Roof Inspection for Estate Management Company: Insurance Claim

We were originally contacted by building surveyors Daniels Harrison who had been asked by their client Premier Estates to obtain aerial imagery of a storm damaged property at Citi Gait a development in the Gun Wharf Quays area of Portsmouth. The imagery was required in relation to an insurance claim. The roof had started to leak as a result of the storm damage and usually Daniels Harrison as building surveyors would have accessed the roof using cherry pickers and/or scaffolding. Not only is this a very expensive solution but in this instance access for such equipment was difficult.

The client required vertical photography of the flat roofs between the gables of the estate. With UAVs identified as the best solution for the work Remote Aerial Surveys took on the work directly for the client Premier Estates. Premier Estates is an award winning managing agent that successfully maintains one of the largest and most diverse residential property portfolios in the UK.

There were busy roads surrounding the site as well as the site being largely residential and as such being characterised by a large number of carparks and other buildings. During the flight the site was under the control of RAS operators with the client having gained written permission from the land and building owners, as well as a signed receipt from tenants remaining on site, to confirm that they were aware they were under RAS personnel control during the operation.

Remote Aerial Surveys collected the data using a small UAV, a XM6 Qi-TR (our current operational platforms can be legally flown in wind speeds up to 17mph, and at heights up to 400ft.) The UAV had a Panasonic Lumix GH3 camera attached. On site it was the responsibility of the pilot to assess local weather conditions to decide whether the flight was safe. As required by regulation the platform was operated within line of sight of the pilot, or within 500m, whichever is was lesser of the two.

Due to the congested nature of the site with a limited area to take off, meticulous planning and on site assessment was required with continued assessment of the flight progression to ensure safety and compliance with regulations. A stringent risk assessment was carried out with extra crew deployed on site to ensure safety.

In all the project required a three person flight crew; a remote pilot to operate the UAV, a flight commander to control the camera system and direct the operation and a surveyor to ensure the data collected is correct. The imagery was captured in a single day although further time was required to process the images for the client.

The client received high quality images with a sufficiently high resolution to provide the evidence needed for the insurance claim. The client was very satisfied with the result as it was achieved with a considerable cost saving over other methods. The cost of the survey was less than £1k in this instance. The aerial survey not only provided the information quicker and more safely but also provided a full perspective of the whole roof which would not have been achievable with scaffolding.