Visual Information Technology in Surveying and Engineering Industries – Part 2

The coronavirus pandemic has affected most of the people around the world. After one year of affection, people started to change their work habits and business model in order to suit this unexpected situation. Work from home(WFH) become the most common arrangement for millions, increasing numbers of people had been saying goodbye to their office. Thanks to communication technologies like skype, Facetime, Slack, Zoom, Google Hangouts and etc; people can still connect and communicate with each other. However, for surveying and engineering industry, inspection or measurement are still necessary work on site. Today we are going to look through how technology may help our architects, engineers, surveyors and all stakeholders to inspect and work throughout the visual information.

Brief History of 360 Panorama

Virtual reality, aerial panorama and 360 panorama are great technologies to use for providing information to all stakeholders. In 1826, Joseph Nicéphore Nièpce invented photography; he took the first photo in the world for more realistic visual information.

 

Credit: https://www.bygonely.com/bg_item/photography-1793-by-joseph-nicephore-niepce/

After the photography was invented, the first panoramic photo camera has invented since 1843. Here is the vintage panoramic photo taken by George Barnard in 1864 which can show clearly and more information throughout the photo.

 

 

Credit: https://www.loc.gov/resource/pan.6a00039

Evolution of Action Camera

Thanks for the technology so far, action camera can take panoramic photo in one single shot. The first GoPro camera was launched commercially in 2004.

 

 

Credit: https://media.techeblog.com/images/first-gopro-camera.jpg

With GoPro evolution, action camera is a suitable camera in all extreme condition which is the best tool for inspection. However, for either filmmaking or inspection; more visual information which help the editors or inspectors easier to get the information. Therefore, people use the action camera for 360 films or 360 photos

 

Evolution of GoPro Action Camera

Credit: https://cheesycam.com/first-problems-with-gopro-hero4-4k-camera-dangerous-battery/gopro-evolution-original-hero-hero2-hero3-hero3-plus-hero4-4k/

GoPro Omni 360

Credit: https://vrscout.com/news/gopro-360-omni-camera-rig-on-sale/

 

From Action Camera to 360 Camera

As the spherical 360 panoramas taken from the GoPro device above still need to use the software to align and edit. It is such a time consuming work flow and not easy for normal people. Luckily, Ricoh has latched their first 360 camera which is the world’s first commercially available spherical camera. This camera become the best tool for inspection which is easy to use and edit in order to get the information.

 

 

Credit: https://theta360.com/en/

Ricoh Theta Sample Photo

 

GBE used both Mi sphere and Insta 360 One X as our inspection tools for visual inspection which the 360 camera helps all stakeholder easy to review the footage and capture the information throughout the image. Here is our first YouTube clip for using 360 camera in our inspection project which give a brief idea of how 360 camera can provide information.

MI Sphere Camera

Credit: https://qwertyarticles.com/2018/06/30/the-world-seen-from-360-degrees-a-mi-sphere-camera-review/

 

Insta 360 One X

Credit: https://www.insta360.com/hk/product/insta360-onex

Visual Information from 360 Camera

By using the software provided by 360 camera manufacturer, the stakeholder can easily capture and collect information from the footage which can easily work remotely and share information to collaborate with others in every project. Here are the sample of the GBE project for you guys to have some idea how the picture can be capture through the software.

 

Here are other sample photos captured from Insta 360 One X

 

In next chapter, we will go through the 3D virtual space by using the latest technology and 360 camera in our industry for visual information.

Visual Information Technology in Surveying and Engineering Industries – Part 1

Visual information is always the most direct way for human beings to understand and explore the world. In the past, human beings used drawings for recording history and details. All this visual information can help people nowadays to understand the information and imagine the visual world.

Image is one of the most important records in both surveying and engineering which used for monitoring the progress and review the findings throughout site inspection. More photo records which will help to indicate more details refer to the drawings. Therefore, a good practice of site inspection; photos taking is always a key factor which may affect the progress and follow up actions for all projects.

Importance of Visual Information

According to “YourStory”, humans are wired to respond to visuals more than just text. As visual content is easier to consume and digest.

