Drones are entering the construction trade!




Roger Baltus's column #10

Drones are entering the construction trade!

Make your thermal data assessments and roof diagnoses a piece of cake? This is the lighthearted yet serious promise made by these flying machines equipped with perfectly stable HD cameras, sensors and data processing software. Their size, manoeuvrability and the fact that they can be operated from the ground using a computer or Smartphone make them credible new work tools.

When flying just above rooftops at low altitude, these aircraft make highly accurate assessments, including in the most inaccessible places. With just a few clicks you can obtain data that would have been otherwise difficult and above all dangerous to obtain. I have observed on numerous occasions that roofers take risks all too often when working without scaffolding to carry out roofing diagnosis, assess measurements or observe leaks.

Are drones the perfect new fit for roofers? They are certainly already being used to carry out several tasks in the building trade. They can be acquired at a reasonable price and are very easy to handle. When equipped with a GPS, drones can photograph and film the same viewpoint over a number of weeks. With just a few clicks, photos and films are geo-referenced, data is analysed (surfaces, location of leaks, heat loss…) and stored.

It is reasonable to assume that lightweight drones equipped with cameras will be an integral part of roofers' equipment in the coming decade. As well as reduced risk of falls, accuracy of assessments and comprehensive site monitoring, they also generate added value through improvement of productivity. As assessments will become quicker and more reliable for all types of buildings, roofers will be able to draw up a greater number of estimates. Drones could become a lever for development in this sector.

Today we are all aware of the spectacular use of drones by private individuals and film directors. What is less well known is the fact that the city of Vienna in Austria used drones to ascertain the condition of the roof and gargoyles of its cathedral with a view to renovating the entire building. In Strasbourg, Studiofly - a company specialising in aerial filming using drones - flew a drone over the European Parliament in order to detect any problems on the building's panels. The municipality of the 16th district of Paris also used a drone to assess the condition of the town hall's roof. Harmonie, a leading company specialising in facade renovation, watertightness and roofing for condominiums, uses civil drones to facilitate certain diagnoses for work on facades, watertightness, roofs and also for site monitoring.

It is our role - and even our duty - as an industrial to raise awareness among building professionals of new tools and new practices that will influence their work in the future. This is why we are organising the ZEN TOUR from 23 July until October, a tour featuring thematic evenings for our installer clients on innovative themes that are promising for the future of their business. Drones will be one of the main subjects covered, including flight demonstrations by professionals.

We hope to see you all there!


Roger Baltus
Engineer- Architect
VMZINC Communication Director


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