For some time now Drones have been available on the market for the military, commercial use and hobbyists and we are hearing more and more about them via the media.  As is often the case with new technology drones were at first expensive but have subsequently become more affordable.  Drones too have developed from their early days where they reached lower heights and stability and quality of imagery was limited.  Today’s drones reach high altitudes; carry high quality cameras with complex software with less expensive models available too.

Drones and building surveys

Our Building Surveyors use drones to access difficult to observe areas of buildings to take aerial view 360 photos to assist in identifying problem areas in a property.  In the past building surveyors used long ladders, scaffold towers and scaffolding was used to reach roofs, valley gutters and chimneys to inspect these hard to view areas.  Hiring and erecting scaffolding is expensive and time consuming whereas using a drone is quick and less expensive.

Within our building surveys we include many aerial view 360 photos many of which are taken using drones.  A drone used for structural building surveys is a great tool enabling not only digital high-resolution photography but also thermal imaging and 3D mapping of properties too.

We believe that we are at the forefront of Building Surveyors using drones and whether looking at a Listed Building or modern home drones help making our building surveys the best money can buy.

What is a Drone?

A Drone is the common name used by the public for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) or unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) in other words an aircraft without a human pilot. Drones are controlled by various methods including:-

  • Remote control by individual located on the ground or another vehicle
  • Drones in the media
  • The mainstream media frequently have articles about drones such as
  • BBC News: ‘Drone’ hits BA plane: Police investigate Heathrow incident
  • BBC News: “Why the future of drones is up in the air”
  • Evening Standard: “Drone pilot ‘breaks every rule in book’ with incredible video footage of London”
  • Sky News: “Calls to Police over drones up by 2,000%”
  • Daily Mail: British drone strikes have killed 305 ISIS targets in the last year without causing ANY civilian casualties
  • Whether scare mongering or promoting drones are a media topic that is frequently making headlines with the drone market expected to be worth higher and higher figures.
  • For example The Consumer Electronics Association stated the drone market is worth $130m £86 million in 2015, 50% higher than the previous year.
  • Drones and Legislation – a veritable minefield of regulations and safety
  • As drones become more and more common place legislation changes.
  • For example: Drones fitted with cameras must not be flown with 50m of people, vehicles, buildings or structures, or over congested areas.
  • Civil Aviation Authority guidelines for flying “safely and legally” need to be adhered.
  • For example: a drone should never fly higher than 400ft or 122m
  • Drone hobbyists be careful
  • Whether using drones for a hobby or for commercial use codes of conduct, permissions, databases of ownership, risk assessment of using in a particular location etc all need addressing. Legislation takes time to put in place and often technology develops at a faster pace – governments across the globe need to address this.

When were drones invented?

The first drone, or unmanned bomb filled balloon was launched by Austria in 1849 to attack Venice.  In the early 1900s drone innovations primarily concentrated on providing military personnel with practice targets for training purposes.

During WWI and WWII various unmanned aerial combat vehicles were developed including Archibald Montgomery Low’s aerial target, the automatic airplane by Hewitt-Sperry and later in the 1950s when jet engines were used companies such as Beechcraft launched their Model 1001 for the US Navy.

The early drones were remote controlled airplanes and it was later during the Vietnam War that unmanned aircraft were further developed and used widely.  Later during the War of Attrition and Yom Kippur War drones UAV’s were widely used with many lives saved due to flying in high risk areas.  Drones save lives – General John Charles Meyer, Commander in Chief of the Strategic Air Command (SAC) said “we let the drone do the high-risk flying… the loss rate is high, but we are willing to risk more of them… they save lives!”.

Drones developed further over the decades becoming smaller and smaller, carrying cameras with higher and higher definition and reaching greater and greater heights.

Drones will certainly carry on developing and become more and more a part of daily life.

More information on drones

UK Drone Show ukdroneshow.com – first drone consumer event in UK held in 2015

UK Civil Aviation Authority caa.co.uk/drones