Built Environment

Vantage UAV drone-based services enable clients to manage and maintain built assets in a safer, faster, and smarter way, aiding and enhancing building maintenance, safety, development, regeneration, and much more. We employ cutting edge drone technology paired with a range of sensors to offer precise, efficient data capture and analysis across the Build Environment & Real Estate sector. 

As the Preferred Supplier of drone services to the UK National Housing Federation, Vantage UAV have extensive experience within the Built Environment sector, working closely with Housing Associations to achieve their goals. Covering the social, commercial, and private housing spheres, Vantage UAV deliver services and solutions which revolutionize asset management, maintenance, and repair operations.  

Currently, the US housing sector is facing a range of challenges. Inflation has increased financial pressure on both tenants and operations within the sector and a shortage in construction workers paired with supply chain issues has hampered routine repair and maintenance. The increased demand for maintenance and repair work during the COVID 19 pandemic, combined with restrictions limiting response, has extended already lengthy delays.  

Newly emerging conditions are introducing unprecedented challenges; an increase in adverse weather brought on by climate change warrants further repair, inspection and survey services as housing infrastructure is pushed to its limits. In 2021 alone, natural disasters related to climate change, from blizzards, tornadoes, wildfires, and hurricanes, hit 14.5 million US homes, causing approximately $57 billion in property damages, according to a report by the global property data company CoreLogic (1).  

Public Housing is also in dire need of maintenance and repair. With an annual loss of 10,000-15,000 units due to decay or obsolescence, the US is facing a capital repair project backlog of over $70 billion (2), impacting the lives and health of nearly 2 million people living in public housing units, most of which are minority ethnic groups and women. 

Unsafe, inefficient, and costly traditional methods of asset inspection are ill-fitted to meet the needs of the ever-increasing repair and maintenance demands. Equally, the data produced from these methods are often low-quality and provide little insight to root cause issues. Often labor-intensive and time consuming, manual methods of housing and roof inspections stand to worsen the repairs backlog.  

At Vantage UAV, we fully recognize the challenges facing the Built Environment sector and harness cutting edge drone technology to provide a fast, cost-effective, and safe alternative to traditional methods of inspection, surveying, and mapping. Providing high-quality data provision and analysis, we inform and support clients, enabling them to fully comprehend, manage, and maintain their assets.  

Whatever the size of your portfolio, get in touch to benefit from integrating drone-solutions into your operations, or, read on to find out more… 

Our Services

  • Inspection and mapping 
  • Roof inspections 
  • Facade inspections 
  • Thermal analysis 
  • Monitor progress on construction sites 
  • Site surveys 
  • LiDAR mapping 
  • 2D/ 3D modelling 
  • Check dilapidation issues on old building 

Sky to Cloud Data Reporting 

High-quality data collected during inspections is relayed in clear, annotated reports, digitally formatted to be accessed conveniently from a desk, providing actionable information to clients so that assets can be managed easily and efficiently. Our data storage and reporting solutions offer:  

  • Cloud based platform 
  • Reporting portal which allows stakeholders to review and report upon vast data stores, quickly and easily.  
  • Defects and damages are easily annotated and assigned severity ratings, enabling swift remedial action to be taken according to priority. 
  • Reports have multiple user access and multiple export formats.  
  • In-house data storage, archiving and analytics capabilities.  

Full, turn-key solutions and support

Vantage UAV deliver turnkey solutions from full project management, flight planning and piloting, offering comprehensive support from initial consultation to final report. Our range of services and industry experts allow us to craft bespoke solutions to data management and provision challenges. 

Vantage UAV collaborate closely with clients to understand their challenges, workflows, aims and provide the best solutions. Support is always available, from real people, whenever you need it.

Key Uses  

Roof and Façade Inspection

Traditional or manual roof inspections are tedious, costly, and dangerous, requiring cherry pickers and scaffolding which can exacerbate structural damage and weakness and placing technicians at risk of falling. Due to challenges accessing complex or large buildings, it can be hard to get an overview of asset condition, with small-scale issues, such as leaks or installation issues, going undetected, resulting in damage escalating and requiring costly repairs.  

Drone-based roof inspections are a fast, safe, and cost-efficient alternative to manual methods, providing high-quality data provision and insight into asset condition. The agile, aerial nature of drones allows full remote access to structures with a comprehensive view from all heights and angles, fast, whilst eliminating the need for expensive equipment and risk to technicians during the inspection phase.  

During inspection, drones capture HD images and footage to enable the detection of small-scale defects which may be overlooked during traditional roof inspections, such as loose or cracked tiles and faulty guttering, whilst offering a wide overview of roof and façade condition. Using high-resolution photogrammetry payloads, photographs taken during inspection can be stitched together to create a 3D digital model of a building, providing a virtual reconstruction of a site which can be examined and revisited at the client’s convenience. Accurate detection of roof damage enables swift repair and preventative maintenance to be carried out before issues escalate and costs rise, protecting asset integrity and tenant welfare.  

