Building Design and Construction

Inspection of Reinforcement

This involves approval of rebar material for conformance to the physical properties required, such as ASTM specifications for the strength grade specified; approval of the bar details and placing drawings; approval of fabrication to meet the approved details within the prescribed tolerances; and approval of rebar placing.
Approvals of rebar material may be made on the basis of mill tests performed by the manufacturer for each heat from which the bars used originated. If samples are to be taken for independent strength tests, measurements of deformations, bending tests, and minimum weight, the routine samples may be best secured at the mill or the fabrication shop before fabrication. Occasionally, samples for check tests are taken in the field; but in this case, provision should be made for extra lengths of bars to be shipped and for schedules for the completion of such tests before the material is required for placing. Sampling at the point of fabrication, before fabrication, is recommended.
Inspection of fabrication and placement is usually most conveniently performed in the field, where gross errors would require correction in any event.
Under the ACI 318 Building Code, the bars should be free of oil, paint, form coatings, and mud when placed. Rust or mill scale sufficiently loose to damage the bond is normally dislodged in handling.
If heavily rusted bars (which may result from improper storage for a long time exposed to rusting conditions) are discovered at the time of placing, a quick field test of suitability requires only scales, a wire brush, and calipers. In this test, a measured length of the bar is wire-brushed manually and weighed. If less than 94% of the nominal weight remains, or if the height of the deformations is deficient, the rust is deemed excessive. In either case, the material may then be rejected or penalized as structurally inadequate. Where space permits placing additional bars to make up the structural deficiency (in anchorage capacity or weight), as in walls and slabs, this solution is preferred, because construction delay then is avoided.
Where project specifications impose requirements on rust more severe than the structural requirements of the ACI 318 Building Code, for example, for decorative surfaces exposed to weather, the inspection should employ the special criteria required.

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