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Drone Technology Revolutionises Commercial Roofing with Innovation and Tech

5 minutes with Scott Lewthwaite, Commercial Director and licensed drone pilot for DVC

Drone Technology Revolutionises Commercial Roofing with Innovation and Tech

Q1: How has the application of drones advanced in the field of roofing inspections, and what benefits do they offer?

We initially saw drones come into the roofing industry for predominantly photographs & videos of projects, typically for case studies. With the development of drone technology over the years, buildings can now be accurately measured and 3D mapped, all without the need for a physical presence on the roof itself. The positive H&S implications and lack of requirement for the hierarchy of controls regarding fall protection by using a drone to survey a roof saves the client money and significantly reduces risk.

Q2: What are some of the key benefits of drone technology in terms of time and cost savings for commercial roofing inspections?

Drones can be launched remotely, and as long as VLOS (Visual Line of Sight) is maintained, large areas of roofs can be surveyed quickly and safely. The drone technology and software we use allow us to fully model a building with comprehensive and accurate dimensions, all without needing to send a surveyor onto the roof. We can typically map a 1000m² building within 30 minutes.

Q3: Have you noticed any specific improvements in the quality or accuracy of roof assessments since the introduction of drones?

One of the largest benefits I’ve noticed is the introduction of RTK GPS (Real Time Kinematic positioning), which uses a separate RTK ground station which independently links to the satellites and then allows the drone to triangulate its movements accurately. This technology allows our measurements to be within millimetre accuracy.

Q4: What are some of the most challenging, unique roof structures or situations where drones have proven particularly valuable for inspections?

DVC  have some clients with large sites ( 50+ buildings).  When providing the client with a comprehensive report, our drone can fly and cover all of the buildings in 4k resolution within days. If we were to survey these roofs independently, collating the same information would take weeks.
One of the biggest challenges facing the introduction of drones into the industry is a lack of roofing experience, either by the pilot or report writer. All of DVC’s pilots have worked within the industry for a significant period and understand what to look for when identifying troublesome leaks or areas of concern.

Q5: In your opinion, how do you envision drone technology continuing to shape the future of roof inspections and maintenance?

I think the drone world will continue to evolve, and I personally would like to see heavy-duty drones used for lifting and transporting materials from ground level to the roof area in future.


If you would like to learn more about how aerial drone surveys work, read more on our Roofing Survey page. Alternatively, contact the team to discuss your commercial roofing survey.

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