From April 2017, Flagship Group’s RFT Services will use drones to survey specialist roofs as part of their property maintenance and repairs programme, instead of using scaffolding on non-standard, taller properties. Data from the drones is then linked to Flagship’s Orbis mapping system.
As an alternative to expensive equipment such as static scaffolds or mobile evaluated working platforms, the use of drones could save Flagship up to 70 per cent of the cost of traditional methods to inspect a property. Flagship’s in-house legal team are also planning to use drones in boundary disputes as a cheaper and better alternative to aerial surveys.
A pilot project carried out in Dereham in September 2016 was a huge success, leading to the permanent implementation of drones. The drones are owned and operated by Sky Cam East.
Julian Roberts, field manager, RFT Services, said, “Embracing new technologies means we can improve our service to tenants as there will be less inconvenience to them. The drones will also reduce the risk to our operatives from unnecessarily working at height, and they will also save on scaffolding costs for larger roof inspections.”
The new way of working came to fruition after Flagship’s IT department, supported by the group’s legal department and RFT Services, identified a technological solution when reviewing the maintenance programme.
Matt Brazier, head of IT, Flagship Group, said: “I think the fact that we approach change in a very non-traditional way allowed us to achieve something the sector probably wouldn’t have thought achievable. By running a pilot scheme instead of using the same resources to build a traditional business case, we were able to explore what was possible by learning from real world experiences.
“In time, we’re hoping the drones can be used by our surveyors to look at stock conditions and plan a programme of works, instead of reacting when an issue has been reported. This will allow us to diagnose the right repair as opposed to the obvious one.”