Characterizing building materials using multispectral imagery and LiDAR intensity data

Zohreh Zahiri, Debra F. Laefer, Aoife Gowen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper addresses the underlying bottleneck of unknown materials and material characteristics for assessing the life cycle of an existing structure or considering interventions. This is done by classifying and characterizing common building materials with two readily accessible, remote sensing technologies: multispectral imaging and Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR). A total of 142 samples, including concrete of 3 different water/cement ratios, 2 mortar types, and 2 brick types (each type fired at 3 different temperatures) were scanned using a 5-band multispectral camera in the visible, RedEdge, and Near Infrared range and 2 laser scanners with different wavelengths. A Partial Least Squares Discriminant Analysis model was developed to classify the main materials and then the subcategories within each material type. With multispectral data, an 82.75% average correct classification rate was achieved (improving to 83.07% when combined with LiDAR intensity data), but the effect was not uniformly positive. This paper demonstrates the potential to identify building materials in a non-destructive, non-contact manner to aid in in-situ facade material labelling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102603
JournalJournal of Building Engineering
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Building materials
  • Classification
  • Façades
  • Laser scanning
  • Multispectral

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Architecture
  • Building and Construction
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Mechanics of Materials


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