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Why Use Drones for Commercial Roof Inspections?

A recent Tech Forecast from Fast Company highlighted commercial drones as one of the most important tech innovations of the year — especially in regards to roofing and real estate.

For property owners, facility managers, and real-estate developers, drone technology for commercial rooftop inspections is a real game-changer. We already know how important rooftop inspections can be. In addition to forming a pivotal role in insurance claims, regular inspections are key for maintenance, energy savings, and preventing costly repairs down the road.

By utilizing drone technology, you can enjoy greater speed, efficiency, and cost savings during inspections for your commercial retail establishment, hospital, school, or warehouse. In addition, you can reap the clear benefits of drone use in thermal imaging. Let’s take a closer look.


Why would you need to inspect a commercial roof?

In many cases, commercial roof inspection is necessary for insurance adjusters — either to make an insurance claim or to purchase insurance for a warehouse or other large building. But aside from insurance considerations, having a roof inspection is pivotal for several other reasons:

  • Regular maintenance. It’s impossible to overstate the importance of regular maintenance. With routine roof inspections, you’ll be checking for damaged vents and gutters, assessing for debris, and checking for standing water or roof bubbling.
  • Safety. Your roof protects your building and its inhabitants from the elements and the outside world. Decay and deterioration puts the entire building at risk — and the people who work inside.
  • Save money. Replacing a flat roof can cost $5-10 per square foot. Multiply that by 20,000 square feet, and you have an extraordinarily pricey renovation on your hands. Skip the expense by maintaining the roof you already have through regular inspections.
  • Energy savings. Water leakages and damaged insulation don’t just impact the health of your roof — they cost your enterprise daily in increased heating and cool costs. Save money on energy by identifying areas of faulty insulation.

Thermal Inspections for Commercial Rooftops

Let’s talk about the importance of thermal imaging for regular roof maintenance, savings, and safety purposes — in addition to its importance in insurance claims. A variety of causes, like poor initial installation, damage from storms and hail, and deterioration after time can cause leaks in a commercial rooftop.

When a roof has a leak, water can accumulate and soak the roof’s decking and insulation. Obviously, damage to the building’s insulation translates into money lost from poor insulation. It also expedites decay and deterioration, leading to even more expensive issues down the line.

Thermal imaging cameras like the FLIR (forward looking infrared radiometer) allow roof inspectors to locate areas of wetness and identify leaks on a commercial rooftop. In a nutshell, this technology works because dry and damp areas have key differences in temperature. FLIR cameras can detect these temperature differences and create a thermal image of any problem areas.

In addition, FLIR cameras can help measure your rooftop’s energy efficiency. They can help you hone in on areas of air intrusion into your roof, and analyze the for wiring issues that will cost you over the long run.

Thermal Imaging of the Past: Handheld Thermal Guns

In the past, thermal guns with FLIR cameras were the standard for rooftop inspection. Due to the large size of commercial rooftops, using a handheld thermal gum is extremely time-consuming and expensive, requiring the inspector to traverse the entire rooftop to get an accurate image. In addition, the angle for handheld devices on a rooftop is often awkward since the individual obviously can’t gain an aerial view.

Why Use Drones for Rooftop Inspections and Thermal Imaging?

There’s a reason why commercial drones have experienced explosive growth, projected to grow to more than 420,000 by 2021 (from 42,000 in 2016). By and large, drones offer a relatively inexpensive and efficient method of rooftop exploration — backed by professionals. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of using drones for commercial rooftop inspection:

1. Efficient & cost effective alternative to handheld thermal guns

As opposed to handheld thermal guns, drones can examine a commercial rooftop more efficientlyand with less expense. In many ways, the cost and efficiency differences are due to simple logistics: a drone’s speed and versatility gives it a clear advantage over a physical handheld inspection.

2. Aerial views offer enhanced inspections

With drones’ aerial view, you’ll be getting a bird’s eye view of your commercial rooftop. In addition to catching faulty insulation, leaks, and standing water, you’re going to have high-resolution photos of anything else on your rooftop that needs maintenance. This includes debris, damage, cracking, bubbling, mold, and possible safety hazards.

3. Speeds suitable for large rooftops

Remember the drone that set the Guinness World Record for speed at 163 mph? While your rooftop inspection drone won’t be going quite as fast as that, the fact remains that drones can cover vast distances in a short amount of time. Those with large commercial rooftops will definitely reap the benefits of speed — especially if you have insurance claim deadlines to meet.

4. Geared toward insurance claims

When it comes to filing an insurance claim on your commercial rooftop, you need high-quality, high-definition images that are going to ease along the process. For example, commercial rooftop inspections with drones can focus specifically in areas that are being fixed or under dispute with insurance agencies. Armed with these high-resolution photos, it’s easy to expedite the process.

5. Backed by professionals

It’s true: during a drone inspection, the drone itself is doing the flying. However, each and every inspection was undertaken by a drone is backed by a team of human professionals doing what they do best. For example, the best rooftop inspection services don’t just take pictures — they have a licensed thermographer available to help analyze results.

Mile High Drones for Commercial Warehouse Roof Inspections

At Mile High Drones, we provide roof inspections and thermal imaging for commercial buildings. Our team of drone operators is fully trained and compliant to bring you the best in service — while a USAF (United States Air Force) veteran handles our operations. As a team, we treat each and every inspection with professionalism and efficiency — and bring our 20 years of combined experience to fit your needs. If you’d like to connect with us and discuss services, please contact us today.

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