Checking facades on the fly

Skyscrapers of all shapes and sizes – often featuring unique and architecturally captivating facades – are a prominent part of the urban landscape in modern cities worldwide. But who bears the actual responsibility for ensuring the safety of these buildings that define the city? TÜV SÜD has developed a drone-assisted facade inspection process that incorporates artificial intelligence. Terence Tay, Product Creator Digital Services at TÜV SÜD, played a key role in launching the initiative.

Specialized drone pilots fly precisely over the facade points previously defined by TÜV SÜD.

A digital twin helps to compare facade defects detected during the inspection for their safety relevance.

Safety first: Since 2022, the authorities in Singapore have mandated a “periodic facade inspection” (PFI) every seven years for buildings that are more than 20 years old. The responsibility for this inspection falls on the property owner. How can this work be efficiently and reliably carried out on high-rise buildings with facade elements that are sometimes quite futuristic? One way is to use both drones and artificial intelligence in tandem. TÜV SÜD has devised a suitable testing procedure that can be used on building facades worldwide.

“A safety check that used to take weeks is now completed in just a few days.“
Terence Tay
Product Creator Digital Services

Terence Tay has taken this innovative service from the concept stage to successful implementation in the market. The AI scans thousands of images captured by the drone on a fully automatic basis, identifying potential hazards and defects in the building’s exterior. A TÜV SÜD expert checks the AI, corrects any misinterpretations, and thus assists in enhancing the artificial intelligence’s performance over time – all without anyone having to scale the facade themselves. It’s a successful system that has potential applications also in underground parking garages and on bridges in the future. Terence Tay presents it all in a video against the fascinating backdrop of Singapore.

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