SMT Creates Data Visualization Interface for UBC Tall Wood Building

SMT has been working on a special project for the sensor installation of the UBC Brock Commons Tall Wood Building. In order to monitor vertical moisture movement, SMT had installed sensors to determine wood compression and settling, as well as the moisture performance in the prefabricated cross laminated timber panels (CLT). For this, point moisture measurement, temperature, and displacement sensors were installed in each panel during construction.


As an academic hub for students and research alongside its primary function as a student residence, we have been working on an application to let those inside study and monitor the performance and see sensors in real time. Using the Unity Game engine, the building can be virtually explored in first person where sensors can be identified. After identification, users can analyze the installed sensors in real time to see how the building is operating. The data will be graphed daily and users will have access to the sensors installed on all floors. The educational interface can be used when visiting the Brock Commons Building but can also be operated via mobile phone app. Screenshots can be found in the image slider above.


The interface created will act as a great bridge between the building and those inside to analyze and conduct research on the large scale research project.


For more information on our involvement with the Brock Commons Tallwood Building, click here.


For more information on our investigative monitoring sensors, click here.


Our products can be found here.


Have a similar project in size and scope coming up? Contact us or tweet us @smtresearch!


SMT Project Updates: SOLO District and The Amazing Brentwood

SMT is currently involved with two of the biggest developments in the Burnaby and Metro Vancouver area: the SOLO District and the Amazing Brentwood. With both developments being major zoning projects in the area, we are excited to see the final projects after completion! SMT is providing our DigiSCAN 360 Services technology to detect leaks in the membranes and to make sure the waterproofing is up to standards in the SOLO District. With a scheduled completion at the end of 2017, the development will have a total of 360 units.


For the Brentwood development, we are providing our Building Intelli systems for permanent moisture monitoring along the membranes. This is accompanied by a DigiSCAN to make sure all membranes are up to par before being covered. Since this development will cover a number of different zones including retail, entertainment, and housing, it is important to make sure all waterproofing is done correctly and that all facets of the membrane are being monitored.


At SMT we strive to give all building managers, contractors, architects, roofers, and consultants a piece of mind when it comes to the safety and quality of their building.

Have a similar project in size and scope coming up? Contact us or tweet us @smtresearch.

More information on our roofing solutions can be found here.


Cover photo courtesy of Shape Properties and Daily Hive Vancouver.


SMT Sensors Being Used to Monitor Innovative Multifunctional Wood Panels

In conjunction with FPInnovations in 2015, SMT solutions were installed in two test hut demonstration buildings to monitor the performance of the multifunctional wood panels used. With increasingly strict environmental and energy standards being put in place for up and coming developments, the panels were created to achieve both energy efficiency and structural performance standards, all while being a lower-cost option for building construction.


For this project, two exactly identical demonstration buildings were made and placed for monitoring and demonstration in Vancouver and Edmonton. This was to see their real-life applications in both cool and humid environments. SMT provided our sensor solutions to help monitor various parameters in the test hut buildings such as: moisture, temperature, humidity, and heat flux. These sensors were placed in various parts of the structure, as well as on each side of the multifunctional wood panels and walls. Humidity sensors were also placed around the structure to measure relative humidity inside and outside the house. Data collected will then be viewed and organized through our own Building Analytics system, which shows what is being collected from each sensor.


With 322 sensors installed in each test hut from various partners and companies, it’s safe to say that ample data will be collected over time to present a case for the multifunctional wood panels. Tours around the Vancouver test hut demonstration building can be arranged for those interested! To plan a visit, contact SMT or Bob Knudson at FPInnovations.


Do you have a research project coming up that could use some SMT sensors and data analytic solutions? Let us know!


For more information on our sensor solutions, click here.

If you have any questions or inquiries about the solutions we provide at SMT, contact us at or tweet us @smtresearch!


How To Keep Your Mission Critical Assets Water Free, and Avoid Thousands in Outage Costs

When it comes to your most important assets, you want to protect them to the best of your ability. At least, you should. In this case, these assets are mission critical pieces of data, stored in either a data center, a colocation center, or your own mission critical facility.


But why is it so important to monitor these assets? The answer: costs, liability, and overall, a horrible time. Since 2010, downtime costs from data center outages have risen by 38%, with the average cost of an outage averaging around $750,000. Even for a mere couple minutes of a data center outage, which can even be caused by a small roof leak, the cost of repairing, replacing hardware, possible loss of data, and liability greatly outweighs the cost of putting in proper preventative measures. According to Data Center Frontier, it is predicted that the global colocation market will expand from $25.7 billion (2015) to over $54billion (2020). This means that these colocation facilities will be managing more and more data, (and liability).


