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Should you get a drone roof survey?

If you are buying a property and you feel further investigation of the roof is necessary before committing to the purchase, you might consider getting a drone survey. Drone surveys or inspections have become more commonplace over recent years, as an alternative to traditional surveys. But when do you need one, and how much use are they?

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What is a drone roof inspection?

A drone roof survey or inspection is a survey of a building’s roof conducted by a drone or Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV). A drone survey might be used to identify roofing issues that would be too dangerous or expensive to inspect in person.

What are the objectives of a drone survey?

If you are buying a house, you will arrange for a traditional survey to take place. These range from a condition, to a homebuyer to a full structural report, but whichever one you choose they may reveal issues with the roof of the building that require further investigation. A drone survey can be a way of providing an extra layer of detail, and identify the problems or issues that need resolving. Alternatively, a drone inspection can just give you peace of mind that there are no ‘hidden demons’ lurking within your roof.

What are the benefits of a drone roof inspection?

Fast inspections

A drone survey can be completed significantly quicker than a traditional survey. There is no bulky equipment to transport, and once the planning is completed, the drone survey can take less than 30 minutes.


Drone roof inspections are more cost-effective if you require a more extensive survey of your roof. A manual roof survey would require scaffolding to be erected, climbing and access equipment, and there would be an insurance cost for workers making the roof inspection.


Using a drone is much less dangerous than someone climbing a ladder and accessing the roof in person. There is little risk of personal injury, as the drone operator controls the drone remotely from the ground.

More detailed

A drone can capture a high level of detail impossible to the naked eye. It can take measurements, capture video and still images and record sources of heat and environmental data. The information a drone collects is usually available in a format that means it can be accessed and analysed almost immediately by the surveyors.

How accurate are the inspections?

Drone surveys deliver much more comprehensive, accurate and informative data than manual inspections are able to provide. It is not just the footage that drones capture; the devices can employ a range of technology, such as infrared or thermal imaging cameras, to detect leaks and heat loss in roofing cavities.

What are the limitations of a drone survey?

The disadvantages of using a drone as a surveying tool are really the same as any commercial drone. Flight times can be limited, and the technology may be vulnerable to error or malfunction. Bad weather is probably the biggest factor on whether your drone survey is successful or not. High winds can blow a drone significantly off course and make controlling it difficult.

How much does the average drone survey cost?

A basic drone survey of an average sized property might cost around £200. A more comprehensive drone inspection of a larger property could start from £500, but prices will vary from company to company.

Do I really need one?

Before you commission a company to undertake a drone survey, first get specialist advice from a surveyor. They will be able to make a visual inspection of the area of your roof that is causing problems and judge whether a drone survey is required. 

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