Adelaide’s fire audit fast-tracked with mobile survey platform

By on 1 November, 2017

Grenfell Tower, West London. Photo by ChiralJon via Flickr.

Following the horrific Grenfell tower block fire in London, SA minister John Rau ordered an urgent audit of Adelaide’s structures.

The City of Adelaide needed to immediately implement an audit of its buildings to identify those that potentially contained aluminium composite (ACP) exterior cladding, a type of which contributed heavily to the ferocity of the Grenfell blaze, and was present in an apartment block that caught fire in Melbourne’s Docklands in 2014.

With over 4,500 buildings within its municipal boundaries, the City of Adelaide turned to a mobile survey platform to respond to the directive as rapidly as possible.

The Spatial Planning and Heritage team trialled Esri Australia’s Survey 123 platform to build a lightweight Android app on a very short timeline, and allowed inspectors to share results in real time. This replaced a traditional process that involved creating GIS maps containing all relevant information, such as building footprint, street names and numbering; manual data entry via laptop or pen and paper, manual collation in Excel and manual verification against the Land Information System.

Image provided by Esri Australia.

The initial audit was designed to identify buildings that potentially contained ACP via a visual inspection, with those slated for further testing required to undergo a more thorough process that involves burning a sample of the suspect cladding, according to a City of Adelaide spokesperson.

The completed survey identified 77 buildings requiring further fire safety inspections in Adelaide’s CBD, 38 of which only contained isolated or very limited coverage of suspect cladding, leaving 39 buildings needing investigation for compliance against the National Construction Code and installation of appropriate fire safety measures.

The team was able to create a GIS database containing photographic evidence in four weeks, whereas a traditional process may have taken months with considerably more development effort required of the team, and the timeline bottlenecks of a linear workflow.

Survey 123 is an ArcGIS extension, an agile mobile field collection platform allowing users to design surveys and update a centralised GIS database in real time as data are collected onsite.

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