This graph outlines the root causes of unplanned outages:



Currently, environmental threats account for two of the top five root causes of unplanned data center outages. The biggest threats are flooding/leaks, humidity, and fire. Leaks, even in the smallest form, can be detrimental to facilities, and can come from anywhere: roof leaks, facility piping, window leaks, sprinkler leakage, CRAC failure, traditional overland flooding, intentional sabotage, and more. As well, in these controlled high humidity levels, the building enclosure detailing could lead to internal condensation and further moisture threats.


With roofs being one of the most important aspects of any shelter, and to the safety of interior assets, they are a huge contributor to water intrusion -including leaks and water collection. In fact, 40% of all building problems are caused by water intrusion, and usually from the roof. Often the case is detailing or damage during the construction process during roof installation, which then leads to a leak occurring at a seam or intrusion, and then leads to a roof's asset lifetime and durability to be cut in half.


Even with the convention low-slope primary membrane patched and intact, the latent water and moisture collected in roofs can have even more detrimental damages than just interior leakage. GAF Roofing Systems outlines these damages as reduced thermal resistance and strength loss in insulation, adhesive, cover board, and fasteners. These damages can then lead to wind uplift damage, foot traffic/hail crushing, and weakening and blistering of the actual membrane.


How can you prepare for and prevent roof damages and therefore leakage threats?


In order to protect your mission critical data, you need to start by protecting the most important aspect of your building: the roof.


At SMT, we provide full solutions for mission critical facilities from building construction to monitoring solutions throughout the building's lifetime. By using cloud based systems through remote sensors, the parameters we measure in your building structure and building envelope include: moisture, crack movement, differential pressure, window performance, and external environmental conditions. With these sensors, data is gathered over time showing the performance of the building, and for a data center, the existence of any moisture and when it happened.


During construction, SMT works to prevent leaks by scanning your roof membrane for holes with our DigiSCAN 360 Services. By using electric field vector mapping techniques to determine the location of a leak, even the smallest membrane breach can be located for repair in inverted roofs and waterproofing membranes. Through using our DigiSCAN 360 Services during construction of your facility, you’re working towards data center risk mitigation from the very beginning.


For a more permanent leak detection system, Building Intelli is a roof membrane monitoring system where moisture detection sensor tape is installed in a grid and around intrusions on the dry side of your membrane, or in lengths to monitor for moisture. The system can be applied to conventional, inverted low slope and sloped roof systems with concrete, metal or wood
roof support systems. By installing a long term system to the roof of your data center, it assures for accurate moisture monitoring and elongates the membranes life by letting you see and prevent damage. Given that the roof covers the most precious data assets, and that data centers have a long asset life, it is imperative to install a long term monitoring system to prevent any future breaches and see long term trends.


SMT also provides solutions for leak detection inside the building. By installing moisture detection tape, building managers will be able to detect when any threat of moisture arises before it becomes detrimental. Through strategically placing moisture sensors by CRAC units, on the lowest point of the floor, and by any pipes, you can react by early notification and prevent  a disaster before it happens.


For more information of SMT’s flood and moisture protection systems, click here.

Are you already using structure monitoring system for your mission critical center? Let us know -or let us know why not. Tweet us @smtresearch or email us at  


SMT Sensors Used to Monitor and Create a Living Lab'

SMT sensors are now being deployed at Red River College’s new Skilled Trades and Technology Centre (STTC) in Winnipeg. At approximately 100,000 square feet, the centre will be used for a new laboratory and shop space to provide over 1000 students a year in high demand trades. As one of the first buildings to be connected through a suite of sensors, SMT and RRC will be creating a “living lab” atmosphere to provide complete analysis of the roof and green roof.

The SMT sensors being installed include: Building Intelli roof moisture monitoring systems, green roof performance monitoring, temperature, and heat flux sensors. With all SMT sensors in place, this will allow for real world research and studies in Building Science, Civionics, Material Engineering and Mechatronics. As construction is set to finish at the end of 2017, building envelope sensors have also be deployed to monitor the thermal performance of all building components throughout the building and its lifetime. In the building envelope, SMT’s suite of sensors will be monitoring: moisture around the curtain wall windows, temperature differentials through wall assemblies, solar effectiveness from the skylights, RH and condensation through different assemblies, and thermal transfer through various materials.

Do you need a membrane monitoring system, or building envelope sensors for your next project? Call or email us today!

For more information on the STTC, click here.

SMT Providing Solutions For Skeena - Canada’s Largest Passive House


SMT is excited to be a part of Canada’s Largest Passive House in Vancouver. Properly known as, “The Heights,” the Skeena Passive House is a cornerstone project in the City of Vancouver’s strive to become the “world’s greenest city,” and increase the number of zero emission buildings. Defined as high performance sustainable buildings, Passive Houses are made to maximize reduced energy across multiple utilities. This is primarily done through a reduction of heat transfer through increased insulation, a properly designed building envelope, and premium quality air control.


