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How To Best Manage Corrosion Costs

July 25, 2018


According to Materials Performance, “Steel corrosion is...the biggest durability issue for reinforced concrete structures.” Corrosion is a gradual process that harms steel and steel-reinforced concrete structures, including commercial buildings. 

While paint coatings help, it's best to start at the beginning of corrosion management.

How much does corrosion cost annually?

When corrosion occurs, expensive commercial buildings (and their owners and operators) pay the price -- literally. According to the current U.S. corrosion study as reported by NACE International, “the direct cost of metallic corrosion is $276 billion on an annual basis.”

The direct cost includes those incurred by building owners and operators, product manufacturers, and service suppliers.

If you account for indirect costs, the cost rises to nearly $830 billion. Indirect costs include lost productivity due to "outages, delays, failures, and litigation; taxes and overhead on...corrosion...goods and services; and...costs of non-owner/operator activities."

Will corrosion affect your industry?

Corrosion doesn’t discriminate, either. The natural process harms every business, from boutique hotels and small offices to hometown hospitals. Nationally, corrosion harms the following industries, from greatest to least:

  • Utilities
    • Gas Distribution
    • Electrical Utilities
    • Drinking Water/Sewage Systems
  • Infrastructure
    • Highway Bridges
    • HAZMAT Storage
    • Gas And Liquid Transmission Pipelines
    • Waterways And Ports
  • Government
    • Military Facilities And Equipment
    • Nuclear Waste
  • Production & Manufacturing
    • Pulp & Paper
    • Petroleum Refining
    • Food Processing
    • Chemical/Petrochemical/Pharmaceutical
    • Home Appliances
    • Oil/Gas Exploration And Production
    • Agricultural
    • Mining
  • Transportation
    • Motor Vehicles
    • Ships
    • Aircrafts
    • Railroad Cars
    • HAZMAT Transportation

Without these operational businesses, local communities and economies would suffer. Thankfully, small business owners and operators can manage corrosion cost, starting with preventative maintenance.

How do you manage corrosion cost?

It's possible to manage corrosion costs if you own or operate a steel or steel-reinforced structure. Delay Mother Nature's course with annual maintenance or a one-time preventative investment like coating. Economic Impact states that about 30 percent of corrosion costs can be saved by implementing state-of-the-art corrosion control technology.

Corrosion cost is often broken down into pre-failure and post-failure costs. Pre-failure costs are for preventative measures and include CE-based (corrosion engineering) and non-CE-based costs:

  • CE-based costs are divided into three smaller subcategories, which include the following:
    • Design costs (crevice control, no metal mixing, and corrosion allowance)
    • Materials selection costs (metallics, non-metallics, coatings, and claddings)
    • Environmental control costs (pH, corrosion inhibitors, scale inhibitors, biocides, and oxygen scavengers)
  • Non-CE-based costs are divided into four smaller subcategories, which include the following:
    • Inspection costs (inspection method, extent of inspection scope, number of personnel, and data processing methodology)
    • Corrosion monitoring and fluid sampling costs (corrosion monitoring method, number and location of devices and sampling points, and service and replacement of equipment)
    • Management costs (strategies, registers, procedures, databases, documentation, communication, and competencies and training)
    • Failure risk assessment activities costs (extent, team structure, numbers, schedule, and frequency)

Preempting corrosion failure prevents post-failure costs, significantly reducing total corrosion costs. Sometimes, it's too late.

If your building needs repair from corrosion, post-failure costs include lost hydrocarbon and deferred production costs, repair and labor costs, and reputation costs.

What should you do now?

Commercial building owners and operators should account for all pre- and post-failure corrosion costs. This will help you understand where your commercial building stands in the corrosion management process.

Afterward, you should allocate your budget accordingly for corrosion prevention, maintenance, and repair costs. This allocation is based on variables, including weather, budget, preferred method of corrosion resistance, and more.

For more information on how to prevent corrosion on your commercial building, download Cochran & Mann’s Corrosion Prevention Methods Guide. Click on the button below to see more:

Download The Corrosion Prevention Methods Guide 

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