  • Around 50-80 percent of the human brain is dedicated to visual processing such as vision, visual memory, colours, shapes, movement, patterns, spatial awareness, and image recollection. (Reports The Wiley Network)
  • Visuals with colour increase people’s willingness to read a piece of content by 80 percent. (Reports – Saurage Research)
  • If you hear a piece of information, you might remember only 10 percent of it. Adding a picture to that results in a rise of recall up to 65 percent. (Source – Brainrules.net)
  • Posts inclusive of images produce 650 percent higher engagement than text-only posts. (Source – Pinterest)
  • It takes only 150 milliseconds for us to a process and image, and then another 100 milliseconds for us to attach any meaning to it. (Reports – Canva)
  • People following directions with text and illustrations do 323 percent better than people following directions without illustrations. (Source – Pinterest)

Credit: https://yourstory.com/2018/04/scientific-reasons-visual-marketing?utm_pageloadtype=scroll

Credit: http://www.iscribblers.com/infographics/5-scientific-reasons-people-are-wired-to-respond-to-visual-marketing/

From Drawings to Photography

As visual information is so important for humans in learning process. Our ancient used drawings to record the history since stone age which helps us to understand the past.

Credit: https://vestnikkavkaza.net/upload2/2017-01-13/180b9ee15b8c4384cd6b36e2cd51c377.jpg

Panoramic drawings become more popular which gave people a great impression for easier understand the information that painter want to deliver. Famous panoramic drawings can be found worldwide, such as “Along The River During the Qingming Festival” (China), Barker’s London panorama of 1792, from the top of the Albion Mills (UK).

Credit: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d9/Panorama_of_London_Barker.jpg

Credit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mwMwDYEfMy0&feature=youtu.be

Drawing is a good source of visual information that can record the moment and reflect the details; however, drawings completion may lead a long time to complete and all details are from painters’ memory only.

Photo is another good source for recording and faster in the workflow. Photography technology and also computer software have been developed into a next-generation which help all stakeholders to study and learn deeply with site situation. Location, time, measurement information are also be able to capture by today’s technology.

In the past, film cameras are used for photo taking which will be limited due to cost and photography skills by the site staff. Most photos taking will be either whole shot and defects, not enough details can be shown in those photos.  Since photography technology has been improved a lot, the digital camera has taken the industry practice to the next generation. In the same situation with drawings, people always want to take more details in one shot in order to show more information and surrounding.

A panoramic view of the construction of the ESO Supernova Planetarium & Visitor Centre.

Credit: Architekten Bernhardt + Partner (www.bp-da.de)

With the aid of technology, split-screen panoramic photo comparison enables remote stakeholders to check and communicate with each other remotely in the same platform. Such technology can resolve conflicts and misunderstandings during the construction process. Those photo records can also be stored for facilities management to use for repair and maintenance purposes.

In the next chapter, we will go through more new technologies to show how the new cameras can help in site inspection and measurement.

 

 

“Common Staircase” shared by adjoining lot in Hong Kong

The leftover structure coming from rapid Urban redevelopment in Hong Kong

In the urban development , the land was delineated by “Block” and was subsequently craved or partitioned in a different section and eventually further craved into different sub-section. It resulted a lot of common boundary to each piece of lands adjoining to each other.

 

The common boundary bought in the typical implication of “party wall” and “common staircase”. There was a blog written by GBE about “party wall”. The reader is welcome to comment. “Common staircase” is what this article goes deep.

 

The main staircase of the building became as “common” because it was commonly shared between two pieces of land. The common staircase was jointly owned for the enjoyment of the entire building. Since it was common to two adjoining pieces of land, it naturally positioned at the boundary line. It was not a must but naturally came up in the middle between two lots.

Redevelopment and remaining common staircase

With the re-development took place in one piece of land, the adjoining land where the original main building sitting on was necessitated to maintain the common staircase for access. This came up the situation alike to the “Party wall” where the common staircase needs to be retained and still occupy land and space on the land going to be redeveloped.

 

The first and immediate concern is obviously the common staircase is an enclosed space and fall into the definition of GFA. Nevertheless, this common staircase is nothing helpful and undesirable to new development. To cope with this, the above-extracted part plan has illustrated the example of how the PNAP ADM -2 resolves the GFA problem. In short , the entire footprint of the common staircase be deductible from the GFA calculation. According to PNAP ADM-2 from the Buildings Department, the existing common staircase for an old building can be excluded from site coverage and plot ratio calculation.

