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How Drones are Changing Commercial Roof Inspections

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Traditionally, roof inspections, be it commercial or residential, are done so by physically sending a person up on the roof. The individual walks the roof to inspect problematic areas and submit a report of the findings along with an estimate of repairs or replacement.

This process can often be rather risky and time consuming! But, as the industry evolves, the process only gets safer and more efficient. Not only that, but the information we can gather is on a whole other level! So, what is this driving force?

Drones, UAV’s today can do incredible things and that technology is only getting better on what seems like a quarterly basis. Technology that isn’t exactly new to the industry is high resolution and thermal imaging. What is, is the ability to attach these devices to an aircraft that can affordably hover and inspect a roof, revealing every detail both internally and externally.

There is much industry concern regarding the concept of drones replacing the actual physical inspection. Can you truly see everything you need to from a drone as opposed to walking the roof? Is it really safer? Is it replacing jobs and putting people out of work?

No, a drone cannot conduct a core sample on your roof, but it sure can help you identify the ones that do need it and save you a lot of extra work on the roofs that don’t! It completely takes the risk of getting injured from the top of a roof out of the equation. If anything, this evolution only makes things more efficient and changes how it is done. This is almost business 101. Often times, an industry or way of doing things changes, and to keep up with that change, you either keep up with it or get left behind. Roof inspectors today should consider obtaining their commercial unmanned aircraft license per the Part 107 regulations administered by the FAA.

The evolution of being able to use high resolution and thermal images on an aerial, low flying, low cost platform is rapidly effecting many industries.

FLIR is one of the worlds leading thermal imaging manufacturing company. They have partnered with DJI to create a product called the Zenmuse XTR. This product is what has caused the evolution of this industry. The data we can collect with this technology is incredibly clear, precise and detailed. In addition to this thermal technology, we have the ability to capture up to 42 Megapixel high resolution images with the advancement of cameras.

So how, through this technology, do we determine the good from the bad when it comes to inspecting a roof?

With the high resolution imaging, we can inspect the exterior of a roof for dirty spots, pools of water, punctured or torn sections, and closely inspect around air conditioning units. We can zoom in on these captured images down to the finest detail, allowing us to review the roof multiple times from only 0ne inspection. 9 times out of 10, we can determine the problematic areas on your roof with what the naked eye can see, but we need to know the extent of that damage internally.

This is where the thermal technology comes into play. Many don’t understand how the technology works. In reality, it is quite simply the detection of temperatures on or within a structure. As the sun rises and sets, the surface of a roofs temperature changes very rapidly, while the insides warm and cool at a much slower rate. So catching these thermal images right around sunrises and sunsets will portray thermal images that show you the extent of internal water damage. The thermal images provide temperature readings for every megapixel of the image. This moisture under the surface of the roof is what causes problems and is exactly what we look for in this inspection.

As soon as all the data is collected, it is submitted for review and analysis by a professional roofer. A formal report and submission is completed allowing you to seek professional advice regarding whether the problems result in the need for just repairs, a whole new roof, and whether or not its worth your time to file a claim for the repairs done.

Now you are probably wondering how this technology can benefit different industries, and if it applies to you.. Here are some industries we know it benefits and how:

Roofing Companies

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This is a fast easy way to identify prospective new customers by identifying problematic roofs before even having a conversation. This is a low cost way to pursue leads that probably already need to have a conversation with someone to begin with. Even after selling and installing a new roof, setting your clients up under routine roof inspections, which most manufacturers require, helps them keep a roof lasting longer than guaranteed. This helps you maintain and continue to build a relationship with that client, and anyone in sales knows this is one of the most important tools in your tool box.

Engineers/ Inspectors

aerial photo of commercial buildingMany engineers conduct what are called property condition reports. Create added value for your clients by providing the aerial
inspection, saving you time and providing more useful data for further review as the process goes on with what your client is intending to do with the property. This also has the ability to save you a lot of time and keeps you safer when conducting these reports by not having to climb around on a risky roof.

Property Management Companies

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If you are a property manager, you don’t need me to tell you how much you have on your plate. Aerial roof inspections can help you manage your assets on a routine basis, helping you to identify problems before they become apparent to a picky tenant! When a problem does arise, we help connect you with a professional roofer to get all the advice you need to make an educated decision on what to do.

Insurance Companies

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If anyone can benefit from this technology, its insurance companies and individuals dealing with insurance claims. This process, being that it is much more efficient, can take what is often a 3- 4 week process, and cut it in half. This captures all the data you need to assess a claim and process it, helping you to retain clients who would otherwise leave due to a frustrating claims experience. Retention of clients is potentially your biggest asset, allowing you to recoup more premiums to counter the loss of the claim.

For more information or ideas on how aerial roof inspections in Dallas Forth Worth, Texas can benefit you and your business, give is a call at (214) 842-6000!

  
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