Equipped with Thermal Imaging cameras, drones can detect issues that cannot be seen during visual inspections by capturing temperature anomalies. Moisture holds onto heat longer than surrounding, dry material; therefore, during drone-inspection, moisture or areas with water collection are highlighted by the thermal camera, and the temperature discrepancy between the water and roof system outlines the location and size of the issue. Thermal cameras can also locate areas where heat is escaping, identifying spaces where water could enter and/or installation is incomplete or defective. Leaks can have devastating consequences for a roof and interior structure if left unrepaired, whilst heat loss can lead to costly energy bills and increased carbon footprint.

Monitoring Building Safety  

Safety in multi-occupancy buildings is paramount and fire risks must be eliminated. Drones are unrivalled in their ability to capture high-quality data on buildings ranging in height and complexity. Enabling safe, remote access to a variety of structures quickly and efficiently, drones provide HD images so that the external fabric of the building can be analyzed in detail for issues with fire escapes or flammable materials.  

Images can be stitched to create a 3D digital twin of the building, providing a full view of a structure from all angles, detailed measurements, and comprehensive GPS referenced data on roof and façade condition. The digital twin can be annotated, with assigned risk ratings and a color priority system for repairs and used to compare buildings condition pre/post- repair.   

Providing precise defect detection and valuable insight into safety concerns, drone-based inspection equips client to effectively monitor and manage asset and safeguard tenants.  

Responsive Repairs  

An increase in adverse weather events due to climate change has left asset owners contending with frequent and severe damage to buildings and roofing, on top of general routine repairs. Costly and time consuming, traditional, or manual methods of inspecting and surveying buildings are unfit to meet growing demands for services.  

Drones can conduct roof and building inspections and surveys in a fraction of the time taken by traditional methods, allowing a fast assessment and remedial response to issues raised by tenants, general wear and tear, or weather damage. By reliably detecting small scale issues, drone inspection can also highlight preemptive measures to avoid damage or high-cost repairs before they occur.  

Aiding Development and Regeneration Projects  

Drones can provide a wide aerial scope of land, take HD images and footage, and record mm accurate measurements to aid architects and developers. Equipped with LiDAR technology, Vantage UAV can also conduct precise inspections and topographical surveys on land marked as a potential development site to ascertain terrain and ground conditions and assess project challenges. Drone-based inspections and surveys provide key insight, allowing clients to save time, money and ensure projects are executed smoothly.  

Drones can also aid in tracking the progress of active projects. Traditional methods of monitoring and tracking can be challenging; sites are often large and complex, with numerous teams collaborating, while areas under construction are often not being safe to enter. Currently, fixed cameras are used to track development projects, however, copious amounts of non-GPS referenced footage must be sorted through to extract key details, and cameras do not always offer complete coverage of a site, meaning key insights into progress can be missed. 

Data collected via drone flight can be used to create 2D/3D digital models of sites, allowing thorough, accurate tracking of progress, on demand. Aerial mapping also allows large areas of land to be covered quickly, ensuring data is gathered across the entire site; any images captured are GPS referenced so that architects can fully comprehend the terrain.  

Heritage & Cultural Site Modelling  

Buildings that are valuable to society, such as historical heritage sites, or religious monuments and places of worship, suffer deterioration due to vandalism, weather, or time. Traditional methods of inspecting and modelling these assets are often expensive, time consuming and dangerous due to the complex nature of these sites and data collected manually can be low quality or fail to capture key details due to limited access and scope.  

Drones offer full remote accessibility and capture HD images and footage of hard to reach, hazardous or delicate areas safely and quickly. In flight data can then be used to generate precise 2D and 3D models, providing digital archives of structures which enable easy site maintenance and management.  

Digital archives can aid rebuilding or restoration if a building or site is damaged and can assist educational industries.  

Legal Disrepair 

Data collected via drones is both date and time stamped, meaning it can serve as evidence supporting or contesting legal disrepair claims. 

Uses & Benefits

Cost & Time

Reduced Cost & Time

Challenge

Traditional housing inspections require scaffolding, height access equipment and often machinery to gain full access to a building. These options are both time consuming and expensive. In addition, manual inspections can incur high insurance and labor costs, whilst ensuring surveyors are on site to inspect a property whilst access equipment is assembled can be logistically challenging.  

Many buildings require repeat inspections to consistently monitor maintenance and repair needs and to comply with safety regulations; therefore, utilizing manual inspection methods across multiple structures can quickly become challenging, time consuming and costly.

