Pay Now or Pay Later: A Case Study in Deferred Maintenance

Brad Smolin

We have all heard the old adage: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Originally quoted by Benjamin Franklin, I am sure that it was not the repair of concrete that he had in mind at the time. I can, however, assure you that it has a very real connotation within our industry.

Concrete repair covers a widely diverse category of projects and environments, but evaluating potential job sites always takes me through the same steps:

  • What is the cause?
  • How could it have been prevented?
  • What plans need to be put in place to ensure prevention in the future?
  • What is the ultimate diagnosis or impact from the deterioration or deferred maintenance?
  • What is the cure or the plan of action to repair the damage?
  • And finally what is the respective cost for the cure or repair, both short and long term?

A Case Study. We have recently been working on a parking garage project. Years of deferred maintenance on the steel connection plates in the existing pre-cast concrete and double-T split panels has required extensive and very expensive restoration and repair efforts, plus there is the structural integrity of the garage and the health and safety of everyone using the facility.

With early detection, repairing the garage would have been inconsequential compared to the financial investment that is now required and underway (e.g. we could have treated the problem with minimal invasiveness, less resources and expense to the owner).

Come back, we’ll share more about the parking garage.