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Maintenance of steel structure

Everything in this world requires maintenance in order to function properly and effectively, whether it is a living or non living thing. Maintenance is very important as it determines the state of working and useful life conditions of any material. For ex. if you want to improve your health you do exercise likewise steel structures also need exercises of regular inspections. Things do change if regular maintenance is not done because steel structures are very much open to atmosphere and when it get contacted with atmospheric agencies such as moisture rusting can happen. The continuous oxidation of the surface of the structure result in their corrosion.

Off shore structures or marine steel structures ex. oil and natural gas, dockyards, etc need regular maintenance because of the presence of salt in the atmosphere. Reversal of temperatures also affects the durability of structure, you can imagine the state of steel structure in countries like UAE where the maximum temp rises to 50°C and countries like UK where the lowest temp record is -27.2°C. Steel structures also reflect the effects of temperature but these are not recognizable easily as in human beings. Therefore the structures are constructed according to the pertaining condition of its surroundings. You can’t apply the same condition in UAE that you have applied while constructing the structure in UK.

Types Of maintenance

Connection maintenace

  •  Corrosion checks
     Welding erosion
     Loosening of bolts
     Cracks in paint
     Minor hole
  • Following are the type of defects found in steel structures,
  •  Hole
     Crack
     Sliced border
     Corrosion.

Following are the type of defects found in steel structures,

  •  Hole
     Crack
     Sliced border
     Corrosion

While in marine structures you will find these defects mostly common,

  •  Contamination
     Deformation
     Deterioration
     Discontinuity
     Displacement
     Loss of material/ Erosion.


The offshore/marine steel structures gets affected the most because of their continuous contact with saline water that is why in most of the cases we use concrete structure but these also get susceptible to marine atmospheric agencies and causes efflorescence etc. The effect of atmospheric conditions on both concrete and steel varies greatly.

 One can see the changes frequently taking place on concrete structures such as discoloration, cracks, holes, mold formation due to moisture etc but it is very difficult to recognize the defect in steel structure because most of the defects goes unnoticed by even a common person also. It is highly difficult for an inspection team to detect every defect and repair them, some are present at inaccessible areas making it more difficult but thanks to advance technologies through which we can detect them but repairing them is still a challenge. 

The most common defect of steel structure is corrosion but have you ever seen it happening ,of course not because it’s a very slow process. When the steel comes in contact with moisture the rusting process starts which ends up with corrosion. If these things are not taken proper care then can result into deterioration of the structure which eventually can lead to other factors such as failure of joints, members or even structure, this means the waste of time and money which was invested to construct it.

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