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Layout Information Gathering for As-built Services in the Ceiling Space

How might we check the layout of the as-built services located in the ceiling space while minimising the need to open up the ceiling?

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Challenge Statement Owner
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Review the presentation video and slides from the Q&A session.

Background and Current Practice

When carrying out Addition and Alteration (A&A) works to existing buildings, it is important for the contractors to check the actual layout and conditions of the as-built services, such as air conditioning duct,  water pipes and electrical trays located in the ceiling space. This information is usually captured in different 2D drawings,and the accuracy of the information needs to be verified on-site as any difference could potentially impact the requirements for A&A works.


The conventional method to check the as-built services concealed in the ceiling space requires the following steps:

1. Workers use height access equipment that is most suited to the ceiling height. The supervisor or engineer could be present to ensure safety and provide instructions. 

2. Workers would open up a hole in the ceiling. The complexity of this task would differ depending on the ceiling type, for example, gypsum ceiling boards and plasterboards.

3. Either the worker, supervisor or engineer would visually inspect the ceiling, record the details, and even take pictures for reference. Sometimes, there is a need to climb into the ceiling space for closer inspection. 

4. The ceiling would need to be restored to its original condition.  


Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) technology has been tested to improve step 3. However, significant manpower and time are still being exhausted to perform steps 1, 2 and 4.

Opportunities and Key Challenges

An inspection technology that can capture information on the layout of as-built services with minimal destructive interventions performed to the ceiling would save time and manpower, and improve safety. 


The following are the requirements for the solution to be useful:

  • Accurately portray the position and the size of the as-built services;

  • Capture features (for example, material type) that can help to distinguish between different as-built services;

  • Identify useful fixtures or fittings (such as valves); and  

  • Complete the scanning and image capturing in an equal or shorter time than the conventional method.

The proposed solution should consider how the inspection would be done at height and over a large area with minimal manpower. Any data captured would also need to be organised and referenced to the location. 


It is also desirable that the information gathered can support the conversion to a Building Information Modeling (BIM) knowledge base. 

Expected Outcomes

The solution provides a way to gather details on the layout of as-built services located in the ceiling space while minimising the need to open up the ceiling and disruption to the room occupants. 

The solution reduces the time needed to check the as-built services and potentially allows the task to be executed with just one person.