Volume 51, Issue 2 - February 2016


ASTM Standards Address Façade Inspections, Drones

A number of ASTM International groups have been busy with the development of several documents. These include new standards related to façades and building systems, as well as a proposed guide that seeks to standardize how drones are used for façade inspections.

The first, E3036, Guide for Notating Façade Conditions in the Field, will provide engineers and architects a common way to use and understand symbols, according to ASTM member Michael Petermann, a principal at Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates.

“This standard will be particularly useful to building owners who maintain a database on the conditions of their façade,” says Petermann. “As periodic inspections occur, they can perform side-by-side comparisons of databases and drawings to confirm if conditions have worsened. With the standard, they won’t waste time translating between notation systems of different firms.”

In the U.S., nine cities require periodic façade inspections to uncover unsafe conditions and prevent collapse in about 18,000 buildings, according to ASTM.

A second standard, developed by the task group on façade inspections, is titled “Guide for Visual Inspection of Building Façades Using Drones” (WK52572). The task group is addressing the growing need for camera-equipped drones to document façade conditions through video and still photography.

“This proposed standard will
improve the quality of inspections by allowing drones with high-quality cameras to provide close-up views of parts of façades that can’t otherwise be seen,” says Petermann.

Once approved, the standard will likely include general guidance for safety, a protocol for video-scanning façades, storage of scan results for future use, etc.

The group also published a new standard to help identify and classify building systems, components, sub-components and their attributes. E3035, Classification for Facility Asset Component Tracking System (FACTS), will optimize how assets and their associated functions and attributes are identified, tracked and used in modern buildings.

“The new standard drills deep enough to align the product, building system, attributes and life cycle to meet the varying needs of new technologies,” says ASTM member William H. Hunt, chief estimator, Office of Project Delivery, Public Buildings Service, U.S. General Services Administration. “No other classification system can do all this at once.” Hunt says that the standard encompasses building information modeling, smart buildings, computerized maintenance management, facility asset management processes and project controls systems.

According to Hunt, E3035 will lead to more effective management of each asset in a facility. The standard links functions, attributes, activities and personnel throughout the asset’s life cycle.

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