 

Case Study in two adjoining Urban buildings

Building “A” was redeveloped in 1992. The landlord was obligated to leave the common staircase un-touched and exempted its footprint from accountable GFA. Building “B” was subsequently redeveloped in 2008, but the redevelopment of Building B has demolished partly the “common staircase” sitting on the respective piece of land.

Ground Floor Plan of Building A (showing the Location of Common staircase with Building B)

 

 

GFA Calculation of Building A

 

Ground Floor Plan of Building B (showing the Location of Common staircase with Building A)

 

 

Site Area Calculation in Building B

Another example showing the common staircase issue

Building “C” was redeveloped in 2004, while Building D was redeveloped in 1994. Building “C” and Building “D” retained the common staircase after both redevelopments.

Ground Floor Plan of “Building C”

Ground Floor Plan of “Building D”

Funny interesting maintenance issue

The interesting things come up is that building A which developed earlier than Building B was containing the old “common staircase” . This old left-over common staircase in Building “A” was not GFA counted by the time of redevelopment. The owner of Building A is caught in dilemma. The site where building A sitting on has fully exploited its GFA potential by the time of its redevelopment in 1992. It is now found no surplus GFA be able to assign to this leftover physical ” common staircase” space in the hope to light up again the space utilisation, particularly valuable in highly urbanised city area. The landlord of building A is naturally no incentive to maintain nor convert this common staircase to other proper usage. The only value is the external wall of the left-over common staircase which was being poised for signage in Building “A” (as shown on the photo below. Obviously, the author is wondering the maintenance liability to the grandfather jointly owned structure , i.e Common staircase

 

Part 2 : Coating materials for Aluminium cladding – Misery of “Self-cleaning”

Following with our part 1 discussion, we now share another hot topic about coating applied on the aluminium. “Self-cleaning” is indeed a merchants’ name . The behind sciences are varying from among different manufacturer. We have conducted some comparison among different materials being applied to the cladding surface.

Theory of “Self-cleaning”

Self-cleaning : Hydrophilic approach 

In short, there are a few theories behind the “self-cleaning” . One typical approach is to create the surface which reduce the water surface tension. When the water droplet lands on the surface, the water droplet has formed an wetting angle to the surface of cladding. The stronger the water tension, the more acute the wetting angle is. The below diagram explains the wetting angle and how it carries the dirt / stain / attachment on the surface. Different manufacturer has formulated different chemical materials to reduce the water tension and flatten the wetting angle. The water is to carry and flush away the dirt. The most typical chemical approach is to create the coating surface which offer better hydrophilic (hydrophilic is origin from latin word, the word philic means love).

 

 

Self-cleaning : Photo-catalytic Oxidation 

Another theory is by “Photo-catalytic Oxidation” . We are not Chemist and cannot cite the theory . Nevertheless, we found one extract from “Chemosphere 193( 2018-198-206)” ,  there explains the “photo-catalytic oxidation” with the below graphic. In short, it is the oxidation process to the VOCs by UV and Photon. This is again alleged by many peers as ” self – cleaning” , but obviously the theory is very different from “hydrophilic approach”

Self-cleaning : Hydrophilic approach

To the contrary of “Hydrophilic” , some manufacturer applied the opposite ; hydrophobic approach. The theory behind is to keep the strong water tension of the droplet and let the droplet to “PICK” the dirt away. From our very preliminary scanning , this technique was more relying on the water – repellent nature ,

Product in the market : – 

We have encountered different approaches in the market. All suggest their “self-cleaning” properties. We try to cite some examples to illustrate different theory behind . We are not in the position to comment each performance and indeed it is difficult to do comparison. We hope this articles can offer some ideas for future research

Kansai Paint : 

One of the product is made by Kasiai, we were given the understanding that the materials is silicon-based modified resin materials with their own additive untold to the public. This is to create the “Hydrophilic” by flush and deliver the dirt.

 

 

Hydrotech from TOTO

Hydrotect is the tradename by TOTO. We extract their self-allegation from their official website. In short, they claimed their coating technique is photocatalytic which is to OXIDE the VOCs in the air. Their website further suggests this “Hydrotect” can offer the hydrophilic surface to flush the dirt

XX Sheet film paper 

A manufacturer , named to be untold here, claimed that there film sheeting offer the self-cleaning. We cannot identify their theory online. Nevertheless, we did a quick water spray test on the surface. We noticed that the water droplet kept intact on the surface and did not appear wetting pattern which is for flushing the surface.  From the picture below, the water – droplet keeps visually keeps the sharp and the droplet drip pattern is in the form of line.

