Concrete Deterioration & Repair – 2017

AE 537  Building Failures Presentation by Bob Pirro – Struc’tur’al

Bob Pirro’s presentation on the assessment of Concrete Deterioration problems and follow up Repair/Restoration procedures is a great overview on a topic that could be an entire course in itself.  Mr. Piro provides a version of this seminar every year to Penn State students in what is always ranked as one of the best presentations in the AE 537 Visiting Practitioner Series.

One of the best lessons highlighted in the  presentation is when Mr. Piro demonstrates with visuals and discusses the consequences of lack of attention and maintenance that occurs even when there are early signs of a problem.  Early problems are not always cheap to fix but the costs go up exponentially if repairs are not performed in a timely fashion.  This is one great point, among many, that Mr. Piro made during his presentation.

Bob Pirro is the Senior Vice President of Structural Group.  He has been with Structural for over 27 years and has extensive solution building experience in the field of infrastructure restoration.   Bob manages all the East Coast offices for Structural and has over 950 people in his employ, who perform about $150 Million in restoration annually. In his spare time, Mr. Pirro serves as an Expert Witness for many attorneys and legal firms practicing in the AEC field.  Bob has authored several publications in the field of restoration and previously served as  a International Concrete Restoration Institute (ICRI) board member.  Bob received his Bachelor of Civil Engineering from Penn State in 1987.   He has been delivering a form of this seminar to Penn State for 16 years.

Struc’tur’al collaborates with clients to improve infrastructure by combining our award-winning specialty construction, repair and maintenance services with our proprietary technologies to provide innovative solutions for demanding engineering and construction challenges.  Founded in 1976, Struc’tur’al has earned recognition as one of the industry’s leading specialty contractors and is consistently ranked high in Engineering-News Record (ENR) magazine’s list of the Top Specialty Contractors. With locations nationwide, STRUCTURAL serves the commercial/government, industrial, energy and transportation markets.


Suggested Readings – Reference material for discussion / commentary purposes:

There are many resources on this topic, not to mention all the code requirements and code commentaries available to the industry.  The link below will take you to a site maintained by the Portland Cement Association (PCA) which is a good starting point.  Concrete deterioration and problem examples shown on the site include more details on  many of the same topics discussed by Mr. Pirro as well as other common concrete deterioration issues.

PCA Concrete Technology –  Durability

An excellent practical and illustrated source of assessment of problems related to concrete damage and deterioration comes from a project on the topic of historical preservation and restoration of historic thin shell concrete structures  that Professors Boothby and Parfitt worked on a number of years ago.  Of likely interest to AE 537 students is the fact that many of the examples in the concrete deterioration assessment module prepared by Dr. Boothby came from the University Park campus of Penn State.  A number of the actual structures shown in the examples have been repaired (some better than others), torn down or replaced while several of the less severe examples can still be seen around campus if you take the time to look.  You can review these  examples by using the link below to access an interactive Power Point slide show that permits you to view photographs of the damaged elements and try to guess the cause, suggested repair or additional procedures that would be necessary to determine the cause and suggested repair process.


Professor Parfitt discovers a concrete thin shell hyperbolic parabolid structure that formerly served as a car dealership show room in Vestal, NY.

Concrete Deterioration / Assessment  Slide Show:

The slide show below was put together a number of years ago to demonstrate various types of concrete deterioration and their possible causes.  Penn State students should be able to recognize some of the examples from campus buildings however many of these examples have been repaired.

module iiie assessment – investigation of deteriorated concrete – boothby


Follow Up Discussion:

For this discussion, I am looking forward to your thoughts and comments on the topics presented by Mr. Pirro and anything interesting to supplement the discussion that you find in the PCA reading and the campus concrete deterioration slide show.


Practitioners viewing this material or the student comments and questions are encouraged to participate.




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