On 27 November 2014, experts from seven European countries, representing twenty organisations, gathered in Amsterdam, at the workshop ‘Extending the Service Life of Civil Structures’. Thirty participants contributed to discussions on major challenges for ageing civil structures in Europe and joined forces to define the most promising innovation routes for extending the service life of the structures. Now the results of this unique day are published and free to download from TNO.nl.


Maintaining a reliable and safe (transport)infrastructure network is the concern of every asset owner. During the workshop we saw examples from:

  • Germany, where the Daehre Commission determined a € 7.2 billion annual re-investment need (for all transport infrastructure) and an annual maintenance backlog of € 2.65 billion.
  • Norway, which has an annual maintenance backlog of € 0.5 – 1 billion
  • The Netherlands, with an expected annual reinvestment need for civil structures of € 0.2 – € 0.5 billion.

In the coming decades, extending the service life of civil structures will be the major challenge in attempts to cut maintenance costs and reduce nuisance for road users all over Europe. The effectiveness of replacement programmes is of concern to all citizens, as is the safety of civil structures. We call upon national and European policy-makers to exert their influence on programmes such as Horizon 2020 and Infravation, to encourage and support the building and sharing of knowledge on extending the service life of civil structures.


During this unique workshop, experts from all over Europe jointly formulated the following most promising routes:

For concrete structures, the following developments are needed:

  • Quantitative, preferably monetised decision support for the management and maintenance of existing infrastructure.
  • Practical codified assessment guidelines for existing structures.
  • Advanced models of structures:Modelling real failure mechanisms, avoiding hidden safeties in structural models.
  • Developing alternative structural models for deteriorating structures.

For steel structures, the following innovations are needed for the Fatigue and Static Strength routes:Loads and response (monitoring).Strengthening.Replacement.


Together with over 30 European experts, TNO has formulated this joint research agenda for extending service life of civil structures. By disseminating this innovation agenda, TNO would like to activate several stakeholders to accelerate the execution of this agenda. By carrying out this joint research agenda, a future of spiralling maintenance costs and considerable nuisance for road users will be prevented.


Original source: TNO