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Table of Contents -Cont.
Inspection of Wood Beams and Trusses


Section 1. GENERAL
1.1.1 PURPOSE.  Wood is one of our oldest building materials and its
long-term performance can be observed in buildings that are several centuries
old. It does not deteriorate because of age alone. but there are service condi-
tions that have major effects on its durability. Deterioration can be caused by
a number of factors such as errors in original design or construction; changes
in loading; or inadequate maintenance practices that allow rain entry. Deterioration
often advances slowly and is not immediately obvious. By the time it is apparent,
trouble may be widespread. Inspection on a routine schedule can identify pro-
blems or potential problems before they become severe. Corrective measures
at early stages may involve only minor expenses; but if deterioration is allowed
to continue. the result may be costly major repairs or even complete demolition
of the building.
Data derived from a well organized and executed inspection program can
be valuable for planning of new construction that will be free from deteriorating
conditions. Also, comprehensive information regarding the current condition of
the structure can prevent expensive replacements and loss of operating time during
periods of emergency repairs.
1.1.2 SCOPE. The inspector of timber structures needs a basic knowledge
of what properties of wood affect its strength. how the conditions of use affect
durability. and how deterioration occurs. This knowledge can be applied to inspec-
tion procedures for establishing a condition rating system that will inform
managers of the requirements for maintenance or repairs. These standards are
limited to instruction for inspecting to identify possible problem areas that may
require indepth study. and do not include analysis or repair methods. Additional
inspection may be required by a professional to determine the exact extent of
deterioration and to evaluate its effect on the structure. While many of the prin-
ciples discussed apply to all wood structures. the emphasis here is on heavy-
timber trusses and glulam arches.
1.1.3 FREQUENCY REQUIREMENTS. The frequency of inspection
depends entirely upon local situations at the activity, such as those necessitated
by accidents, existing or potential biological activity. or the nature of the materials
used in the construction. If the structure was properly designed and constructed
of adequate and appropriate materials. it is logical that inspections may be spaced
further apart than in situations where questionable materials were used in a struc-
ture subject to exposure to an adverse environment. The length of time between

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