 

 

Fire Safety in Commercial Premises

Fire safety can be regarded as one of the primary considerations in building designs. The terms of fire safety cover a wide range of building concepts, ordinances, and regulations under the law. When we consider the fire safety works in banks, the concept of Fire Safety (Commercial Premises) Ordinance should not be omitted. The introduction of FS(CP)O is one of the ordinances which aims to provide better protection to the occupants and visitors on certain kinds of commercial premises.

Prescribed commercial premises and specified commercial buildings are under the scope of the ordinance.  For the captioned the premise, they are required to update that fire safety construction including means of escape, means of access, fire-resisting construction under the Code of Practice for the Provision of Means of Escape in Case of Fire 1996, Code of Practice for Fire Resisting Construction 1996, Code of Practice for the Provision of Means of Access for Firefighting and Rescue 1995 respectively. Also, the premises required to update fire services installation following Codes of Practice for Minimum Fire Service Installations and Equipment and Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Installations and Equipment 1994 when the total floor area exceeds 230 square meters.

As a building professional to cope with the above issue, a desktop study needs to be conducted first. It is essential to calculate the number/width of the exit door and exit route following the purposed usage of the premises. The comparison of the recorded plan and Fire Safety (Commercial Premises) Ordinance may draw attention to the fire safety deficiencies. The site visit is followed to identify the deficiencies. fire services system always associates with water supplies and electricity. For the aged building, some non-emergency services like electricity will be located in the exit route. However, those non-emergency services did not enclose by FRR materials. It may post a potential fire hazard. Insufficient width of the MOE route, insufficient number of exit routes to the required staircase, presence of the fire shutter in the exit route, absence of exit sign, absence of the exit door, etc are the common scenario for the aged commercial premises to deal with the ordinance. The reasons for the above deficiency can be caused by certain reasons including the change in use, the absence of the fire safety ordinance during the construction period, and unauthorized building works by the owners.

Part 1 : Coating materials for Aluminium cladding – Non-Combustibility

From natural anodisation technique to PVF2 coating technique , the aluminium finishing coating has undergone a lot of revolutionary advancement. In recent years, there came with the discussion about “Self-cleaning” of the aluminium coating surface. This is about the coating materials which gives effect to flush its’ surface every time in raining. “Self-cleaning” is indeed a merchants’ name . The behind sciences are varying from among different manufacturer.I have conducted some comparison among some cladding’s surfaces being applied to different “treatment” allegedly claim the self-cleaning properties.  In my small research , some coatings are sheet- applied on the surface of anodised aluminium cladding. Unfortunately, my research (limited online data searching) cannot conclude sheeting-applied one was made up compilable to the Section E clause 10.1 of FS code or as per the BS476 -part 4. Well, many peers have messed up the concept of BS476 – PART 6 / PART 7 which is about spread of fire to BS476 – part 4 which is non-combustibility .

 

There are some testing to confirm “non-combustibility”. The FS code of Hong Kong does a job to cite a reference table E1 to facilitate the conversion between BS and European standard . There are many building in Hong Kong are cladded with aluminium-panel externally , but the lack of attention is paid to its “non-combustibility” requirement. Example like “self-cleaning” sheet lining or coating or spray-paint applied materials and even the fire – ratardard which are applied on external architectural features. The add-on materials on top of the aluminium are sometimes commercially attractive in term of ease of application and its price but to the sacrifice of fire safety.

Fire accident in Grefell Tower, London

Photo : Wing On building in Sheung Wan was reported to have cladded with non-combustible cladding. Source from ejinsight on the pulse ( http://www.ejinsight.com)

In my next blog , I shall explain in details the “self-cleaning” being applied in aluminium cladding.

 

Boundaryless collaboration to turn state-of-art Architecture design into “down-to-earth” reality solution

In a highly congested urban context, how can a building stand out from the backdrop and become memorable ? There are strategies such as a practical internal layout, modern interior design and impressive building facade. Since buildings are usually arrayed in highly dense urban areas, the building facade becomes the first impression and first touch in many metropolitan cities. To create a distinct impression in international city likes Hong Kong, the architectural design created by powerful multi-cultural collaboration is the bespoke element underpinning the design solution.  

