How Drone Inspections Can Benefit The Social Housing Sector

Drone inspections are becoming increasingly popular, and it’s clear to see why.

When compared to traditional manual inspections, drone inspections provide incredible time, efficiency and cost savings.

At Vantage UAV, we’re the proud partners ​​of many organisations in the social housing sector for drone-based inspection and surveying services.

We’ve collected data for and worked with various public housing sector entities, including Housing Associations, ALMOS and City Councils.

Our extensive experience has given us a unique insight into the benefits drones offer the housing sector. It has also exposed us to the concerns property managers have about implementing drones into their operations.

That’s why we’ve decided to cover precisely what those benefits are and clear up some common misconceptions you may have.

Why use drones in the social housing sector?

The circumstances of the past few years have made it increasingly difficult for property managers to effectively manage and maintain their assets.

The COVID-19 pandemic saw an increase in demand for maintenance and repair work, whilst the ability to respond was restricted and made ever more challenging by a reduced workforce and supply chain difficulties.

In addition, the increasing financial pressure on tenants and inflationary pressures on operation costs have resulted in a greater need for prioritising works based on severity – leading to longer waiting times.

These factors mean social housing providers need to allocate their resources in the most efficient way possible. As such, drone inspections have become an obvious solution.

What are the benefits of drones in the social housing sector?

time efficiency

Drone inspections provide substantial time savings compared to traditional methods.

A standard roof inspection requires erecting scaffolding and costly access equipment to be brought in. Combine that with organising multiple workers to carry out the review, and you have a logistical process that takes a lot of time.

Drone inspections on a typical house often only need one pilot and a spotter to operate the drone safely. Therefore, they require less logistical planning and can begin as soon as the Vantage UAV operations personnel arrive on site. You can also cover a greater area much faster than manual inspections.  

Improved data

Manual inspection methods often collect inaccurate and unreliable data. Handheld cameras are difficult to operate (particularly when working at height), meaning significant issues can easily go undetected. As a result, inspections and surveys must be carried out multiple times.

In contrast, drone inspections capture large amounts of data consistently and accurately. This can then be analysed in detail to understand the full scope of potential issues, the first time around. Repair work can also be fully assessed and costed before any work begins, drastically aiding planning processes.

cost savings

Drones provide significant savings at every stage of the inspection process.

Drone inspections require no scaffolding, cherry pickers, towers, or other access equipment. You save on the significant cost of acquiring, transporting, and deploying these to site.

The expense savings on a single house alone are considerable. If multiple properties are involved this saving is exponentially higher from hundreds to thousands of pounds.

increased safety

Using drones for inspections is significantly safer for workers than conventional inspection methods.

Physically putting someone up on the roof of a house or a mid/high rise building always carries a high level of risk. Working at height means falling is always a danger, with 75% of fatalities in the roofing industry being linked to falls, highlighting the crucial need to reduce this risk where possible.

With a drone, this risk is completely mitigated. Inspections are carried out from the ground, without workers safety being compromised.

nottingham city homes

Our work with Nottingham City Homes shows a great example of these benefits in action.

A terrace house in Nottingham City was suffering from damp infiltrating through the first-floor bedrooms. Nottingham City homes had made numerous unsuccessful attempts to identify and rectify the issue with traditional inspection methods.

Within two hours, our experts at Vantage UAV were able to undertake a comprehensive drone inspection. The high-quality images captured were then remotely assessed and annotated via our portal, revealing a range of previously unidentified issues. Providing NCH with significant cost savings while simultaneously improving the living conditions of their residents.

common misconceptions about drone inspections

When working with public housing entities, our experts are often faced with a few common concerns about implementing drones into their operations:

1. how do i handle all the data?

Traditional, manual property inspection results in you receiving data slowly and incrementally. While this is extremely inefficient, it can make it easier to understand.

In contrast, a drone inspection produces a large amount of data in a short amount of time. Housing providers often cannot process and understand these large quantities of information.

At Vantage UAV, we process and annotate all the data for you. Making it easily readable and digestible, so you can identify exactly which issues need resolving easily.

2. What about data protection?

In terms of keeping your data safe and secure, our team mitigates risk at every stage.

An encrypted SD card stores all data we collect. We then download that data onto a password-protected laptop and encrypted data storage device. That storage device then gets a recorded delivery to Vantage UAV HQ where we undertake quality control for personal information and face removal. Finally, that data gets uploaded to a secure portal accessible by Vantage UAV and NCC only.

3.quality of work

One final concern we often hear is that social housing providers are unsure whether the quality of work delivered from a drone inspection will be satisfactory. At Vantage UAV, we provide an excellent standard of work.

All of the images we capture are high resolution, and we have the capability of getting our work structurally engineered certified.


In today’s market conditions, social housing providers must allocate their resources extremely efficiently.

When compared with traditional, manual inspections, it is clear that drone inspections offer social housing providers incredible efficiency gains and a competitive advantage. They allow you to save time, and costs and increase the satisfaction of your tenants.

Are you a social housing provider who wants to find out how drones can help your operations? Get in touch with one of our experts here.

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