An Ontology Towards BIM-based Guidance of Building Façade Maintenance

Zhuoya Shi, Semiha Ergan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


To ensure public safety, major cities in the U.S. have façade ordinances that require periodic façade inspections and reporting of façade conditions. Our shadowing works show that the current inspection processes are based on inspectors' experience rather than systematic inspection guidance. Besides, façade inspectors have different preferences to group their inspection findings (e.g., grouping inspection results based on a defect type or façade component), resulting in a need to provide flexibility to inspectors to organize façade inspection results based on their preferences. Building Information Modelling (BIM), with the ability to support storage, extraction, and exchange of facility information, can help with a systematic and comprehensive inspection of façades and store and exchange the façade inspection results with the third parties. To enable model-based guidance for a comprehensive inspection of any given building and to bring flexibility to restructuring the model and inspection data based on inspector preferences, an essential step is to define information requirements and develop a generic data representation for façade inspection. We have identified a generic taxonomy of façade components, defect types, defect attributes, and the relationships among the identified elements to enable comprehensive façade inspection guidance and flexible restructuring of the inspection findings. This paper provides the details of data exchange requirements and the initial ontology for a model-based façade inspection process. The ontology builds on the Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) specification and extends it to include entities, attributes, and property sets required for model-based façade inspection. This work provides the underlying data representation requirements for supporting the reasoning mechanisms that take a model as an input, generate a comprehensive checklist for inspection, and enable grouping façade elements flexibly based on inspector preferences for inspection data storage and visualization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 38th International Symposium on Automation and Robotics in Construction, ISARC 2021
EditorsChen Feng, Thomas Linner, Ioannis Brilakis
PublisherInternational Association for Automation and Robotics in Construction (IAARC)
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9789526952413
StatePublished - 2021
Event38th International Symposium on Automation and Robotics in Construction, ISARC 2021 - Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Duration: Nov 2 2021Nov 4 2021

Publication series

NameProceedings of the International Symposium on Automation and Robotics in Construction
ISSN (Electronic)2413-5844


Conference38th International Symposium on Automation and Robotics in Construction, ISARC 2021
Country/TerritoryUnited Arab Emirates


  • Building Information Modelling (BIM)
  • Façade Inspection
  • Industry Foundation Classes (IFC)
  • Ontology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Building and Construction
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Computer Science Applications


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