As a CleanTech company, SMT values environmental innovation and therefore is providing investigative monitoring solutions to monitor various parameters of the structure throughout it’s lifetime. Parameters being monitored through our instrumented and wireless sensors are: moisture content, temperature, RH Value, CO2, and vertical displacement. With these solutions in place and through our sensor’s gathered analytics, it will be easier to evaluate the success of the passive house, monitor air quality, and keep the building and it’s inhabitants healthy.


Interested in learning more about what SMT does with Passive Houses? Check out our case study on Passive House Performance Monitoring.


More information on our Investigative sensors can be found here.

More information on the Skeena Passive house can be found here.



Cover photo:


IUFRO Division 5 Conference Presentation

On Friday, June 16th, SMT will be presenting IUFRO Conference at the Pinnacle Hotel in the Harbourfront Ballroom II. The topic being presented is: the Methods and Practices for Monitoring Vertical Movement and Moisture Performance of Wood Structures. More information on the presentation can be found below:

Methods and practices for monitoring vertical movement and moisture performance of wood structures




Session Time:

10:00 AM - 12:00 PM


Harbourfront Ballroom II

Division 5 Research Group:

5.05 Composite and Reconstituted Products


Technical Session:

Structural Assessment and Monitoring of Wood Structures


Abstract Title:

Methods and practices for monitoring vertical movement and moisture performance of wood structures



Wood structures such as the Wood Innovation and Design Center in Prince George and the UBC Tallwood House, a 53 meter tall mass timber built building are examples of new and innovative wood structures that encompass new construction techniques, unique materials and innovative practices.  The ability to receive empirical data of critical components as well as access to the real-time state of the building during construction gives Architects, Engineers and Contractors critical information to make informative decisions to either validate, change or improve the construction plan.  Data recorded during the life of the building helps validate the design decisions and proves the viability and feasibility of the design.  Methods and practices used to perform both vertical movement sensing of the building during and after construction as well as the moisture performance of pre-fabricated cross laminate timber (CLT) are explored in this paper.  Moisture of the CLT panels has been recorded from manufacturing and prefabrication to storage, through transport and during installation in order to gather lifetime data of the panels.  Despite construction during typical Pacific Northwest rain, informed decisions were made to ensure the panel moisture content was allowed to decrease to acceptable ranges before continuing to secondary construction phases.


Authors: Gamal Mustapha, Khaleed Khondoker


Presentation can be downloaded here.


SMT's Building Intelli System on the Bell MTS Data Center

SMT has installed our Building Intelli system in the Bell MTS Data Center in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The $53 million data facility provides colocation services.  As data becomes an increasingly important commodity and mission critical aspect of various businesses, it is important to provide utmost security measures to make sure no disasters affect the data, and therefore the operations of those businesses.


Our Building Intelli service, which is a permanently installed membrane monitoring leak detection system, consists of moisture detection sensors that are installed in a

grid fashion to monitor for moisture intrusions and membrane breaches . It can be applied to conventional, inverted low slope and sloped roof systems with concrete,metal or wood

roof support systems.


For more information on our roof monitoring systems, click here.

For more information on the Bell MTS Data Center, click here.

Cover photo source.


SMT and IoT Infographic: IoT and Construction -the Untapped Benefits


Following the rise of big data analytics in the era of information technology and web based platforms, the highly used term, IoT, or, the Internet of Things, has been experiencing wider market adoption, despite being a concept around for a long time. IoT describes how anything of value has a connection or interface to the Internet and easily store and exchange data, ultimately offering greater integration, with less invasive installation. While applications can range from monitoring health and fitness through wearables, to having your fridge tracking and replenishing crucial groceries, to self driving connected cars, the notion of IoT has already, and will continue to, integrate into our daily lives. The advantages of IoT go even further as they are also prominent in the construction, manufacturing and contracting industries, where every stage of their processes can embrace the idea of IoT, enabling its short term payback and long term benefits.




IoT and the above mentioned industries go hand in hand, especially towards the future of digitalization in these environments. IoT in construction has multiple benefits, more specifically in regards to power and fuel savings, monitoring equipment, and supply replenishment. By having the technology in place to monitor the electrical usage and downtime of underutilized assets, the data can be used to pinpoint these times to reduce usage and therefore save costs, and capital. In terms of monitoring equipment, by having sensors which communicate that an asset needs to be replaced or serviced before it breaks down, it saves time and embarrassment down the road. This is known as predictive maintenance, one of IoT’s biggest value propositions across every industry. Rather than spending time and money fixing a problem, operators can use gathered data to work towards a solution, before it happens. In fact, according to a TATA Consultancy Survey, those who used IoT solutions in the manufacturing industry saw an average increase in revenues of 28.5% between 2013 and 2014.   According to McKinsey, the construction industry is ripe for disruption from technology as large capital projects typically take 20% longer to complete, and are up to 80% over budget.


