measurement (using a so-called precision level) will help answer these questions.
By placing deformation bolts, also called settlement bolts or measuring bolts, and regularly reading them off during the work, it is possible to ascertain whether a building or structure is settling. For this, SOCOTEC uses measurement equipment that is accurate to one tenth of a millimeter so that any deformation can be caught on time.
- Ribbon joint measurements and floor levelling
If a building’s foundations are on a less solid underground, the foundations can settle unevenly. To determine whether a building has settled unevenly, SOCOTEC can carry out ribbon joint measurements and floor levelling.
A ribbon joint measurement is used to determine the height of parts of a construction which can be assumed to have been practically horizontal when they were built. Any height differences provide an impression of the settlement differences that have occurred since construction.
Floor levelling entails measuring the floor to see whether or not it is level. This method above all applies when the structure is enclosed by other buildings so that only the front and rear facades can be measured by a ribbon joint measurement.
- Crack width measurement
To determine whether existing cracks are still active, SOCOTEC places analog or digital crack width meters. An analog crack width meter consists of two transparent plastic plates that are attached to the wall with a certain amount of overlap at the location of the crack. One plate has a cross printed on it and the other one has a mm grid on it. By periodically reading off the position of the cross in relation to the grid, we can determine whether the parts of the wall on each side of the crack are moving.
A digital crack width meter can read out the crack width remotely and continuously monitor it. If there is too much movement (cracking), we will send you an alarm by e-mail or text message.
- Tilt monitoring
The use of tiltmeters makes it possible to continuously monitor any angular displacement (tilt) of a building or construction in a cost-effective way.
The tilt sensors measure the tilt in both the X and the Y direction. In addition, the sensors are equipped with a temperature sensor. The sensors have an accuracy of 0.05° and the measuring data can be viewed via an online portal.
- Slant and slope measurements
Excavation work or embankments can cause horizontal movements with a possible risk for structures both above and below the ground. Negative consequences include damage to foundations and the new constructions to be built (“the cellar no longer fits in the sheet pile pit!”), buildings’ foundation piles breaking, cracks in underground pipes, major settlement and breaches in the flood defences.
SOCOTEC monitors this underground, horizontal movement for you with inclinometers. The measurements can be carried out for you in the traditional, manual way or automatically if you prefer using a so-called SAAF (Shape Accel Array Field), a chain of linked sensors that articulate in every direction.
- Extensometer tests
Using extensometers, SOCOTEC can determine the vertical deformation at various depths in the underground.
An extensometer can be fitted with various anchors so that measuring can occur at various depths at the same time. The anchors are hung in the drill holes of pulse drilling for example.
SOCOTEC presents the measurement data on a web portal. Using your login, you can see the data yourself real-time and export it for your own use and analysis.
- Vibration measurements
Building work such as demolition, driving foundation piles, installation and extraction of sheet pile walls by means of vibration and (construction) traffic can cause vibrations. People can be impacted by this. But it can also cause damage to neighbouring buildings, depending on the nature and construction method of the building and the nature, strength and frequency of the vibrations.
SOCOTEC can measure vibrations for you by attaching vibration meters – geared to the project and your issue – to the façade of the building. We attach the sensor to the façade by means of a drilled hole and cover it with a protective case.
For vibration measurements in the underground we can install so-called geophones in the underground.
If the limit value threatens to be exceeded, you will be sent an alarm by e-mail or text message. It is also possible for us to carry out manned vibration measurements during the construction work.
To interpret the vibrations and determine the alarm and limit values, we use the publication by the Stichting Bouw Research (SBR) “Measurement and assessment guidelines for vibrations”.