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Utilising drone tech for Condition and Dilapidation reports

When undertaking a Condition or Dilapidation report for commercial property, identifying and documenting issues from ground level is a relatively straight forward enough task to do, it gets trickier when trying to locate issues on the high elevation walls, guttering and roof areas.

Hiring a MEWP or gaining roof access are traditional methods of getting eyes on high elevation walls and roof areas, however, both methods tend to restrict you from having full access and leave a certain degree of guess work, or hope that there aren’t any issues if it looks OK internally on the roof space. 

More than ever before, building consultancy firms and property management companies are exploring the benefits that drone tech can offer, so we thought we would give you an insight as to why drones are proving to be much more than a fad – and are a serious (if not preferred) alternative when carrying out condition and dilapidation reports.

Example of where there was no roof access or access for a MEWP to get down the sides of the building. DroneCam Solutions Ltd were instructed to collect aerial imagery for our clients condition report. Inset: damage to the bird spikes which were loose and overhanging.

Issues with current methods…

As mentioned already, when using traditional methods like MEWPs and roof access points to document issues on high elevation areas, your view is restricted and can leave some areas down to guess work based on the internal condition. There are also risks and factors to consider such as working at height, potential path closures if it’s in a built-up area, manoeuvring of the MEWP for each perspective and also the time on site required to do this. 

Example of a city centre building where roof access was very limited and path closures would have been required if using a MEWP. DroneCam Solutions Ltd were instructed to collect aerial imagery for our clients condition report. Inset: damage on the parapet wall.

The benefits that drone tech can bring…

The above issues are common and even accepted. However, utilising drone technology can negate a lot of these issues, resulting in a more accurate report. This is due to their agility and ability to capture (in the majority of cases), all areas in close up High-Resolution imagery.

This is thanks to a combination of their easy manoeuvrability and built-in safety features which include GPS, obstacle avoidance and combined with an uninterrupted 360° view, drones provide steady, high quality results without the need to work at height and leaving anything to guess work.

Working with a drone service provider…

The vast majority of building consultancy and property management companies will work with a drone service provider rather than keeping it inhouse, there are several reasons behind this.

Most people view drones as flying cameras, which is essentially what they are, but the clue is in their proper title – which is UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle). The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) view them as unmanned aircraft and therefore, are subject to Aviation Law.

This means that it is not as easy as investing in a drone and flying it. There is a requirement to undertake various ground school exams (dependent on use) and a flight test to prove an understanding of aviation law and competency to operate a drone. In addition to this, you must maintain a currency and an up-to-date Operations Manual – detailing any changes to legislation. This is then reviewed by the CAA each year in order to renew your Operational Authorisation. In addition to this, there is a legal requirement to hold a specific type of Public Liability insurance which is EC785/2004 compliant.

Using a drone service provider will mitigate the risk further, as the service provider is in a better position to ensure that all the documentation associated with operating drones is kept both up to date and compliant.

Drone inspections aren’t just suitable for individual buildings, here is an example of a designer outlet where DroneCam Solutions Ltd provided imagery for our clients condition report for the whole site.

Further information…

For further information on drone services, you can visit our services page or our contact us page.