PROPERTY INSPECTIONS ARE REACHING NEW HEIGHTS WITH DRONES March 6, 2023 | Home Maintenance , Home Inspection , Safety | roof , new homeowner , home seller , real estate , moving When students try to predict their future careers, they face a tall task. More likely than not, their future career probably doesn’t even exist yet! Technology is advancing at a breakneck pace, and as a result, workers are finding themselves in exciting new fields and industry standards are transforming every year. These new technologies give many professions brand new tools which allow them to accomplish things scarcely imagined in the past. In the property inspection industry, a tool that’s finding its way into many inspectors’ tool belts and may be revolutionizing the field is the drone. What Are Drones? Drones are a short-hand name used when referring to Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (or UAVs). This general term refers to an incredibly wide range of devices that have been used in various recreational activities, to capture footage for films, and even to perform reconnaissance in warfare. Though they started out as mostly a novelty when made available to the public, drones have quickly become a tool to aid various commercial enterprises. In the field of property inspections, drones are more lightweight than some of their industrial counterparts. Property inspectors are restricted to units weighing under 55 pounds, but most are under three pounds total. These drones typically consist of an “X”-shaped frame, with a propeller at each end, motors, a battery and interior components, and a high definition camera. With a fair bit of modular capabilities, drones can be adjusted to fit the needs of the inspector, or the unique needs of a particular job. How Do Property Inspectors Use Drones? During a home inspection, one of the most dangerous parts of the job is the roof inspection. Roofs have many hazards that may not be immediately visible, such as moss buildup, slippery debris like snow or leaves, or unaddressed fire damage. Oftentimes the greatest danger that roofs pose come from their steep grade. While property inspectors will always conduct as thorough an inspection as possible (within the scope of the job), a roof’s construction can limit an inspector’s view and pose unneeded risks. With drones, roof inspections are not only safer, they can be done with a level of detail that was previously impossible. Drone cameras collect high-resolution footage spanning the entirety of the roof and their maneuverability allows inspectors to capture angles and navigate to areas that may otherwise be inaccessible. Specially-designed lenses can be used to capture problems invisible to the human eye, and even chimneys can be more closely examined with sophisticated zooming features. Roof inspections are one of the most important actions that homeowners should take to ensure proper maintenance of their properties because roofs are one of the most expensive parts of a home to repair or replace. With drone footage, inspectors can find any issues with drainage, signs of leakage, and markers that may indicate a roof is nearing the end of its lifespan. What Are The Requirements To Pilot A Drone Commercially? Drones are sophisticated tools, and commercial use of these tools comes with a set of requirements to ensure pilots are sufficiently responsible and capable. In short, property inspectors are held to a higher standard than a general, recreational drone pilot. Commercial drone operators must first obtain their Remote Pilot Certificate (RPC), following mandates outlined by the Federation Aviation Administration (FAA). To become licensed, property inspectors take the IAKT, which is an aeronautical competency test administered by the FAA similar to ones taken for private pilot’s licenses. FAA-certified pilots are trained to evaluate weather conditions, operate within compliance of local airspace and flight restrictions, and perform consistent safety protocols before any drone flight. With the right experience and the right tools, property inspectors are moving their industry to a whole new level. The benefit for homeowners? Fewer surprises and more peace of mind! Interested in booking a home maintenance inspection? Contact your local NPI property inspector and schedule your next checkup today!