Are Drones the Future of Building Inspections?

Drones are unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV’s) that can fly in the air. They’ve been an extremely popular tech gadget for consumer use but slowly, industry uses are being applied. It may seem like drones are a new phenomenon but the technology actually dates back to WWI military use. 

A Business Insider article outlines how drones have changed over time through seven progressive generations that range in capabilities. First generation is characterized by basic remote control capabilities. Second generation includes manual piloting and audio-visual capabilities such as camera and video recording. Generations 3-5 progressively have better audio-visual capabilities like 360 degree visuals and safety features including autopilot. Generations 6-7 have enhanced safety features which allow drones to be more suitable for commercial use. These safety features include various piloting modes, accurate sensors, airspace and autonomy awareness and auto-action allowing for self-takeoff, landing and independent mission execution (Business Insider, 2017). 

Most drone technology is currently in generation 5. There have been significant investment, research and advancements already underway for generation 6 and 7 drone technology which will allow drones to be more applicable for commercial use (Business Insider, 2017). 

Commercial industries are starting to leverage drone technology as they become more cost effective, easier to use, safer and more independent. 

Benefits of drones include:
  • Increased work efficiency and productivity
  • Access into unsafe or hard-to-reach areas such as roofs, confined spaces, outdoor landscape etc.
  • Speed
  • Automation

Using drones for building inspections 

One commercial use of drones is to complete building inspections. Drones have already started to be used on roofs and confined spaces but their application is limited to photo and video footage. Using drones to complete building inspections is in the conceptual stage but is a very interesting and realistic solution. Each drone would be programmed to know what and when to inspect. If the drone identified a problem, it would be able to document and send an alert to the right staff members to ensure deficiencies are corrected. 

We’ve been testing out drones ourselves. So far our experience with drones is that they are hard to maneuver, have a short flying time, require extensive programming for drones to know the route and of course, come with security issues. Despite that, we think the industry application of drones will soar in the next 10 years as these issues are worked out. 

Since we think the use of drones will soar in the future, it’s important to understand where and how they can be applied. We’ve curated some examples of other drone use cases and live examples of their application below. 
Examples of drone use cases include:


Drone Technology and Usage: Current Uses and Future Drone Technology. Business Insider. July 13, 2017.