Roof Inspection and Survey With Drones

Specialist drone service supplier to the construction industry

Roof Inspection and Survey With Drones

Roof Inspection Report

Roof surveys are a common request during property sale to highlight potential issues. Roof repair companies and insurers can also benefit from a detailed roof inspection report as it allows accurate cost estimates for repairs and transparency to the client. An exterior inspection finding a slipped tile or blocked gutter could save a lot of money in further interior damage after heavy rain.

Drones have become an excellent tool to perform roof inspections. The realisation of a flying camera has allowed operators to quickly access different roof aspects without risk to life and limb. Removing personnel on the roof also reduces the possibility of additional damage caused by the inspector themselves.

A drone roof inspection can provide a reduction in cost, risk, damage and time to report delivery. For larger and difficult to access roofs drones can also deliver greater and more concise coverage. This wealth of digital data can be uploaded to the cloud for processing, further analysis and compilation of the final report view demo here.

A quick overview of exiting methods is mentioned split into contact and no contact methods. Each of these has no mention of quality of reporting in terms of written, photographic or georeference information as to where faults have been found and severity. CDS can advise on what we can provide and the most cost effective solution for you roof survey outcome.

Roof Inspection Contact Methods

A traditional means of accessing a roof has been the trusty ladder and cat ladder. Steeplejacks have historically proven themselves effective over the years at accessing some impressive steeples (eg Fred Dibnah). Much of this work has transitioned into modern rope access techniques. For higher and larger scale repairs scaffolding is an option but at a considerably higher cost and time. An advantage to these manned inspection methods is typically faults can be found and rectified on the same day. A disadvantage is that fixings into the building are often required which may be unsuitable for historic buildings.

Roof Survey Non Contact Methods

Traditionally roof surveyors inspecting private or business properties did so either from ground level with binoculors, or using easily accessible roof windows such as dormers of velux. Both these methods don’t provide a complete field of view. Platform lifts are another option taking the surveyor as high as the gutter or ridge line depending on the height of the building. An elevated pole camera is another option either handheld 10-15m or trailer based 20-30m.

Low Cost Roof Inspection

The use of drones for roof survey provides a detailed, low cost and extensive report with rapid delivery in comparision to traditional methods. An initial visit determines the size of the drone team and safety control for the site. In flight different roof aspects and elements are inspected in turn:

  • Birds eye overview
  • Each aspect in turn taking photos orthogonal to the slope
  • Ridges, hips, valleys and parapets
  • Chimneys, dormers, bell towers
  • Gutters, downpipes, vest pipes, vents
  • Gable ends and masonary
  • Roof antennae, satellites and cabling

The type of fault would then me reported in terms of severity, as well as other minor notes such as moss growth and birds nests.

Improve EPC Rating Using Thermal Roof Survey

Additionaly we can offer thermal building and roof survey using thermal cameras from FLIR. Thermal roof survey can offer insights into areas of heat loss and help to increase efficiency of the building and improve it’s EPC rating. Thermal is also a useful means to detect leaks in flat membrane roofing which can be notoriously difficult to find. These images can be made into a 3D model to accurately map heat loss from a building.

Drone Survey Risk Assesment 2020

Drones have one limitation in that their use in a congested area (city street) must be closely monitored with additional permissions and RAMS in place for the location. No job is impossible nor the same. For example use of private land, different times of day and pedestrian control using signage and barriers can reduce overall risk. At some point the cost of additional permits and staff to control the risk can outweigh the use of one of the methods mentioned above. In 2020 we hope to see the general 50m rule relaxed in the UK in line with EASA rules to allow small drones smaller separation distances from the public. The EASA model assesses drone operation by risk against factors such as weight, manufacturer, separation and flight operation.

Roof Inspection Reports In The Cloud

Once images and video from the survey drone have been uploaded and processed a variety of data can be gleaned. Firstly survey images can be viewed remotely by a roof surveyor. Visual faults are tagged either manually or with an AI assistant to detect common faults such as cracks and slipped tiles. Images are also on hand as proof to clients what repairs are necessary. The original survey can also be undertaken in such a way to create a 3D model after processing. This can provide an excellent visualisation tool. Measurements can also be taken for distance, area and volume if an RTK survey drone is used. If the survey was conducted to create a 3D model this can also provide an excellent visualiation to clients.

CDS offer a variety of roof survey options and reporting methods for both the end client and repair contractor. In this case using Scopito an example roof survey report is shown here. Please get in touch if you would like to discuss a particular building.


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