Date of Award

Spring 2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering

First Advisor

Bai, Yong

Second Advisor

Huang, Qindan

Third Advisor

Chen, Keke


The taller the building the higher the risk caused by pieces breaking off from the building façade. 13 major cities in the USA have regulations that mandate building façade inspected by a certified professional as per regulations imposed by local authority. Conventional ways of inspecting build facades are manual contact methods where a certified professional inspects the building façade with the help of scaffolding, mobile cranes, or monorails. Visual inspections with contact methods face several challenges, including poor safety, productivity, and reliability. The results of visual inspection can be reliable when dealing with small structures with easily visible parts, but it is not easy for an inspector to analyze high-rise buildings or assess anomalies that are in a deeper location without proper means of access and with unfavorable weather conditions. In addition, the visible inspection depends on the experience of the surveyor alone, making the process subjective, human-dependent, time-consuming, and having low accuracy in the measurement of the defects in certain situations. Workers have sustained injuries and even lost lives while accessing the façade faces of high-rise buildings. Very little research has been done to develop new technologies to address challenges for the building façade inspections. This research aims to gauge if Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAV) is the answer to this challenge of the high-rise building façade inspection. With the help of the National Science Foundation (NSF) - I Corp grant, data from 174 interviewees are collected and analyzed to establish the need for UAVs for the building façade inspection. Further, the results of this research demonstrate the possible solution to minimize the risk due to the collision of UAVs while doing a building façade inspection. The demonstration is done to prove that if there is an automated path that could avoid obstacles, using drone commercially is safe for the public The success of this research helps pave the pathway to commercialize UAVs for the application of the building façade inspection.

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Engineering Commons