On-going developments in smart technologies such as wireless sensor networks, micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS), computer vision, fibre optics and advanced data interpretation techniques may revolutionise structural health monitoring (SHM). Dedicated SHM of bridge assets has the potential to produce valuable data-sets and provide owners and managers with information to aid with key questions such as: current performance, margins of safety, actual loading, stress history and risk of fatigue, extent of deterioration and residual life. However, the parameters measured and value of the data obtained will differ when viewed from the perspectives of different stakeholders such as asset owners, designers, contractors and researchers. In this paper the purposes of monitoring are reviewed. A methodology is proposed to facilitate formal discussions between the key stakeholders before any deployment is specified and to ensure that scarce resources are not wasted in the pursuit of data as opposed to information. This approach can be used to determine if there is a prima facie case for the specification of SHM on a project and assess the potential value of any information that may be obtained. The developed methodology has been trialled with five historical monitoring case studies on bridges with which the authors are familiar.
- Field testing & monitoring