Concrete is the single most widely used material in the construction industry all over the globe with an average annual consumption of 1m3 per person. There is strong evidence to suggest that forms of concrete were used thousands of years ago when the Romans built the Coliseum and the Pantheon in Rome.

One of the main advantages of using concrete within the structure of a building is the resistance it has against fire. Most building materials that are exposed to fires are visually effected and therefore can be easily identified as unfit and later replaced. Concrete on the other hand changes very little in respect of the shape and size making it much more difficult to assess for damage.

The fact is that concrete does lose strength when it is heated above 300°C. The current methods that are used to assess damage involve entering potentially dangerous and unstable parts of the building, these results will propose any suitable repair methods or decide if demolition is required, as a result of this; the need for new assessment technology has never been greater.

Research that has been carried out by the Engineering Department at The University of Nottingham, UK has found that laser scanning is a new and viable technique to assess the damaging effects of fire on concrete. The scanning can be done from a distance which improves the safety of the procedure; the process is also very quick with millions of points being measured within seconds.

The research concluded that not only is the laser scanning quicker and safer, but is also a lot more accurate than any other methods used in the construction industry. The technique known as Terrestrial Laser Scanning (TLS) is estimated to be developed and used in the industry in the coming years.