Case studies introduction

A research method that is involving an up-close, in-depth, and detailed examination of a particular case is in general referred to as a case study. In civil engineering all documented practical implementation of theory and methods is called case study. In the present project we use the latter meaning of case study, i.e. a case study can be a pure documentation of practical implementation without original research content.

A case study or best practice refers here a specific infrastructure object, where a novel monitoring solutions is applied. The data collection for each best practice aimed to gather all relevant information that would describe the details of the structure and the method of implementation. This description is to be associated to a number of aspects such as structure type, assessment type, material type, degradation processes observed at structure, type of monitoring system etc. Information is findable (by hyperlinks) based on the aspects. These aspects have been defined by the task partners. Up until the submission date of this deliverable, there have been 96 cases collected.

This “online best practice guide” takes the documentation of case studies as a starting point. In general, the information about cases contained in reference documents is catalysed as modular as possible: the content is defined by a set of attributes and represented in a finite list of fixed options; additionally, free text is given for properties that cannot be associated with one of the options. The online forms have been created based on a template to facilitate data collection in case studies (

The scope of the selected case studies is directed to the assessment of the structural performance of existing bridges and tunnels. I.e. the study at least contains:

  • assessment of loads and resistance
  • integration of information from monitoring and/or inspection, and
  • validation of structural safety.

Furthermore the study is documented in a comprehensive way and publicly available (either as open or restricted access).

This section of the IM-SAFE knowledge base presents case studies in three ways:

  • Overview displays an overview of all case studies with basic properties
  • Search in case studies provides an interactive search interface for finding case studies with specific characteristics
  • Map view of case studies plots all case studies on the map of European countries.