A study on the effects of hidden safety when assessing existing structures
Keywords:code based design, existing bridge structures, hidden safety, traffic load
In many instances, the safety of existing structures can no longer be demonstrated by standard code-based assessments. Reasons for this include changes in the code, changes in the demands on the structures and deterioration. To address this problem, it is common practice to perform a more detailed assessment utilizing advanced models. In this way, many structures can be shown to comply with safety requirements, even if they cannot be verified by standard assessments. The standard code models are often conservatively biased. This leads to designs which include hidden safety. If the reassessment is performed with more advanced models in lieu of standard models, the hidden safety can vanish. Concurrently, the reduced uncertainty of advanced models may compensate this safety reduction. In this paper we investigate this issue on a hypothetical population of existing bridge structures under traffic. We consider that the standard code model is exchanged by an advanced traffic load simulation.