It is to the benefit of future users, landlords and every stake-holder of the development when the building is positioned and presented in the right site, right angle, right context and right location. To gear the architectural design toward practicality rich solutions, a down-to-earth technical analysis becomes profoundly important. K.P.D.O + GBE like many leading edge internationally award-accredited architects, believes a good balance of design, usage, layout, cost, and site features are essential to the development.

Grateful and thankful to collaborate, rather than presenting a simple yield diagram, K.P.D.O.+GBE. presented an aspirational solution showing the full site potential. K.P.D.O+GBE has analysed the details, negated technical deal breakers and prepared a sensible and approvable layout for the future user’s consideration. The turn-around for these are 6 days only. This assignment showcases and highlights our strong ability to find additional value whilst producing distinctive and memorable architecture.

 

“Loose of Neutral” in Electrical Circuit in traditional expensive residential apartment

The night scene of Hong Kong is always representing the prosperity and the stunning pictorial attraction for many people . The backdrop of the night scenery is the densely packed high-rise buildings being lit up.

With the air-conditioning became introduced in Hong Kong , some traditional luxury residential development was designed with 3 phases supply to cope with the loading consumption

Effect of Neutral Loss and Over-heat

The 3-phased live wiring is pairing with the neutral wire. The power runs into your apartment through “live” and return through “neutral . There is a defect called “nentral loose” which means the neutral wire loose contact or in bad connection. If there is “neutral loose” , that may be caused by various reasons, there will be abnormal arcing around the point of connection, a flash phenomena or spake fire will be occurred from time to time to heat up the already loose connection point and adversely causing unpredictable loading of electric current passing through the entire circuit. This circuit connects the load side appliance such as air-conditioners, the electronic parts or protection fuses of these electrical appliances may be damaged.

Inspection by Infra-red scanning and WR 2 checking

Unfortunately, it was not always detectable the abnormal heat up around the connection point . I prefer to adopt the infrared thermography scanning technique in my project or my inspection. However, the electrician today prefer to do by visual inspection which in my view may be subjective in some occasion. Our in-house infra-red is E4 model from FLIR. This is not the latest model, but still fit to our general routine checking.

 

 

 

Acoustic performance in Curtain Wall

Curtain wall system is such a complex external envelope of the building . It is more than an enclosure but also to serve to reduce heat gain and sound proof. The evaluation of  heat gain is commonly considered by the amount thermal transfer in the energy unit. Nevertheless , lesser attention is given to the acoustic consideration . Thank to my friend Dr Man and our peers Lixil who shares me one table. The airborne acoustic reduction is considered by STC value which varies as per the glass panes composition and thickness of glass. STC is to measure the degree of decibel reduction. The reduction is further related to the hertz of sound transmission. For easy communication , each composition of glass panes will be assigned the STC value. The interesting observation is that the “laminated glass” is achieving similar STC value compared to similar glass panes thickness of “insulating glass unit”. Furthermore , A 12mm thick single panes can achieve similar STC value to 6+12+6 insulating glass unit. Indeed, there are more consideration to the curtain wall acoustic including the impact-borne sound transmission caused by impact to the mullion or transom . Sometimes, the provision of the noise barrier or the provision of the balcony projecting out from the external facade can help to reflect the unwanted sound such as traffic away.

 

Protect your roofing membrane

When I was a boy, I saw the construction worker at roof heating up the Asphalt block with very bad odour smell. Bituminous asphalt were usually applied in liquid form in row by row with some over-lapping at even interval spacing. Although this materials are proven to be very weather resistance and durable once after curing and set, it is not encouraged to use in new works as per the General Specification (ASD) Clause 12.50. With the advancement of technology , there are now coming with various type of ready-applied roofing felt and some type are even in spraying form.

Nevertheless, the typical defects like blistering of membrane, sagging of membrane, incorrect surface water fall , poor outlet details , lack of backing rod for sealant in expansion, add-on structure impairing the roofing are still prevailing. These are attributed to the poor workmanship, lack of inspection and inadequate design details consideration. Indeed, even though the defects exists , it does not mean we have to end the life of roofing by complete re-roofing. A more sensible way is to carry regular inspection and maintenance than to leave the roof undue long time unattended.