Researchers from the University of Strathclyde have received funding to develop a groundbreaking online platform to carry out building inspections.
The six-month project, which has received £35,000 in funding from the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre i-Con Challenge, will help improve the management and monitoring of the construction phase of buildings.
Researchers said the aim of the project is to introduce state-of-the-art algorithms for defect detection and sizing in image data, drawing upon deep learning algorithms, traditional image processing techniques and virtual reality interfaces.
According to the research team, the platform will help improve productivity, quality and cut down on defects.
The new 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 could mark a significant step toward addressing limitations faced by building control inspectors when undertaking jobs on remote, inaccessible sites.
“The ability to accurately detect errors and defects in remote and hard-to-access buildings has significant value for the organisations,” said Dr Andrew Agapiou, senior lecturer from the Department of Architecture and lead researcher on the project.
Traditionally, many structures are inspected by using digital cameras to capture images. These are then analysed offline by experts who study the footage in details. Agapiou noted that long-term, the new platform will minimise human interaction and enhance data gathering capabilities.
“The use of advanced photogrammetry and artificial intelligence technologies will help data gathering and analysis with minimum human interaction with buildings,” Agapiou added.
A trial of the VR platform will be conducted on the University of Strathclyde’s new Learning & Teaching building, which is currently under construction on the Campus.
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The project will also propose the establishment of a framework for the integration of methodologies and tools including virtual reality to collect real-time data that supports automated decision making.
As part of this, a publicly-available dataset of building defect images will be created. This can then be used as a standard by the community for algorithm development, testing and comparison.
Project partners include 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.