It’s a common thought that the current methods of roof inspections and maintenance are somewhat outdated, and the roofing industry as a whole is known for being hazardous, inefficient and often expensive. However, drone technology is beginning to change this.
According to a report published in 2018/2019 by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), almost half (49%) of fatal workplace injuries were as a result of falls from height. This shows an undisputed need to improve the safety of those who work in the roofing industry.
Traditional Inspections in the Roofing Industry
Traditional methods of roof inspections involve a person climbing onto the roof, thereby putting themselves at risk of a fall. Roof maintenance requires a physical inspection to determine the cause and solution to a problem, and as a result, roof inspections are infrequently used as a method of prevention.
Roof inspections are expensive to carry out and thus are not done as often as they should be. This often leads to an increase in maintenance that could have been prevented, had regular inspections been done.
So, what’s the answer to the outdated and hazardous methods for roof inspections? Enter: drone technology.
Drones, or ‘Unmanned Aerial Vehicles’ (UAVs) are a great way to produce high-quality photographic data and flyover footage of a roof, improving the accuracy, safety and efficiency of a roof inspection. Drone technology provides a non-intrusive and quick way to inspect a roof that many consider superior to traditional methods of roof inspection, and an invaluable tool for the roofing industry as a whole.
London drone companies such as HeliDrone Surveys conduct surveys using drone technology on behalf of businesses up and down the country.
finding the issues
Advantages of Drone Technology for the Roofing Industry
There are numerous benefits to hiring a drone company to carry out site inspections. Some roofing companies are even purchasing drones as an investment in the future, and making them a part of their everyday business operations.
Firstly, drones are without a doubt a safer method of inspecting a roof than a manual inspection. There is no need for ladders, scaffolding and heavy equipment, all of which are common causes of workplace injury. This is especially important for roofs that are deemed to be damaged or unstable, as inspecting it without coming into contact with the roof means there is no risk of collapse, or of damaging the roof further.
Drone technology also speeds up the process of roof inspections. A site inspection of a standard terraced property can be done in as little as 15 minutes, provided the correct risk assessment and flight paths have been planned in advance. There is no doubt this is much faster than a manual inspection, which requires a significant amount of time just to set up the equipment.
Without the need for a manual inspection by a person, there is no chance of human error. Drones capture high-quality photographic and videographic evidence of the condition of a roof. This can be shown to a client directly so that the right course of action can be taken for repairs, 100% of the time.
Drones can also be used to create a heat map of a site with thermal imaging technology. This means that issues are not only easier to spot, but also easier to prevent. It is often the case that roof maintenance issues are spotted too late, once a leak or collapse has already occurred. Drone technology can be used to carry out regular roof inspections by both surveyors and homeowners, meaning potential issues are spotted before they become an expensive problem.
Businesses in the roofing industry often experience a shortage of workers. The use of drone technology means that less manpower is needed on site to carry out an inspection. With traditional methods, two or three people may be needed on site to ensure a manual inspection can be carried out somewhat safely, however drones only need one operator. Inspections can also be outsourced to London drone companies, further reducing the need for people on site.
In addition to this, there is early evidence to suggest that the use of drone technology by roofing companies attracts more highly skilled workers, as it is clear that in the next 5- 10 years drones will be commonplace in the roofing industry.
the roof inspection, London
Disadvantages of Drone Technology for the Roofing Industry
It wouldn’t be balanced to explain how great drone technology is for the roofing industry without giving a few of the downsides to be aware of.
Licencing and Regulations
To operate a drone in the UK, commercially or otherwise, you need to be registered with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). In addition to this, drone operators must adhere to drone regulations and airspace restrictions.
The CAA requires that a minimum horizontal distance of 50m must be kept between a drone and nearby people and buildings, extending up to the legal height limit of 120m. Other restrictions, such as Flight Restriction Zones come with serious fines and even a prison sentence if disobeyed. This means that it is always best for a roofing company to seek advice from the CAA and specialist drone companies before operating a drone.
While the price of hobby drones has come down slightly over recent years, the standard of commercial drones (with good quality cameras) needed to carry out accurate imaging of a roof means that the price point is higher. Having said this, the benefits of using drone technology as a roofing company far outweigh this initial investment, as the quality and efficiency of the service provided to customers is significantly increased.
If you’re looking to get started with a drone survey company and aerial surveys for your roofing business, get in touch with HeliDrone Surveys, a London drone company specialising in high-quality site imaging.