Seeking Automated Solutions and Artificial Intelligence System for Inspection, Diagnosis and Maintenance of External Building Facades

Background / Description

Due to aging building stock and the increasing complexity of façade design, it is necessary that building façades are regularly inspected and maintained to ensure safety. Current inspection processes are normally done within the confines of the building and can be manual and labour dependent. To have an effective inspection, the building professionals (e.g. Professional Engineers, Registered Architects, Resident Engineers, Resident Technical Officers etc.) are required to work at heights to carry out close range inspection. Such method of inspection is often laborious and prone to fatigue and human errors. There may also be areas that are difficult for humans to access.

To improve the inspection professional’s safety (i.e. prevention of fall from height), there is an urgent need to explore automating the inspection process and transforming it to become less labour dependent by incorporating building diagnostics technology, such as seamlessly recording all defects and inspection data gathered from the autonomous inspection. This would thus improve various aspects of building inspection such as safety, productivity and inspection accuracy. The external façade inspection system should help to improve building inspection personnel safety, increase the reach of building façade inspection, and reduce the dependency on professional manpower willing to undertake such building façade inspections.

Further research on a portable non-destructive testing tool is also needed as defects on the façade systems are often concealed by the façade barrier. As facades get more complex, less visible and less accessible, these defects remain undetected until failure occurs. There is a need for a portable non-invasive and non-destructive equipment that can detect defects concealed behind façade barriers, so that they can be repaired before failures occur. The objective of this phase of research is to develop portable scanning equipment that can function as a quick diagnostic tool to assist façade inspectors in detecting defects and any tell-tale signs on the building facade safely and accurately, without the need to remove the façade layer.

Technical Specifications


The desired outcomes of the research are to:

  • Develop customised, autonomous and cost-effective robotic system that is capable of maneuvering around building envelopes, including those with irregular profile, easily and safely. Using a combination of different technologies, the inspection robotic system should be able to conduct checks on external facades to detect building defects; and
  • Develop an intelligent inspection software system to recognize building defects through data analytics based on data collected during the inspection.


  • Principal Investigators (PIs) from all Singapore-based institutions of higher learning (IHLs), public sector agencies and not-for-profit research laboratories as well as companies and company-affiliated research laboratories/institutions, are eligible to apply.
  • The Lead PI who leads the Research must be based in Singapore. Collaboration with foreign organisations and experts in the capacity of Co-Principal Investigator (Co-PI), or as Collaborator is allowed.
  • Research work should be done in Singapore, and should not be carried out overseas unless expressly approved by the grantor.
  • The proposals must not have obtained similar funding from other government agencies. Proposals with similar scope, which are currently under evaluation by other funding initiatives, would not be considered until the results from the other funding initiatives are finalized.
  • Grant applicants are strongly encouraged to collaborate with industry and development agencies to develop innovative solutions that can address the call objectives and demonstrate strong potential for real-world application within Singapore.

Submission Instructions

Details of the CFP are attached herewith. Please download all files and read all instructions and guidelines for the Grant Call by clicking on the <<Proceed to Details>> button below. Technical details of the problem statement as well as information related to this Grant Call can be found on the government agency portal which you will be redirected to, after clicking on the <<Proceed to Details>> button below, and filling up a short form with your basic information.

All proposals must be submitted to both and by 19 Jul 2018, 2359 hrs. (Update: The deadline for submission has been extended 2 weeks from 19 July to 2 Aug 2018, 2359 hrs). Late submissions or submissions from individual applicants without endorsement from the Host Institution will not be entertained.

In case of conflicting information, the Grant Call website shall be taken as most updated source.

Preferred Business Model

  • R&D Collaboration

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