Drones invade the roofing biz – For good, not evil

Unmanned drones used to inspect rooftops

Now that roofing contractors’ have their hands on those little camera-equipped quadcopter drones often associated with military covert operations, all hell’s about to break loose! (…Deep breath) Luckily that’s not the case here, but a forward-thinking roofer in Lincoln, Nebraska is taking the technology to new heights.

Luke Hansen, of White Castle Roofing, recently began using unmanned drones to speed up roof inspections and estimates. He states that it’s not only quicker, but it’s also safer for the roofing crew. That’s true, assuming catastrophic failure of the flying drone doesn’t cause additional damage to roofs, let alone people on the ground.

Drones used to inspect roofs

The pintsize aircraft are powered by four helicopter blades and controlled remotely by a person on the ground. A high-res camera – such as a GoPro – attached to the bottom of the drone records video of the roof, making it easy for roofers to inspect for damage, such as missing shingles, hail damage, water ponding or broken tiles.

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Hansen says the technology recently helped save his crew 5 hours of inspection work. His company needed to inspect 11 four-story buildings for roof damage, which would’ve normally taken about six hours. With the help of his trusty drone, he was able to inspect all the roofs in just one hour and that’s without any of his crew stepping foot on any of the roofs. Pretty impressive.

Drones make roofing inspections easier

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) isn’t so intrigued by the idea, however. It wants stricter regulations of these “unauthorized unmanned flights.” An FAA spokesman says a specific set of guideline regarding the use of unmanned aircraft in situations like this will be put into place by the end of 2014.

Until then, the FAA can do little to prevent roofing companies – or anyone for that matter – from utilizing quadcopters or similar flying devices for commercial purposes. There are a couple of pending cases involving the FAA and drone users, but little is likely to occur until the FAA puts some regulations down on paper.

drone inspects a roof from above

The cost of a drone like Hansen’s runs about $300 to $500, or higher for top-of-the-line models. The camera costs an additional $300 or so. For less than a $1,000 investment, that’s some pretty cool technology to help speed up the workflow of most roofing companies, particularly those that do work on high rises, steep-pitched roofs, or roofing structures potentially unsafe to walk on.

Watch the KETV video of this story here.

Via: KETV of Omaha, NE