Developing an Engineering Approach for Migrating from Prescriptive to Performance-Based Specification for Concrete

Sreejith Nanukuttan, P. A. Muhammed Basheer, William John McCarter, Luping Tang

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The integral variability of raw materials, lack of awareness and appreciation of the technologies for achieving quality control and lack of appreciation of the micro and macro environmental conditions that the structures will be subjected, makes modern day concreting a challenge. This also makes Designers and Engineers adhere more closely to prescriptive standards developed for relatively less aggressive environments. The data from exposure sites and real structures prove, categorically, that the prescriptive specifications are inadequate for chloride environments. In light of this shortcoming, a more pragmatic approach would be to adopt performance-based specifications which are familiar to industry in the form of specification for mechanical strength. A recently completed RILEM technical committee made significant advances in making such an approach feasible.

Furthering a performance-based specification requires establishment of reliable laboratory and on-site test methods, as well as easy to perform service-life models. This article highlights both laboratory and on-site test methods for chloride diffusivity/electrical resistivity and the relationship between these tests for a range of concretes. Further, a performance-based approach using an on-site diffusivity test is outlined that can provide an easier to apply/adopt practice for Engineers and asset managers for specifying/testing concrete structures.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the International RILEM Conference Materials, Systems and Structures in Civil Engineering 2016
Subtitle of host publicationService Life of Cement-Based Materials and Structures
EditorsMiguel Azenha, Ivan Gabrijel, Dirk Schlicke, Terje Kanstad , Ole Mejlhede Jensen
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9782351581735
ISBN (Print)9782351581704
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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