Drones are now a hot topic for surveying professionals and the RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) the professional body that accredits professionals within the land, property and construction sectors worldwide.
In 2015, there were RICS-qualified professionals in more than 140 countries. The total number of those accredited worldwide was 120,000.
The use of drones and related technology is becoming commonplace among the surveying and mapping professions.
Now the technology is becoming more adaptable and user friendly, the underlying legal framework for operation must still be taken into account if surveyors are to avoid breaking the law.
So the surveying firms are looking at taking commercial drone pilot exams for their staff as well a contracting specialist drone companies for their aerial building surveys and inspection.
In October 2016 the RICS posted on the knowledge base on their website details for drones and Surveying in which they detailed the basic regulations for UAV’s and Drones.
“Just two years ago I was stumbling around rooftops, often without adequate safety systems and at night, taking infrared images to find areas of trapped moisture underneath the waterproof membrane. Nowadays, I rarely have to leave the safety of the ground at all, day or night.”
In his article he said that a drone is a surveying tool, enabling safer surveying, improving value for clients, and allowing more informed decisions with better date about managed assets.
The Dark Side of Drones
He also mentioned the safety challenges of drones with RICS members risking health and reputation, either flying without due consideration for the required qualifications, insurances and regulations or contracting to those few who choose to ignore them.
As soon as these challenges are overcome, then surveyors will begin to see the true benefits of drones in their industry.
A Conservative Industry
For an industry that has a conservative outlook drone started to be mentioned in RICS articles in 2015 showing that drone technology was finding its way into the day to day operations of many businesses.
Drone Building Survey Opportunities for Surveyors
Here are just a few examples where Drone Photography Services has being contracted for a drone building survey:
- The preparation of a condition survey of a particularly tall, large or intricate building
- Tall structures with no rooftop access where scaling a great height is not possible
- Historic site with carved stonework, which is important to view but difficult to reach due to height, age or delicacy of the surrounding structures
- High Tower with single access ladder
- Supershed at 130,000 sq.ft with no way of reaching the centre
- Large Aircraft hanger with high and large sliding aircraft doors
- Properties with limited access due to proximity to neighbours or bodies of water or access via unstable ground.
Drone offer a fast cost effective alternative in the first instant to cherry pickers, climbers and steeplejacks.
The images and video a drone can capture are in high resolution for use in any report. With a live feed to the ground the surveyor is able to direct the camera to specific sections of wall or roof for a closer look. This is bringing down the time and cost of condition surveys.
Roy Horton writes for Drone Photography Services.