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Case Study

Wireless Sensors Protect Heritage Buildings

Sensors embedded in masonry monitor for degradation of Parliament buildings

Monitoring the structural health of buildings is essential to preserving our iconic and historic infrastructure. However, these buildings are difficult to monitor for moisture- and temperature-related degradation given strict guidelines regarding the preservation of exterior structures.

SMT Research, a company providing analysis and monitoring tools, in partnership with researchers at University of Manitoba, developed and commercialized an improved wireless sensor capable of detecting moisture levels in concrete. The sensors are embedded into stone-anchor assemblies of heritage structures and provide a non-obtrusive solution to detect moisture. The data collected helps determine overall building integrity to sustain building health.

“With support from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), SMT was able to pursue the needed research to commercialize a new sensing technology allowing us to immediately capitalize on a high profile opportunity. The success of this project with the University of Manitoba opened up new opportunities for SMT as we are now able to record vital information about masonry structures giving us the tools to maintain and preserve our heritage buildings,” says Gamal Mustapha, VP Program Management, SMT.

Working in concert, the team developed these new smart sensors to achieve more accurate monitoring techniques that enable earlier and more reliable diagnosis of moisture-driven structure deterioration. The sensors are now being installed in the Canada East Block Parliament Building.

“I would recommend any company interested in being technology leaders in their industry to engage their local academic institutions and investigate the possibilities of collaborating with them through NSERC initiatives,” added Mr. Mustapha.

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