Trusted advice and support throughout the Audit Process
The primary goal of the Mintrex structural audit is to rigorously audit existing plant infrastructure and carry out an assessment of the current structural condition – compared to the original design intent. We also ensure that appropriate structural maintenance is carried out to refurbish structural deterioration.
A structural audit is not a structural certification. This is an important distinction. A structural certification is an entirely different process and requires a complete design check on the structure, including assessment of loading conditions in the plant, review of design calculations, or generation of new calculations, and a member by member check on compliance with design standards.
Mintrex is uniquely placed to not only carry out a structural audit but also to implement recommended modifications or repairs. These can be quite complicated. Often it is necessary to replace primary load carrying members, which requires the provision of temporary support systems to facilitate the repair. These repairs are normally executed during plant shutdowns which requires careful planning and sequencing to return the plant to operation safely and within the shutdown schedule.
At Mintrex, we provide trusted advice and support, right from the original audit through to the point that the structure is returned to its original design intent.
Mintrex is also able to assist the client with the budgeting of repairs and/or refurbishment based upon the priorities identified in the audit report.
Of course, some clients simply require a structural audit report and we are happy to provide this as a stand-alone service.
Most clients are aware of the importance of regular structural audits. However, this requirement is also legislated. The Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety have their own structural engineers and they regularly inspect sites. During these inspections, they will always ask for details on the structural integrity plan and details of any previous structural audits.
Structural integrity is a particular area of focus for the Department and the legislation is strictly enforced.
The Structural Audit Process
Our starting point is to gather as much information on the original design as we possibly can. This information can come from original drawings, recorded modifications, previous audit reports or reports of on-site incidents. This information will greatly assist in helping Mintrex target the audits to specific areas of concern.
For audits of complete mining plant, we generally follow the process stream. We carry out the audit from ore delivery through to recovery or final product.
Of course, clients will often require specific areas or structures to be audited so the scope of the audit can vary greatly.
In older mining plants, we often find that there have been significant modifications. Some of these structures may be over 30 years old and we don’t always have drawings describing modifications along the way.
Impact of Technology
Traditionally, structural audits have been conducted by physically walking the site and utilising Elevated Work Platforms (EWPs), cranes or scaffolding. It is necessary to pay great attention to detail – particularly relating to connections. These are often most prone to failure, so it is necessary to get into all the “nooks and crannies” in order to audit effectively.