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Article
Publication date: 1 May 2020

Jorge Furtado Falorca and João Carlos Gonçalves Lanzinha

This paper presents a reflection on the effectiveness of using drones in the technical inspection of building facades, as a practical alternative to more expensive and…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper presents a reflection on the effectiveness of using drones in the technical inspection of building facades, as a practical alternative to more expensive and heavier conventional means. In order to verify this assumption qualitatively, a number of field tests are presented and discussed.

Design/methodology/approach

The first stage consisted of a literature review. The analysis initially investigated drone technology. Then, an insight into some general applications in Civil Engineering was compiled, focusing in particular on the Construction Industry (CI), as well as the scope of building envelope inspections. In the second stage, field tests with drones were performed and the resulting data was appraised in order to get facade pathologies diagnosis as accurate as possible.

Findings

Through this study, the adaptability and versatility of using drones were checked. Thus, it has been confirmed that drone technology is an effective and promising alternative methodology to support technical inspection and diagnosis of building envelope pathologies. In fact, drones seem to be a worthwhile tool for supporting certain Civil Engineering activities–particularly when displaying a multirotor configuration, loading high-definition (HD) cameras, for both stills photography and video.

Research limitations/implications

As the main goal of this approach was simply a qualitative assessment of evidence on the advantages of using drones compared with conventional means, other kinds of comparative analysis were not discussed in depth. However, this and other potential restrictive issues may represent an opportunity to push more developments. A deeper knowledge of data handling and clear procedures for the use of drones could be very valuable for the CI and for building envelope inspections.

Practical implications

In investigating this subject, this research can offer valuable input to enable a greater awareness of the use of drones in the technical inspection of buildings, particularly in hard-to-reach locations, to the detriment of conventional means. In these circumstances, this methodology can bring great benefits, particularly from an environmental impact point of view, since the resources used are much lower. In addition, a very reliable diagnosis can be achieved more quickly, and at a much lower cost.

Originality/value

The introduction of a standard for drone inspection practice is still at an early stage, with initial steps being taken in an apparently well-focused effort to achieve consolidation. Research studies of this kind may have an important role to play in drawing the stakeholders' attention to the benefits of using this technique, particularly for those working in the building usage phase.

Details

International Journal of Building Pathology and Adaptation, vol. 39 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2398-4708

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 4 May 2021

Michael Y.L. Chew

This paper highlights a crucial public safety issue due to falling objects from tall residential buildings in Singapore. A systematic façade inspection regime and a system…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper highlights a crucial public safety issue due to falling objects from tall residential buildings in Singapore. A systematic façade inspection regime and a system of evaluation of severity for the detection and assessment of potential falling objects from tall buildings are presented.

Design/methodology/approach

The research uses qualitative case study approach with 450 tall residential buildings sampled for the study. The common materials, elements, components with high risk of falling objects, the nature and type of the falling, the critical factors affecting the falling, the respective level of severity, and the effectiveness of various diagnostic techniques and protocols, are summarised.

Findings

Façade for tall residential buildings in Singapore comprises mainly cementitious materials cast in situ or precast, with fixtures and architectural features, all of which have potential of falling. The common anomalies arising from each material and fixture/features are identified, the causes evaluated and their implications to future design, construction and maintenance analysed.

Originality/value

This study provides original and significant information to a crucial public safety issue, setting design and construction criteria that will serve as a benchmark for new and existing facades, applicable to all cities dominated by tall buildings. The paper presents original figures, checklists and guides as a basis for readers' consideration to use according to their respective unique conditions.

Details

International Journal of Building Pathology and Adaptation, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2398-4708

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 31 May 2011

Inês Flores‐Colen, Jorge Manuel Caliço Lopes de Brito and Vasco Peixoto de Freitas

The purpose of this paper is to present a methodology in order to improve inspections' diagnosis during façades' service life through in‐service criteria. On‐site…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present a methodology in order to improve inspections' diagnosis during façades' service life through in‐service criteria. On‐site performance assessment and deciding on the maintenance of renders can only be improved if quantitative parameters are pre‐established at the design stage and monitored under service conditions.

Design/methodology/approach

The methodology is based on a set of in‐service parameters inferred from visual observation and measurements and their methods of assessment (based on visual inspections, auxiliary techniques, in‐situ and laboratorial testing). These have been arrived at by inspecting the façade rendering on 44 buildings (cement‐based renders), of different ages and types of degradation.

Findings

This paper focuses on 23 proposed mechanical and physical‐chemical parameters that can complement the ones already established by standards or technical data, obtained in lab conditions, using standard specimens or small models. They are assessed by techniques that have been applied to renders or other façade elements such as concrete or timber structures. The reliability of this in‐service performance assessment is discussed together with its potential as an aid to deciding on predictive maintenance action after an inspection's diagnosis.

