With the recent events that unfolded at Whaley Bridge, it goes without saying that planned and regular key asset condition surveys and maintenance are vital to avoid costly emergency action and repairs, not to mention to reduce the risk to life and livelihoods.

UAV’s (or drones) offer a cost effective alternative to traditional survey and inspection methods with the added benefit of providing rapid access to the most challenging and difficult to reach structures and assets.

More traditional inspection methods generally require a greater deal of planning, potentially expensive equipment hire and a number of accompanying risks. Furthermore the personnel most suited for reaching these awkward areas are not necessarily those best suited to assessing the information they find. A drone can address all of these disadvantages, by accessing key infrastructure (e.g. a roof) in a matter of moments, and streaming real time images to qualified personnel safely located on the ground.

The other benefit of using drones for inspection surveys is the quality of the data.  With camera mounted UAV’s, the pilot can zoom in on problem areas to inspect damage, cracks, pest problems and other issues with ease.  In the case of roof inspections, clients can for example see loose bricks and slates, damaged flashing, debris build up and bird infestations without needing to go out on to the roof themselves. When a problem is identified, repair and maintenance can be set in motion immediately.  Should a person be required to access the area, images from the drone can be used to carry out health and safety inspections and to determine the safest access routes.

GPS-equipped UAVs can help with an ever-growing range of tasks as they are not limited to only one way of seeing things. Pre-programmed flight paths for example, ensure inspections can be easily repeated, delivering total accuracy should specific areas require revisiting. As well as high-definition videos and geo-tagged photographs, they can also help to create accurate 3D models and can carry specialist sensors to spot hidden problems. This variety of specialist sensors range from thermal cameras – ideal for identifying heat loss, blockages, leaks or stress points to multispectral cameras for detecting vegetation stress.  All of this data can be acquired safely by a person on the ground in a variety of ways, ultimately improving overall knowledge regarding the asset.

Pre-programmable flight paths ensure inspections can easily be repeated delivering total accuracy should specific areas be revisited

In summary, UAVs are a cost-effective survey method for safely and quickly supplying high quality data for multiple forms of asset.

Remote Aerial surveys are experienced in surveying a wide range of assets and structures within the water sector and beyond. When it comes to assessing structures such as dams, RAS also offer the added value of the knowledge and experience of consulting engineers Richard Allitt Associates in investigating flood risk in the case of defences failing due to a breach or overtopping. To find out more about the hydraulic modelling of flood defence breaches and overtopping please click here

Richard Allitt Associates Ltd have also had a place on the Network Rail UAV framework since 2014 which allows us to fly within 5 metres of live lines horizontally and 20 metres vertically.  For more info read here

Contact us now for a quote on 01444 401840 or email pilot@remoteaerialsurveys.co.uk