Systematic approach for large-scale, rapid, dilapidation surveys of historic masonry buildings

Julie A. Clarke, Debra F. Laefer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Dilapidation surveys may require extensive resources to achieve detailed accounts of damage for intervention purposes or may involve only limited resources but be restricted to an extremely rapid assessment (e.g., post-earthquake, life-safety inspection). Neither provides a holistic, cost-effective approach for evaluating the general health of a large number of structures, as is needed for urban planning, historic designation determination, and risk assessment due to adjacent construction work. To overcome this limitation, index images are introduced for a systematic approach for rapidly conducting large-scale, dilapidation surveys of historic masonry buildings. This method, the University College Dublin Inspection Method (UCDIM), is tested against both a detailed inspection and an alternative rapid approach to determine accuracy and resource intensiveness through its application by three inspectors of various levels of experience to six buildings in the city centre of Dublin, Ireland. The UCDIM provided a damage ranking of ρ = 0.94 for all inspectors, regardless of experience, except when painted or rendered facades were included. The UCDIM, compared with detailed inspection, provided a high level of reliability, cost-savings of approximately 90% and several months of time savings since interior access was not required.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)290-310
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Architectural Heritage
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 4 2014


  • assessment
  • buildings
  • condition
  • dilapidation
  • historic
  • masonry
  • planning
  • risk
  • survey
  • urban

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Conservation
  • Architecture
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts


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