News

Researchers to develop online remote building inspection platform

Surveryors examining building

Researchers at the University of Strathclyde have received funding to develop an online platform for remote building inspection.

The six-month project has received £35,000 from the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre i-Con Challenge, and will enable the management and monitoring of the construction phase of buildings and improve productivity and quality, with fewer defects in the long term.

The aim of the project is to introduce novel, state-of-the-art algorithms for defect detection and sizing in image data through an intelligent combination of state-of-the-art deep learning algorithms, traditional image processing techniques and VR interfaces. 

A large, publicly-available dataset of building defect images will be created which can be used as a standard by the community for algorithm development, testing and comparison. 

Dr Andrew Agapiou, senior lecturer in the Department of Architecture and the lead researcher on the project said: “The ability to accurately detect errors and defects in remote and hard-to-access buildings has significant value for the organisations.

In many situations, these structures are inspected extensively using digital cameras to capture images which can be analysed offline by experts who study the footage in detail.

“The use of advanced photogrammetry and Artificial Intelligence technologies will help data gathering and analysis with minimum human interaction with buildings.”

Safe operation

From a practical point of view, the novel platform will create a 3D immersive environment of a building which assists the safe operation by limiting the need for quantity surveyors and health and safety inspectors to be physically present; this is a step towards addressing the limitations and difficulties faced by building control inspectorate when undertaking inspections on remote, inaccessible sites.

The same digital platform can provide occupants and the wider community with meaningful ways to engage and contribute to a building programme.

The project proposes a framework for integration of methodologies and tools including VR, and digital photogrammetry to collect real-time data that support automated decision making. 

The platform will also provide opportunities for building control compliance activities. 

The team will trial the VR platform on the University of Strathclyde’s new Learning & Teaching building which is under construction on the Campus.

The project partners are the Scottish Government Building Standards Division, Sublime, Robert Gordon University, Balfour Beatty Construction, BDP, Anomalous Technologies, Scottish Futures Trust Hub-Cos Partnership, Highlands Council and the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre.

The i-Con Challenge is designed to match those faced with current challenges with those in industry and academia who can offer rapid, impact-focused solutions in a bid to build resilience for a brighter future through innovation.