Originality/value

The originality of this approach stems from the fact that in‐service parameters derived from both laboratory and in‐situ measurements can improve understanding of the behaviour of façade rendering, which is an important step in planning and monitoring maintenance. Two aspects are emphasised: the behaviour of materials/systems is assessed in real conditions, and the subjectivity of in‐service diagnosis is reduced when more than one performance parameter is assessed.

Details

Structural Survey, vol. 29 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0263-080X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 6 April 2010

J. Mendes da Silva, Romeu Vicente and Ana Cristina N. Subtil

The purpose of this paper is to report on the behaviour of the different types of façades used in the old town of Coimbra in Portugal when they are exposed to seismic activity.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to report on the behaviour of the different types of façades used in the old town of Coimbra in Portugal when they are exposed to seismic activity.

Design/methodology/approach

Over 400 façades in the uptown, and 700 in the downtown of Coimbra were surveyed to determine their material and their current state of decay. Further investigations on two specific sites were undertaken to determine the effects of seismic activity on the façades.

Findings

The paper reports on the classification of the results from the different surveys into a web‐based database. In order to achieve this classification a geographic information system (GIS) tool was used to locate the different sites under investigation.

Originality/value

This paper combines the results of an investigation into the inspection of façades in Coimbra, Portugal, with a GIS tool and database to document the results of the different surveys for seismic activity.

Details

Structural Survey, vol. 28 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0263-080X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 13 April 2015

Elton Bauer, Vasco Peixoto de Freitas, Niubis Mustelier, Eva Barreira and Sara Stingl de Freitas

Infrared thermography is increasingly being used to diagnose pathologies in buildings, such as façade defects. The purpose of this paper is to assess the results…

Abstract

Purpose

Infrared thermography is increasingly being used to diagnose pathologies in buildings, such as façade defects. The purpose of this paper is to assess the results reproducibility and the equipment influence on the measurements. To do so, it was defined as case study the assessment of rendering delamination.

Design/methodology/approach

Two infrared cameras of different makers were used to detect the presence of defects deliberately created in specimens. The tests were done in the laboratory with a heat source. The defects were detected through a temperature gradient between the zones with and without defect.

Findings

With this thermographic imaging, it was possible to identify the defects in the specimen both qualitatively and quantitatively. The results were found to be reproducible in the three cycles performed. The influence of the equipment on the results was of little significance for the quantitative assessment criterion “temperature difference between zones with and without defect”, but for the criterion “absolute surface temperature”, the difference in the results yielded by the two cameras was around 1.8°C.

Originality/value

The results suggest that there is reproducibility of the measurements, considering both the qualitative and quantitative approach, when assessing delamination, irrespective of the maker of the equipment used. The influence of the equipment on the results depends on the quantitative assessment criterion used.

Details

Structural Survey, vol. 33 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0263-080X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 May 2009

S. Thomas Ng, Jonathan Shi and Yuan Fang

Many planners and managers prefer to maintain more than enough construction materials on site to avoid valuable labour and plant resources staying idle. Despite the fact…

Abstract

Purpose

Many planners and managers prefer to maintain more than enough construction materials on site to avoid valuable labour and plant resources staying idle. Despite the fact that minimising the buffer stock would improve the productivity of a construction project, no one likes to take this risk especially when the consequences are not totally clear. This paper aims to identify the possible savings in time and cost due to different amounts of buffer stock on site, by introducing an activity‐based simulation model.

Design/methodology/approach

In this research, details and data of a residential project involving substantial amounts of pre‐cast components are collected. The project participants are asked to unveil the constraints on site and throughout the material delivery and storage processes. Finally, the collected data are fed into the activity‐based construction simulation tool for analysis.

Findings

The results indicate that simulation could help quantify the productivity of resources so as to establish the most suitable strategy for improving the logistics of materials handling in a construction project.

Originality/value

The paper helps construction planners and managers to streamline the flow of construction materials and determine optimal buffer stocks rather than relying on subjective judgement.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 16 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 8 October 2019

Hamed Golizadeh, M. Reza Hosseini, Igor Martek, David Edwards, Masoud Gheisari, Saeed Banihashemi and Jingxiao Zhang

Remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) systems have emerged as an established tool within the construction industry. Concurrent with this trend has been the rise in research on…

Abstract

Purpose

Remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) systems have emerged as an established tool within the construction industry. Concurrent with this trend has been the rise in research on RPA, establishing this as a new field of study within the construction management domain. What is needed now is an assessment of the current state of research in this emerging discipline – its strengths and weaknesses – by which future research on RPA in construction may be guided. The purpose of this paper is to address this need.

Design/methodology/approach

A total of 59 peer-reviewed journal articles covering RPAs within the construction domain were systematically reviewed using a mixed-methods approach, utilizing qualitative-scientometric analyses techniques.

Findings

The results reveal a field of study in its fledgling stage, with a limited number of experts operating somewhat in isolation, from a limited number of institutions. Key publication outlets are identified, with the main focus of research being in the technical areas of remote sensing, photogrammetry and image processing.

