In 2017, Grenfell tower was involved in a terrible fire that took 72 lives. The cladding material was pointed at to be the cause of this devastating tragedy. All the UK buildings and Hi-Rise towers that use cladding on their facades have now to be inspected and cladding panels replaced if made of combustible materials. The average cost of over 18m building inspection has been estimated at an average of £250 000 per building when using traditional methods such as Rope Access and Scaffoldings.
These methods of facade inspection consume a lot of precious time to be installed and put at risk inspectors having sometimes to work at insane heights.
As in now many other sectors of the construction industry, the use of Drone technology brings efficiency, speed, and safety to the workers, enabling inspectors and surveyors to assess the condition of the facades from the safety of the ground at literally a fraction of the cost.
When operating a Cladding Survey, our professional Drones equipped with High Definition cameras take crisp sharp, zoomable pictures, that can be shared with other inspectors, surveyors, property managers, and stakeholders and not only the ones present on the scaffolding or using other manned methods of survey.
CamFly Films has been instructed in February 2022 to conduct a drone cladding inspection of a 23 storeys building in London, to be used as a reference during the works scheduled on the facades of the building.
Our mission was to take pictures of all the cladding panels covering the tower, and to number each panel of interest for reference if necessary.
It took us about 65 hours to complete the facades inspection, delivering High resolution, zoomable pictures identifying every cladding panel on the 4 elevations of the building.
After a visit to the site and a meeting with the Project Manager and Façade manager, it was decided to fly the drone manually from bottom to top in a horizontal scanning fashion, taking overlapping pictures of the cladding panels to be numbered in postproduction.
All the necessary permissions were then put in place to proceed to the cladding inspection by drone, permission to operate from the owner of the building, the contractor, the Council, the Tower security office, and the London city Airport protection zone where the tower happens to be located. The Metropolitan Police was notified every day during the aerial works and the residents were made aware of the drone operation. The drone was taking off and landing in a safe zone away from the public path, and at 10m away from the facades of the building when in flight to keep away from the footpath and mitigate the risks for uninvolved people and property.
Every session started with an on-foot visit of the site and a dynamic survey and Risk assessment to identify any new or temporary hazard including checking the presence of working site engines, measurement of electromagnetic interferences, and strength of the wind, which was always a concern in this area, not only because of the location of the tower next to the Thames River on a wide, open and flat area but also because of the constant urban winds raised from the air circulation between numerous low and tall buildings present in the area.
All the 3000 identified and numbered cladding panels pictures were delivered electronically to the clients who could in turn start to process them for the purpose of their request.
Drones and Safety
Safety for people and property is paramount. Aerial roof surveys and inspections by drone can only be operated by a CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) certified and authorised drone operator, to comply with legal regulations regarding the use of unmanned aircraft for commercial operations in the UK Airspace. Camfly Films Ltd is CAA certified since 2014, UAS754 and fully insured with liability to up to 5M, and more if necessary.
Camfly Films Ltd holds an OSC Operational Authorisation to fly our high end professional drones at 10 meters from uninvolved people, properties, vehicles, vessels and structures, in central London and all congested areas.
Because of this special and very unique permission, we can provide legally a better service than the majority of the competition while keeping safe people and property and their occupants, using this extended permission we received from the CAA.
Identification mesh for facade survey
Facade and roof survey by drone
Identification mesh for Tower facade survey
Identification mesh for facade survey