A Conversation with Peter DeNicola about Life-Cycle Analysis

Peter DeNicola

Author: Lorella Angelini, Angelini Consulting Services, LLC

Perspective of: Peter DeNicola, Evonik Corporation

Peter DeNicola, Technical Marketing Manager with Evonik Corporation, is an expert with bridge preservation and maintenance, also having a deep expertise with concrete deck sealers.

Along with his many commitments, he chairs the International Concrete Repair Institute (ICRI) Committee 140 – “Life-Cycle Performance and Cost”.  I spoke with Peter about the activity of the Committee he chairs.

Could you tell us about yourself?

I graduated from Rutgers State University in New Jersey with a chemistry degree.  Shortly after graduation I started working for Evonik, which was Degussa at the time, based in New Jersey, where I live.

At first, I was part of the Research and Development team focusing on silane synthesis. I then moved to the application technology department where I put to use my R&D knowledge of silanes for the development of concrete protection applications. I have been in this position for 13 years.

I joined ICRI in 2005. I currently chair the ICRI Committee 140 – “Life-Cycle Performance and Cost”.

Can you introduce us to Committee 140?

We have a diverse group of professionals in the Committee. The group includes consulting engineers, manufacturers and contractors, who use products for repair and maintenance and also deal with the owners.  This diversity allows different perspectives and views of products and technologies, which are all taken into consideration in the Committee.

 What compelled you to take a leadership role with the Committee?

I had been working on several projects with Paul Tourney, who initiated the activity of this Committee in 2008. Like Paul, I strongly believe in the importance and the value of developing an analysis of products and technologies for concrete repair based on the criteria of cost and service life extension.

I wanted to help owners choose products and technologies based on an economic perspective including both cost of the application and its benefits over the years.

What is the mission of Committee 140?

To provide industry guidance for decisions that are based on service life extension of concrete structures as well the economic impact of the different repair strategies.

What are the Committee’s goals?

To develop a guideline document that will take a “cradle to grave” approach employing different maintenance and concrete repair strategies for extending service life of concrete structures. The document should allow an owner to formulate preventative maintenance plans, mapping out costs and actions to be taken in the short and long term with the objective of preventing major repairs.

Generally speaking, owners do not make a repair just because they have to fix something. They also take into consideration the long-term service life of their structures. For this reason they value tools that allow them to save money over time avoiding extensive repairs.

The guideline document that the Committee is preparing will include a net present value calculation tool that should allow owners to take the best repair decision for their budget. For example, by using the highest quality materials and best possible repair technologies an owner can spend additional $ 100 at the time of the repair to save $500 in 5 years. The guidelines will provide different net present value calculations related to different repair strategies.

You have mentioned repair strategies a number of times during this conversation. What about maintenance strategies?

Ultimately the guidelines will be focused on repair with a smaller section dedicated to maintenance.  It is true though that the guidelines reference existing codes, such as ACI (American Concrete institute), which include both inspection, repair and maintenance information.

When will the guidelines be competed?

We are planning to have a rough draft completed in one year.

There have been talks to combine the Life-Cycle Performance and Cost Committee with the ICRI Sustainability Committee to work on a joint document since the two Committees are working on a similar pathway.

What is your source of data for the guidelines?

For net present value calculation we basically rely on industry to provide service life data that are expected out of a certain product, technology and repair strategy.  For instance, repairs of delaminated and spalled areas of steel reinforced concrete usually have longer life expectancy when the repair material contains a corrosion inhibiting admixture.

The Committee also implements independent testing programs to verify statements from manufacturers. As an example, there are test data that allow predicting how long it will take for chloride to penetrate different types of concrete and start corroding the reinforcing steel.

Do you think the work of your Committee and the guidelines could be of interest to bridge preservation practitioners?

Yes, absolutely.  The ICRI guidelines will include a section dedicated to bridge decks and bridge substructures. Guidelines will cover several bridge preservation practices, such as deck washing.

I am looking forward to strengthening  the communication with DOTs and getting their feedback about the work of Committee 140.

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