\Drones as a Tool in Sustainability Audits

Drones have of recent time gained a lot of attention from a number of industry sectors. We will spend a few moments to have a look at where they can be used as a very valuable tool in the auditing of new and existing homes.

Drones have of recent time gained a lot of attention from a number of industry sectors. We will spend a few moments to have a look at where they can be used as a very valuable tool in the auditing of new and existing homes.

When doing a Sustainability Audit on any home we rely on what we can see from low levels or at best accessed by scaffolding step ladders or hoists. The end result is we are unable in many cases to access higher level building elements e.g. eaves ,roofs of homes or apartments no matter the height.

With the introduction of Drones we are able to overcome this problem and as a result complete the Sustainability Audit to a much higher standard of accuracy.

Drones can be used commercially always provided you have a skilled and suitably qualified licensed Pilot. The Pilot must also have obtained Certification and Approval from your National Civil Aviation Authority to operate the Drone in a given country and or geographical location or jurisdiction. For example, in Australia the CAA Civil Aviation Authority and in Singapore the CAAS.

To gain this level of Certification the Pilot must first have been Trained and assessed by a Registered Training Organization who are qualified to deliver the training programs.

There are a variety of Drones offered on the market today they range from small learner drones to much larger more featured commercial models.

Drones vary considerably in specification key points to consider when deciding to buy one are the work you require the Drone to do for you, so you need to consider size, travel distance, altitude or height, nature of the assignments, hardware weight restrictions, for example camera selections, type and manufacturer and capacity to carry additional cameras. Some larger commercial Drones have the capability to carry up to 3 cameras with varying functions and capabilities.

Examples are Thermal Imaging Cameras capable of carrying out thermal imaging or thermographic surveys, these have proven to be a very valuable tool when planning to undertake a sustainability audit inspection or surveying areas of a home or entire development site.

When planning to carry out such an audit and see an advantage or necessity to use a Drone it is essential as part of your due diligence you make enquires to ensure you comply with all local and national legislation.

If you own the drone or intend outsourcing the service you have a duty of care to ensure the Drone is in good working order properly serviced and maintained and fit for purpose. Not everyone has an ongoing use for a Drone so outsourcing is common in the building and related industries. or professional services.

An operator of the drone must have appropriate licenses referred to above and insurances to cover Public Liability as a minimum.

Prior to undertaking a sustainability audit using a Drone you must have a well-prepared plan.

The DRONE PLAN should clearly identify the following as a minimum.

  • Letter of engagement clearly stating the terms and scope of work
  • Name and address of the owner of the property for survey / inspection
  • Name of the tenant if a rented property
  • Date and planned time for commencement and finish of the survey / inspection
  • Home address and location, note some Drones will allow you to program the coordinates of the location of the home which is to be subject to audit, inspection, survey.
  • It is good practice to notify adjoining property owners or occupants of the proposed survey a week in advance as a minimum
  • Adopt the Sustainability Audit Check List contained in your this Book as the main source of reference and data collection, not thinking required we have done it all for you
  • Set a time and place to meet the home owner to discuss the outcomes of the Audit and suggestions for improving the poor performing areas of the home

Where can the drone be of extra value to me as property owner? It can be used to highlight or confirm the following and much more, read on

  • suspected troublesome areas for example
  • poorly fitted roof insulation,
  • sources of air leaks both cold and warm,
  • these would normal include roof tiles
  • other forms of roof coverings
  • roof eaves,
  • windows,
  • external doors and
  • sliding door screens to verandas and balconies
  • integral garage doors

For more information purchase our eBook