AUTOMATION & ROBOTICS
✦ BEAMP-NIC TRACK ✦
Integrated Approach to
Building Facade Cleaning, Inspection & Repair
How might we replace dangerous work-at-heights by adopting automation solutions for our building facades?
Background and Current Practice
The cleaning of industrial/commercial building façades is done annually and in some cases, half-yearly. The work typically involves a minimum of 3 persons, 2 of whom work at height using a gondola or rope access system, with one safety personnel. The duration needed to complete the cleaning process of a building typically ranges from one to three months.
As part of the process of cleaning, there is further potential for added synergy to also incorporate inspection and repair elements into the gondola or rope access system.
Currently, building façades are required to be inspected on a regular basis . Defects are flagged out by the inspectors and prioritised according to severity for follow-up actions. This challenge seeks to primarily develop an autonomous façade cleaning solution, where integration with automated inspection techniques to guide the system to subsequently perform repair works for minor defects would be an added enhanced feature considered.
Opportunities and Key Challenges
An unmanned robotics solution that can replace current manual methods of cleaning, inspecting and repairing can lead to the following benefits:
Lower the life cycle cost of the building;
Reduce the manpower requirements for façade maintenance;
Improve resilience of the building by detecting and repairing building defects early;
Reduce the safety risk from working-at-height;
Uniform cleaning of building façades to remove human error with results that are highly replicable on other buildings.
The solution must achieve and demonstrate the following outcomes:
1. Able to clean façades autonomously.
Solution must be able to clean at least 80% of building façade through robotic means;
Able to clean one or more façade types such as reinforced concrete, glass, granite, aluminium etc. Systems that are able to clean more than one façade type or varying façade profiles are preferred;
Able to traverse across most façade features such as window frames and sunshades without intervention
2. Reduce cost of operations by 15% or more compared to traditional cleaning methods.
3. Reduce dangerous work-at-height and increase productivity at steady state compared to traditional methods of cleaning and inspection.
4. Proposals that can inspect and repair façade defects autonomously are a bonus consideration.
Solution must comply with BCA’s Periodic Façade Inspection requirements;
Innovator may propose defect type(s) to be repaired;
Proposal must include proposed method(s) for repair with workable prototype at the end of the project;
5. Maintain privacy for tenants whilst work is carried out.
Submissions for this challenge statement must also include information such as company/consortium information, method statement, risk assessment and commercialisation plan. Proposed solutions should also be able to sell as independent services (eg. cleaning only) according to customers’ needs and solutions that are environmentally friendly (such as reduced water consumption) are a bonus.