Practical implications

The study benefits researchers and industry practitioners alike. For researchers, the identified gaps reveal areas of high priority in future research. For construction companies, particularly small to medium-sized businesses, the study raises awareness of the latest developments and potential applicability of RPAs in the industry.

Originality/value

The study exposes what is missing from current research: a broader consideration of organizational adjustments needed to accommodate RPA usage, economic analyses and impediments to wider acceptance.

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Article
Publication date: 28 January 2014

Daniel W.M. Chan, Henry T.W. Hung, Albert P.C. Chan and Tony K.K. Lo

The purpose of this paper is to provide a concise overview of the problem of building decay in Hong Kong, the current government measures concerning dilapidated buildings…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide a concise overview of the problem of building decay in Hong Kong, the current government measures concerning dilapidated buildings and the latest development and implementation of the mandatory building inspection scheme (MBIS). A comparison of various MBISs from other jurisdictions of the world is also given.

Design/methodology/approach

A desktop study of building inspection procedures, repair and maintenance policies was carried out, followed by an industry-wide opinion survey conducted by means of self-administered questionnaires. Target respondents are within the construction community of Hong Kong. The perceived benefits, potential difficulties and insightful recommendations or good practices are investigated. A comparison of the relative ranking of individual mean scores from various groups of respondents is presented in this paper.

Findings

The execution of MBIS was found to be effective in enhancing public awareness of the importance of building upkeep and recognition of the property owner's legal responsibilities in this respect. Private property owners were made aware of the necessity to take holistic preventive measures to maintain the overall safety of their own buildings. A comparison of MBIS with other similar MBISs across different cities, revealed similarities as regards the inspection cycle, scope of inspection and qualifications of inspectors. The main difference related to the age rather than the height of target buildings.

Practical implications

Proper inspection and maintenance is necessary to keep buildings in good condition to avoid injury or loss of life due to sudden collapse of structures or their elements such as concrete spalling and fall of window frames. The official launch of MBIS on 30 June 2012 is one of the proposed effective measures to resolve the long-standing problems of building neglect and deterioration in Hong Kong with particular regard to the existing old private premises.

Originality/value

The execution of MBIS should be useful in improving the safety and health status of the dilapidated premises and in so doing safeguarding the residents and general public. To further identify the perceived benefits and potential difficulties of MBIS, and to suggest insightful recommendations or good practices for its successful future implementation, an opinion survey was launched among construction practitioners in Hong Kong between March and April of 2012.

Details

Built Environment Project and Asset Management, vol. 4 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2044-124X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 18 October 2018

Shi Zhou and Masoud Gheisari

Over the past decade, researchers have used unmanned aerial systems (UASs) in construction industry for various applications from site inspection to safety monitoring or…

Abstract

Purpose

Over the past decade, researchers have used unmanned aerial systems (UASs) in construction industry for various applications from site inspection to safety monitoring or building maintenance. This paper aims to assort academic studies on construction UAS applications, summarize logics behind using UAS in each application and extend understanding of current state of UAS research in the construction setting.

Design/methodology/approach

This research follows a systematic literature assessment methodology to summarize the results of 54 research papers over the past ten years and outlines the research trends for applying UASs in construction.

Findings

UASs are used in building inspection, damage assessment, site surveying, safety inspection, progress monitoring, building maintenance and other construction applications. Cost saving, time efficiency and improved accessibility are the primary reasons for choosing UAS in construction applications. Rotary-wing UASs are the most common types of UASs being used in construction. Cameras, LiDAR and Kinect are the most common onboard sensors integrated in construction UAS applications. The control styles used are manual, semi-autonomous and autonomous.

Originality/value

This paper contributes to classification of UAS applications in construction research and identification of UAS hardware and sensor types as well as their flying control systems in construction literature.

Details

Construction Innovation, vol. 18 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1471-4175

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 June 2002

C. Balaguer, A. Gimenez and CM. Abderrahim

The robotics laboratory of the Universidad Carlos III of Madrid has developed the ROMA climbing robots, which are able to travel along 3D complex environments to carry out…

Abstract

The robotics laboratory of the Universidad Carlos III of Madrid has developed the ROMA climbing robots, which are able to travel along 3D complex environments to carry out inspection tasks. The ROMA robots family is able to self‐support its locomotion system and moves in a similar way to a caterpillar. During this motion the robots generate in real‐time an optimal path and grasp planning in order to ensure a stable self‐support and avoid obstacles in the environment. In order to move the robots in a teleoperated or automatic way a man‐machine interface has been developed. The robots were developed primarily for use during the inspection of complex metallic structures. There are a large number of operations to be performed on metallic structures such as those encountered in bridges, oil rigs and building skeletons which represent a danger for human operators. Nevertheless, they are not limited to these structures due to fact that they are equipped with the necessary tools for new environments like concrete.

Details

Industrial Robot: An International Journal, vol. 29 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-991X

Keywords

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