More specific to the monitoring of buildings, connected sensors communicate to owners performance trends over time, giving insight to future problems or future solutions, ultimately leading to easier and scalable decision making. With one of the most common future concerns for all industries being increasing operating costs, it makes sense that businesses will look towards greater productivity and preventative monitoring through IoT technology.


IoT and SMT:


So where does SMT fit in? SMT has been adding Internet, monitoring, and connectivity to the construction industry for the past eleven years. By using active cloud based monitoring systems on walls, roofs, foundations and other building elements, our sensors monitor and produce data related to the building enclosure, in order to give owners insight to the longevity and health of their prized asset. More specifically, by monitoring the performance between the roof membrane and ceiling, or between the outside wall cladding and interior surfaces, SMT allows building owners to ensure the safety of occupants, see problems before they happen, (such as moisture and condensation issues), and monitor results to develop future solutions based on data trends.


Due to the importance of remote structure monitoring and data acquisition, SMT investigation electronics have been installed in buildings and/or research scenarios for forensic, mock-up validations, historic walls monitoring, wood frame wall construction, curtain wall monitoring, and even for specific environmental installation conditions to ensure properly deploying construction products.  In fact, a recent project undertaken by SMT was the world’s tallest wood frame structure, UBC Tallwood Building, where our sensors are being used to monitor both the settling and compression of the 18 floors of all wood structure, but also the moisture performance from the factory, through transportation and site storage of the prefabricated cross laminated timber. By having real-time data on current building conditions, SMT helps take out the guesswork of when something is necessary, and can avoid inefficient costs for smarter decisions across multiple industries: construction, manufacturing, roofing, and more.


Through installing SMT sensors and IoT systems, such as our Conventional Roof Building Intelli - Leak Detection System, contractors and manufacturers have been able to quickly see damaged roofing membranes during construction, enabling them to complete timing repairs minimizing water below the membrane and entrapped in the assembly.   In some cases, the contractor is able chargeback the “other” party that has done the damage, and reduce the deployment costs on their end. In addition, through Night Seal Monitoring,  organizers know exactly where moisture has passed, increasing efficiency and therefore cutting costs further. Due to the quality assurance during construction and maintenance shown through our monitors, this then allows the membrane’s life to be extended and renewed into the future.


Market Size:


Despite all the benefits of IoT, how do companies know that it is the right investment? While IoT in the construction industry is just picking up, a recent report done by the McKinsey Global Institute predicts that by 2025, IoT systems will generate $4 trillion by 2025, in just the low scenario. 70% of the predicted generated economic value will be from construction and manufacturing systems. As well, a statistic found on shows that both the industrial/manufacturing and construction/infrastructure industries segments are predicted to grow by almost double in the worldwide IoT market. While McKinsey estimates that construction is currently amongst one of the least digitized industries, they also state that IoT is one of the coming trends shaping the field as it becomes increasingly more digitized in the future. This shows that there is huge growth potential in the market, and can allow for businesses to capitalize on the trend now, leading into the future.


View the infographic here.

View a PDF version of the article here.


Using IoT services in your construction business already? Tell us how! Tweet us @smtresearch and be sure to follow for all IoT in construction related news, or contact us for any information regarding our IoT hardware and services for building construction and monitoring.


Cover photo source.


Parq Vancouver Development

SMT is currently using our DigiScan 360 services to scan the roofing membranes of the up and coming “urban resort”, Parq Vancouver. Known as Canada’s new entertainment destination, Parq Vancouver offers: two luxury hotels, world-class casino gaming, eight new restaurant and lounges, a rooftop park, a Spa by JW, Vancouver’s largest hotel ballroom, and more.


For this project, the DigiSCAN 360 services were utilized to confirm that both the roofing and waterproofing were installed as designed, and planned by the construction group -quality assurance at its finest. Waterproofing and roofing contractors use the DigiSCAN 360 services to show that the roof membrane was intact immediately after their installation - and then to re-scan prior to covering with overburden such as drainage mat, insulation, and green roof, or concrete pavers. With the DigiSCAN 360 service, contractors can see that the membrane is often damaged by “others,” -either by accident or on purpose, versus a lack in workmanship or leaks caused by the installed methods. This is prominent on tight urban development sites, as there is only so much area for storage and other construction above. Identification of these leaks after installation and further construction allows for them to be fixed, and keeps the quality of the membrane intact.


Quote from Daryle, Site Foreman:  “I can sleep at night on this project - because I know the membrane will be scanned prior to being covered…. Otherwise I’d have to watch what all these other guys are doing to “my” membrane.”


SMT is pleased to be involved with such an exciting, and innovative project, and can’t wait to see the finished development!


Check out the project here.

Image source: Parq Vancouver
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