Automatic assessment of post-earthquake buildings based on multi-task deep learning with auxiliary tasks

Zhihang Li, Huamei Zhu, Mengqi Huang, Pengxuan Ji, Hongyu Huang, Qianbing Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Post-earthquake building condition assessment is crucial for subsequent rescue and remediation and can be automated by emerging computer vision and deep learning technologies. This study is based on an endeavour for the 2nd International Competition of Structural Health Monitoring (IC-SHM 2021). The task package includes five image segmentation objectives – defects (crack/spall/rebar exposure), structural component, and damage state. The structural component and damage state tasks are identified as the priority that can form actionable decisions. A multi-task Convolutional Neural Network (CNN) is proposed to conduct the two major tasks simultaneously. The rest 3 sub-tasks (spall/crack/rebar exposure) were incorporated as auxiliary tasks. By synchronously learning defect information (spall/crack/rebar exposure), the multi-task CNN model outperforms the counterpart single-task models in recognizing structural components and estimating damage states. Particularly, the pixel-level damage state estimation witnesses a mIoU (mean intersection over union) improvement from 0.5855 to 0.6374. For the defect detection tasks, rebar exposure is omitted due to the extremely biased sample distribution. The segmentations of crack and spall are automated by single-task U-Net but with extra efforts to resample the provided data. The segmentation of small objects (spall and crack) benefits from the resampling method, with a substantial IoU increment of nearly 10%.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)383-392
Number of pages10
JournalSmart Structures and Systems
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2023


  • building assessment
  • CNN
  • multi-task deep learning
  • semantic segmentation
  • small object detection

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