No engineered structure is designed to be built and then neglected or ignored. — Henry Petroski
The quote above comes from Henry Petroski’s recent interview on Tech Nation. In the same interview, Petroski says that a common rule of thumb is that maintenance costs about 4% of construction cost per year. For a structure as old as the Golden Gate Bridge (completed in 1937), for example, that’s a lot of 4%’s.
Painting the bridge has cost far more than building it. The bridge is painted continuously: as soon as the painters reach the end of the bridge, they turn around and start over. The engineers who designed the bridge knew this would happen. When you build something out of steel and put it outside, it will need to be painted. It was all part of the design.
Image credit: Wikipedia