Late last year saw the Lab and Bromford's Portfolio Team commission a drone company to Conduct a visual roof survey on one of Bromford's Regency properties in Cheltenham.

This technology was the first of its type to be used by Bromford and showed great potential to be used more – in the right setting. Guest blogger Lee Wagg has given us an update about how Bromford have made use of drones since the test ...

"Recently, I was given a challenge – how do we conduct a roof survey in the centre of a busy town with restricted access?

Much like the original test the roof area is inaccessible from within the property and its location, on a one way street and with a bus stop outside, caused further issues.

Scaffolding was our first thought as the ‘normal’ approach to inspections but this option was not really feasible due to several issues;

  • We would have to close part of the footpath in order to erect the scaffold
  • As well as put in an application for a temporary bus stop
  • There would be a higher risk of for anti-social behaviour issues and break-ins whilst the scaffold was erected.
  • I wasn’t convinced we would get to inspect everything properly anyway

If that wasn’t enough to consider, we then had to factor in the cost of scaffolding such a large and odd shaped building. This would be quite expensive, with approximate costs for all of the above in excess of £10k. Just to inspect.

The company used by my colleague Matt in the first test were great and wanted to be involved but due to their location the cost of travelling was quite expensive so another company was sought.

Nimbus, was the company of choice and they were determined that due to the site location and busyness of the town during the week that an early Sunday morning launch would be the best way forward. This also meant we stuck to the rules set out by the CAA.

So, 7.30am on a cold and wet summer’s morning, I met the pilot and we set up our launch site from the car park of a neighbouring building.

The launch was 8am. The rain held off and the drone zoomed up above our launch site and glided to the property with ease. Several slow passes of each of the roofs elevations were carried out, enabling a thorough and detailed visual inspection of the whole roof and on request hovering over certain areas of the roof to capture as much detail as possible, even down to looking inside the chimney pots, this operation would not have been possible without extra scaffolds.

Once edited by Nimbus, the video footage was emailed to me for my files. The footage was very clear and easily utilised to provide a written report and a schedule of repairs required.

Nimbus charged Bromford £500 for this survey, that’s 5% of the originally expected costs and drastically reduced all other issues and fears that came with using scaffolding.

This type of survey has proved invaluable for both Matt and I within our side of the business and I am glad we have been able to utilise it as much as we can. We hope that other areas of the business may find a use for it too – especially where physical access is compromised." 

The lab couldn't be more pleased with the success of the use of drones and that Matt, Lee and the portfolio team recognise it as a legitimate alternative to erecting scaffolding if the need arises - saving Bromford thousands. Thanks to Lee for the update.