JTC industrial building facade inspection with drone

FQA for Periodic Facade Inspection (PFI) Scheme

PERIODIC FAÇADE INSPECTION (PFI)

With 90 cases of falling façades within 3 years, Periodic Façade Inspection (PFI) became a requirement by law in Singpaore. This regime will apply to all buildings (excluding private landed houses and temporary buildings) that are at least 13m in height, more than 20 years of age at 7 yearly intervals. At Operva AI, our façade team comprises of qualified Unmanned Aircraft Pilots, Rope Access Technicians, Certified Thermographers and Professional Engineers. We provide a one-stop solution for a complete façade inspection.

We prepared some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for you to better understand this subject.

What is the purpose of inspecting the facade of buildings periodically?

As buildings age, their façades experience wear and tear. To improve public safety, a façade inspection regime will detect deteriorating façade materials and its connections early, and allow the Owner to carry out repairs before it fails.

What do I need to do when I receive the Periodic Facade Inspection (PFI) Notice?

BCA will serve Owners with a Notice of Inspection when the building is due for Periodic Facade Inspection (PFI).

You can play your part by:

Appointing a Competent Person promptly. The Competent Person can be either a Professional Engineer (PE) or Registered Architect (RA);

Providing access to perimeter of the building to be inspected by your Competent Person;

Providing the necessary access system such as suspended working platform/gondola, mobile elevating work platform or scaffold or a combination of these to carry out the close-range facade inspection;

Providing a set of approved plans and façade drawings;

Providing information on the maintenance and history of the building, particularly if façade repair work histories had been carried out and its locations, i.e. water ingress, etc.;

Providing previous periodic inspection reports (if available) for reference;

Carrying out rectification works and/or monitoring of defects highlighted by your Competent Person promptly;

Maintaining your building façade in good condition at all times.

HDB birds'​ eye view periodic facade inspection

How often do I need to carry out Periodic Façade Inspection (PFI) of my building?

PFI regime will apply to all buildings over 13 metres in height and more than 20 years old on 2H2021 at 7-yearly intervals.

Nevertheless, this does not mean that you should inspect your building only when required to do so. As and when defects or deterioration are detected, you should engage a Competent Person to investigate, propose remedial measures and certify the completion of the rectification work.

Are As-Built Façade Plans and Façade drawings needed?

Yes. They are needed by us to assess the original design before we can properly plan our inspection.

Can Operva AI purchase a set of my building’s building plans on my behalf for the purpose of Periodic Façade Inspection (PFI)?

Yes, Operva AI works closely with Competent Person (CP), who can make an application on your behalf.

As we would need to attach the Documentary Proof of Ownership of property (latest property tax bill, Title Deed or Notice of Transfer) when making the application, please provide us with the documents via email hello@operva.ai.

What does the Periodic Façade Inspection (PFI) process involve?

Under BCA Regulations, PFI may differ slightly from building to building, and would likely involve the following:

Visual inspection of the condition of the entire (100%) building façade elements from ground level or other available vantage points and openings, which may be done using naked eye or tools like binoculars, camera, infra-red scanning technology or drone technology;

Detect dilapidation and displacement of façade elements;

Minimum of 10% close-range inspection to be carried out for each building face (elevation);

Inspection may include localised removal of façade elements or panels for inspections and material testing to ascertain the deterioration level and/or integrity of the façade elements, if required;

Determination of whether defects or deterioration in façade elements or panels are of any concern;

Recommendation of remedial measures to be carried out

For a building with widespread defects observed, the Competent Person may recommend a full facade investigation of localised areas or the whole building for BCA’s consideration and approval prior to the investigation.

What does a full façade investigation of Periodic Façade Inspection (PFI) involve?

For a building with widespread defects observed, the Competent Person may recommend a full facade investigation of localised areas or the whole building for BCA’s consideration and approval prior to the investigation.

Full investigation generally involves:

Additional locations for the additional close-range inspections;

Any on-site and/or laboratory tests will be carried out to verify the façade condition, strength of the façade materials and extent of the defects, if deemed necessary;

Exposing concealed façade elements (e.g. brackets for curtain wall system), or the removing façade panels to assess the condition of the panels, will be based on Competent Person’s professional judgement.

Recommending any repairs to be carried out in order to restore the integrity of the building façades.

Where the repair involves any structural elements or works, the structural plan approval and permit to commence works are to be obtained prior to commencing the repairs, if applicable. A Professional Engineer (PE), if the Competent Person is not a PE, shall be engaged for this purpose.

How long will the Periodic Façade Inspection take?

Depends. There are many factors that will affect the inspection eg.

extent of defects observed

weather;

mode of accessing the façade;

surface area of façade; and

height of building.

What arrangement should be made before the Periodic Façade Inspection?

Please inform your tenants about the dates of Periodic Façade Inspection.

Please notify us if you have any outdoor assess to your façade.

If only some part of my building façade had been refurbished recently, do I need to carry out Periodic Facade Inspection (PFI)?

Yes, if only some parts of the façade are refurbished, the building is still required to carry out PFI according to the building age.

What happens after Competent Person submits the inspection report?

BCA will vet through the report and may seek clarification from the Competent Person with regards to the contents of the report.

The Competent Person is required to respond to clarifications and, where the situation warrants, BCA may also conduct a joint site inspection of the building with the Professional Engineer and/or require the Competent Person to conduct a presentation to BCA.

Upon the acceptance of the report, BCA will write to the Owner to follow up with the recommendations of the Competent Person on the defects detected.

You should carry out the remedial works promptly to prevent further deterioration of the building and thereafter submit the Competent Person’s certification on the completion of the remedial works, where applicable.

Find out more on https://operva.ai/drone-service/pfi/

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