S hopping C enters N ew J ersey Eric Koehler, ATP, CFII, The Falcon Group 5 Reasons Drones are Great for Building Inspections M id A tlantic

Real Estate Journal — New Jersey — Section B


oof and façade inspec- tions can be time-con- suming and costly. As a result, many are performed only after leakage is detected or energy inefficiency is suspected. By then, damage is compounded and costs rise. Drone technol- ogy, coupled with roof engineer- ing expertise, can solve that. Drones can be used peri- odically to perform visual and thermal inspections far more easily than the traditional means of deploying people and heavy equipment (such as heli- copters, scaffolds, and lifts) for viewing hard to reach facades and rooftops. Following are the 5 reasons drones are great for building inspections. 1. Safety Drones, flown by profes- sional pilots, pose less risk of injury than climbing. Yes, R

2. Efficiency We can set up and launch our drones – up to 400 feet – in less than 20 minutes. Then, the mission of taking photographs or video begins. We can capture high-resolution imagery of a typical 40-story building façade in less than 30 minutes. For example, we recently captured thermal imaging of an entire 40 story building in less than half a business day. 3. Flexibility Our fleet consists of drones of various shapes and sizes. All of them can fly programmed flight paths, some of themwith centi- meter precision. We can swap out a high-resolution camera with a telephoto lens for an infrared/thermal camera with a wide angle lens. And, much more. And, of course, we are able to adjust their positions to

get the best angle or point-of- view. The bottom line is, drones are able to go places that were difficult or impossible to go before! For example, to detect weight- bearing glass deformities, we found angles that provided high-contrast reflections in the windows that exposed warping. 4. Cost Our fleet consists of drones of various sizes and shapes. All of them can fly programmed mis- sions, some with centimeter precision, making their flight times very short and efficient. And, because we are able to move freely, we can quickly get the precise images that we need – in less time and with less equipment. 5. Quality Advancements in drone tech- nology make it possible to fly

more smoothly and precisely, resulting in better quality pho- tos and videos. New camera ad- vancements provide resolution and clarity that rivals full-size handheld cameras. Even infra- red and LIDAR cameras are getting smaller and producing better images. Drones provide tremendous value for building inspections. They reduce the time, cost, and risk associated with traditional methods of inspection, while providing advantages. Clearly, drones will not replace hands-on inspections. But, advancements in drone and camera technology may encourage more frequent and preventative inspections, which is good for everyone. Eric Koehler, ATP, CFII is vice president and de- partment head of Falcon Drone Services. n

the drone can fall from the sky. But, professional drone pilots take proper precau- tions, making that extremely unlikely. Coupled with the fact that they spend far less time in the air than climbers, the safety risk is much lower. On the other hand, workers compensation tables tell us climbers have a relatively high incidence rate.

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