Experts in bridge inspection and testing

The Inertia Consulting team has many years of experience in managing, undertaking and reporting on bridge inspections across the UK and overseas. Our unrivalled expertise makes our engineer-led service the first choice for high quality bridge inspections on road, rail and water infrastructures.

Our client base is diverse, with projects ranging from single bridge inspections for private landowners, to extensive stock management programmes covering significant areas of the country’s transport networks. We inspect and test pedestrian footbridges, vehicle bridges, railway bridges, panel bridges, suspension bridges, aqueducts and more, with an ethos of inspecting with fresh eyes. This avoids situations where defects could be missed by adopting a ‘tick sheet’ approach.

In the UK, our bridge inspections are typically carried out in line with Highways England document BD63/17, Network Rail document NR/L3/CIV/006 or the Bridge Condition Indicator Methods. Our inspections are led by trained degree level or chartered engineers and inspectors holding Bridge Inspection Competence Scheme (BICS) certification, Network Rail STE4 Structures Examiner and STE7 Underwater Examiner accreditation giving you complete trust in our results.

If an inspection or planned maintenance programme indicates that a bridge needs strengthening or altering, we can also design and supervise repair schemes.

Specialist access projects

Our engineers have wide experience of planning and executing projects requiring specialist access. We have our own fleet of power boats for waterway access, and have worked on many projects requiring us to build pontoons, enable rope access or work from Mobile Elevating Work Platforms (MEWPs). We can also carry out aerial inspections using drones.

Credentials in this area include Confined Space Entry and Control, IPAF Powered Access Licences and PASMA membership.

A complete service

Our in-house team have the knowledge and expertise to deliver an end-to-end bridge inspection and testing service. We can take care of all aspects of your project, including planning, managing and implementing bridge inspection programmes; organising traffic management, licences and access permits; and liaising with stakeholders. Our team can also manage specialist services such as dewatering and desilting, and safety boat support.

Stock management

As well as one-off inspection services, we also offer longer-term stock management. We hold details of your bridge stock on our asset database, managing the two year / six year inspection cycle (see below), and collating and reporting on the data to give you a clear view of your network condition – enabling you to plan your maintenance priorities and budget.

Types of inspection

Inertia Consulting provide five main types of bridge inspection. For publicly-owned structures, General and Principal Inspections must be carried out on a six year cycle, with General Inspections taking place in years two and four, and a Principal Inspection in year six.

These are simple visual inspections undertaken on foot or from a slow-moving vehicle. They take place weekly or monthly, depending on how heavily the bridge is used.
These are visual inspections that can be done without specialist access equipment or traffic management arrangements. All parts of the structure will be examined, typically using binoculars or aerial drone surveys.
A Principal Inspection requires close examination of all inspectable parts of the bridge within touching distance. The in-depth survey includes visual inspections as well as specialist techniques such as hammer tap surveys of concrete, or corrosion measurement. Specialist access and traffic management may be required to complete the inspection.
If a General or Principal Inspection flags up a need or concern, we’ll carry out a Special Inspection to provide detailed information on the part, area or defect in question. Techniques might include a close visual inspection combined with non-destructive testing and structural monitoring. Special Inspections can be one-offs, or part of a series of inspections or an ongoing programme.
These are carried out when we need to assess a bridge’s capacity. An Inspection for Assessment involves a full touching distance inspection complete with measurement of structural geometry, arrangements and material strength.

Benefits of bridge inspection and stock management

By regularly inspecting and scoring the condition of your bridge network, we can give you a detailed picture of its condition, highlighting any areas of concern. Over time, the data we record in our asset management system will enable us to monitor structural change, so we can estimate the residual life of each structure and when it will next require maintenance.
We can pick up on potentially catastrophic defects by inspecting your bridge stock regularly. By identifying these at an early stage, we can plan maintenance works to restore the required structural capacity, preventing potential disasters, network outages and third party claims.
A key part of our asset management system is the ranking of your bridge stock by condition, so that repairs and maintenance can be prioritised and planned in advance. This proactive approach means that interventions take place at the right time, preventing unnecessary or unexpected costs, and building in time for you to develop a business case to apply for finance, if appropriate.

The data obtained during bridge inspections will enable you to establish the value of your assets, and your cost liability and timescales for future repair costs. You’ll have the information you need to plan different scenarios for repair and replacement, based on your budget and the minimum acceptable level of structural condition for each bridge.Our stock management process also means we can plan similar complex or specialist access inspections to take place during the same inspection period. By sharing our resources in this way, we can reduce your access and mobilisation costs whilst working more efficiently.

By inspecting, managing and maintaining your bridge stock effectively, you can maximise the residual life span of each structure within your network.

Other Services