Vibration Monitoring in Buildings

During the construction process, large volumes of materials are moved to and from a site. Demolition may also be required in some circumstances. Furthermore, to build, many heavy-duty tools will be used that come in direct contact with the ground surface, or structures that are embedded within it.

Vibration monitoring in buildings detects and records ground movements that are caused by such activities. Vibration monitoring equipment is used to determine the extent of the vibration levels that emit from the source of vibration as well as movements of soil and rock particles.

This process is necessary because the acceleration levels and durations of ground vibrations can increase and if left unchecked are likely to do damage to the other structures in the vicinity. Sensors are most often the chosen tool used to gather data. These are placed on or close to structures that have been flagged as requiring vibration monitoring.

With vibration monitoring in place, if these levels approach the predetermined guidelines set for the construction project undertaken, an alert is sent to the project team.

As such, action can be taken to both protect the integrity of the surrounding buildings and structures and through real-time, active monitoring and recording of vibration levels any contractor can demonstrate that they are complying with the predetermined guidelines for their project.

How Vibration Impacts Nearby Structures

One might think that there would be insignificant damage from vibrations during the construction phase of a project and therefore vibration monitoring is not warranted. However, regardless of the level of vibrations emitted, the way surrounding structures respond to them differs from one site to the next.

Any developer that chooses to build in a city will appreciate that what is visible to the naked eye is not the only thing that can be impacted. Take, for example, a hospital building. If construction is underway close to a hospital, then it is crucial that those in charge of the project consider the impact that even low-level vibrations could have on the highly sensitive equipment that is in use.

What’s more, any development that is of a rural nature may not necessarily be exempt from vibration monitoring. Historical buildings exist all across the country that requires protection. While a modern structure may have the capacity to absorb the vibrations caused by the project, older structures must be accommodated, since they are often much more likely to become damaged.

All structures behave differently when exposed to vibrations. Different projects require different methods to achieve the finished build. As such, in some instances, pile driving is necessary to prepare the earth to support the structure long into the future. Earthmovers, excavators and bulldozers can lead to considerable vibration levels. As such, it is necessary to prepare adequately and thoroughly with the assistance of acoustic engineers during the planning and execution stages of a proposed development.

What To Do Before and After Construction

The first step toward achieving a smooth build that limits the impact of vibration on the surrounding environment is through an unbiased survey. This will afford you the chance to learn what pre-existing damage is already evident and identify any damage caused as a result of your project.

Incorporating your vibration monitoring plan into the proposal that you submit will help it gain approval. Following this, placing sensors on the structures that require continued monitoring throughout construction will ensure that you have real-time information with regards to the vibration levels reached.

Where possible, installing these sensors ahead of construction commencing is worth considering, just so a baseline of ground motions can be determined, which can be factored into the readings going forward.

A final unbiased assessment in the aftermath of construction will grant you the data you need to compare before and after structural issues. It also enables you to challenge any claims that suggest the guidelines set were not followed.

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