Specification and site control of the permeability of the cover concrete: the Swiss approach
It is recognized that most damage to reinforced concrete structures is caused by insufficient durability rather than by low strength. In most cases, the quality and thickness of the cover concrete (‘‘covercrete’’) determine the service life of the structure. Since the quality of the covercrete is influenced, not only by the mix composition, but also by the placing and curing conditions, it is appropriate to measure the achieved properties on the structure rather than just on separately cast specimens. Swiss Standard SIA 262 on ‘‘Concrete Construction’’ recommends checking the ‘‘impermeability’’ of the cover concrete on site. With that aim, a non-destructive method to measure the air-permeability on site has been standardized (SIA 262/1 Annex E). A team of Swiss experts was appointed by the Swiss Federal Highway Administration (ASTRA) to prepare recommendations for specifying, measuring, and assessing the conformity of the air-permeability kT. This paper describes these recommendations covering: (a) specification of limiting values of kT as function of the exposure class; (b) sampling of the measurement points; (c) testing (including suitable temperature and moisture conditions); (d) evaluation of conformity with specified values; (e) expected impact on service life.