Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) is a structural engineering methodology used to implement a damage detection system and/or strategies for modern engineering structures. Although the concept of SHM has been around since the 19th century, over the years the tools used for SHM have significantly improved in cost and abilities.
The advent of the computer age started the inevitable process of automation. Similar to the industrial revolution that made production and labor a more efficient process — improvements in machine learning and collection of big data has led to vast improvements in SHM.
In structural engineering, safety is a huge factor and this is where SHM can help. With new and improved tools, engineers can collect data with smart machines that can more easily detect and identify patterns of instability or inevitable structural collapse before it happens. This gives engineers more time to plan the best solution to fix the inevitable problem and avoid accidents and the enormous costs associated with them.
To reiterate what we learned — implementing SHM systems in your engineering structures not only improves their safety, it also ensures a longer life span for your buildings and in the long term makes them very cost effective. With the right tools, engineers can now do their jobs in peace with ample time for planning maintenance of their structures — helping to avoid preventable accidents and emergencies.
As structural engineers living in the modern world, we love to innovate our creations since we’re not restricted by things that were impossible in previous centuries. The tools we use will also make our structures last longer and save more lives with built-in SHM systems.
It is the same concepts that our engineers strive for at HH Consulting — to innovate and educate so that we can help build a better tomorrow.