 

Solution

Vantage UAV’s drone-based inspection services are significantly more cost and time efficient than manual inspection methods. Drone inspections typically require only one pilot and spotter, which is preplanned by Vantage UAV, so operational concerns for our clients are drastically reduced. In turn, this saves a vast amount of time and reduces the associated costs of employing multiple workers, machinery, and transporting and erecting scaffolding, cranes, cherry pickers, and other height access equipment. Inspections can take as little as 30 minutes for a small, single-occupant building, and around a day or two for a large block of flats (3). 

Such cost and time savings become more substantial when inspecting multiple houses/sites, and repair and maintenance work can be accelerated due to quick and efficient identification of problem areas enabled by drone surveys.   

The high-quality data collected via drone inspection provides key insight into building and roof condition, which can lead to significant savings. Drones can detect building damages and defects before they escalate to high cost, large scale repairs. By gaining a bird’s eye view of a building, a comprehensive data set can be formed, allowing informed decisions to be made and root-cause issues to be identified. In turn, this ensures the value a spend delivers is high and that money is not wasted.  

The cost and time of analyzing data is drastically reduced by Vantage UAV’s data management portal, where reports are generated with annotations and priority ratings of issues highlighted, enabling clients to manage and organize maintenance and repair work with ease. 

Improved Safety

Safety is our priority 

Challenge

When a roof or high rise is inspected or surveyed manually, height access is required, putting technicians at risk of falling. Data from the 2020 annual Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries reveals that 108 roofing contractors died from workplace injuries, with roofing accounting for 9.9% of all fatal falls in 2020 (4).  

Furthermore, technicians inspecting old buildings, or those damaged by natural disasters or adverse weather events, are at risk due to structural instability.

Solution

Placing workers at risk during the inspection and survey phase is unnecessary; drones can access and assess buildings at all heights, quickly and safely, completely mitigating the risk to technicians during inspection without compromising on the range or quality of data collected.   

Prior to accessing structurally unsound buildings, drones can provide an initial inspection, highlighting areas of high risk and scoping out areas out interest. Data gathered via drone allows for access missions to be pre-planned and executed safely.

High Quality Data Provision and Analysis

Improve data quality 

Challenge

Due to an inability to gain full access and a comprehensive view of buildings, traditional inspection can often miss crucial data. Images that are captured are often taken with low resolution cameras and are not GPS referenced so that it can be hard to locate the issue for repair or maintenance.

Solution

Combining the speed, agility, and maneuverability of drones with a variety of sensors and imaging technology, Vantage UAV offer unparalleled data provision services and insight into assets, condition, and maintenance requirements. By providing a bird’s eye view of assets, comprehensive data sets can be formed, ensuring the correct repair and maintenance decisions are made.  

With improved access and data-collection comes improved insight; data collected via inspection is hosted on Vantage UAV specialized viewing platforms, which supports GPS referenced high resolution remote inspections, annotations, and millimeter accurate measuring capabilities. From this, reports can be generated and shared, providing evidence for required works, better insight and making key information readily, conveniently available, allowing fast and smart decision making. 

Minimal Intrusion and Disruption

No heavy equipment needed 

Challenge

Manual inspection of a roof, or the exterior of a high-rise, requires scaffolding to be erected and cherry pickers and cranes to be used so that technicians can access heights to check for damage and assess repair and maintenance needs. This can be a lengthy process, requiring heavy equipment and technician presence around the building during inspection and repair and can be disruptive and intrusive for tenants.  

The time-consuming nature of manual inspection, paired with the nationwide repairs backlog worsened by the pandemic, can result in more disruption for tenants with scaffolding and access equipment being left up for long periods of time.

Solution

Drones can access heights and hard to reach areas remotely, identifying maintenance and repair needs fast. This ensures the inspection process is performed quickly, with minimal disruption to tenants as the need for scaffolding and other access equipment is eliminated. Furthermore, intrusion is kept to a minimum as only the pilot and spotter need to be present, as opposed to an entire workforce. 

Because drone-based inspections are cost and time efficient, whilst keeping disruption to a minimum, the ability to perform repeat inspections throughout an asset’s lifespan is made possible. This enables a proactive approach to repair and maintenance workflows, rather than a reactive approach which risks disruption and possibly safety endangerment of occupants.

Environment

Keep your operation green

Challenge

Traditional inspection methods often use carbon intensive transportation, such cranes, and cherry pickers. Additionally, many onsite workers are needed to operate machinery, erect and dismantle scaffolding, and collect the necessary data. The need for numerous personnel to be on site drastically increases the Scope 3 employee commuting emissions for each project. 

Solution

Vantage UAV select locally based pilots from our extensive network and, by inspecting via drones, which have rechargeable batteries, the need for excessive personnel, cherry pickers and cranes is removed, in turn reducing Scope 3 emissions.  

When combined with thermal imaging technology, drones provide precise, comprehensive data on heat loss in buildings which allows repairs to be organized, reducing energy waste and carbon footprint. 

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