How drones are making life easier for building managers and inspectors

UgCS: Flight Planning & Control
February 9, 2024

Drones have become an important tool for building inspectors and asset managers. Drone surveys are not only faster but also capable of collecting better data from hard-to-reach areas. This article will take a look into traditional methods of inspection from a property management point of view and the advantages provided by automated drone inspections.

Why building inspections are needed

All real-estate properties - individual and commercial need to undergo inspections on a regular basis. There are various reasons for this, such as:

  • Safety and compliance with local building codes and regulations. They are typically different for commercial, residential, and historic properties, requiring inspection done at different timeframes.
  • Planning maintenance, renovation, or tracking the progress of construction
  • Sale of property or change of ownership
  • Inspections required by insurance companies

Methods of Building Inspections

There are various traditional methods that are used to inspect the facades of roofs of buildings and properties. Inspectors may use one or a combination of the following methods:

Visual Inspection - Inspectors perform a walk-around of the facade of the building or walk on the roof of the building, performing a visual assessment of any signs of damage. Binoculars or similar devices can be used to identify defects.

Physical Inspection - In this case, inspectors use ladders or scaffolding to get close physical access to the facade of the building to examine it closely for any issues.

Moisture and Leak Detection - Special equipment such as thermal cameras may be used by building inspectors to identify issues not visible to the naked eye, such as hidden moisture problems or leaks in the facade or the roof.

While these traditional inspection methods are fundamental in maintaining building safety and integrity as the building ages, they can be very time and labor-intensive. Moreover, buildings can often have areas that are hard to or impossible to reach from the outside. One of the larger problems is the subjectivity of the inspector and human error, which can lead to the gathered data not being full or accurate.

The use of drones is transforming the landscape of building inspections, with many inspectors and asset owners utilizing drones to save time and money. In addition to that, drones provide several important advantages over traditional methods, such as the ability to capture full high-resolution data of the building which can be used to create an as-built digital twin of the structure, track construction progress, and for planning maintenance.

Benefits of using drones for building inspections (ROI of drone inspections / why it makes business sense)

From various traditional methods that have been standard for years, the majority of them are not cost and time-effective. Here’s where it’s worth exploring more up-to-date possibilities. drones are changing the game. They make these inspections faster, safer, and more efficient.

Let’s look at the main benefits of using drones for asset inspections:

Safer for personnel - Drones eliminate the need for inspectors to access dangerous or hard-to-reach areas of the property, thus reducing the risk of any potential accidents that may occur during the inspection.

Cost and time savings - To perform a drone survey, it is not necessary to set up scaffolding or any other heavy equipment. A drone can inspect the property faster, and drone surveys typically cost less than traditional ones. A 20-minute drone inspection can collect more accurate and objective data than an hour-long ground inspection.

Better data and collaboration - Not only is drone data better for objective evaluation, but it can also be used for automatic defect detection and creation of the digital twin of a structure, allowing to easily track changes over time.

Summary

The larger the project, the more obvious benefits drones can bring over traditional inspection methods. While drone surveys cannot serve as a full replacement to traditional site inspections, they are increasingly becoming an irreplaceable tool for inspectors and asset owners. Data collected on drone surveys can more easily be shared between architects, engineers and asset owners to save time, money and use resources more effectively.

Are you a site inspector or asset owner looking to use drones for your project and not sure where to start?

UgCS software for drone flight planning has been used by drone pilots around the world since 2013 and is one of the few solutions available in the market designed to capture accurate data on vertical and photogrammetric drone surveys.

When considering using drones for any kind of asset inspection, it is important to automate and simplify tasks at every stage. UgCS has been designed to be a true multi-platform flight planning software for drones. It works with drones from different manufacturers, including DJI, FreeFly, Inspired Flight, and others, including many drones from the Blue UAS list.

I’m interested in more detail

We want to help as many drone pilots as possible, allowing them to perform their tasks with the highest efficiency and the best quality standards. Please drop us a message at info@sphengineering.com or fill out the form - we’d love to chat with you and tell you everything about how UgCS will improve your performance.

Feel inspired already? Try out UgCS!

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