The use of drones for commercial use in the U.S. is skyrocketing, thanks to the rapid advancement of drone and image capture technologies that benefit multiple industries, including the roofing industry. Previously drones were only used by the military for surveillance.
How Drones Can Help Roofers
Drones – also known as unmanned aerial vehicles or remotely piloted aircraft – are very attractive to business owners for a number of reasons. They’re relatively inexpensive at $1,000 or less; they produce high-resolution video; and they give clients a bird’s eye view of inaccessible areas and extreme heights. For roofers, drones could be put to good use for the following purposes:
- Gathering general size information.
- Performing visual inspections to assess damage.
- Showing the customer videos of work done or to be done.
- Demonstrating before and after photos.
White Castle Roofing of Lincoln, Nebraska, uses a drone to prepare roofing estimates — recently they were able to get video of 11 four-story apartment buildings in one hour, an assessment that would otherwise have taken nearly six hours.
What’s to Come
The use of drones in the roofing industry is technically not yet legal and requires specific permission from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), even though the agency has no way to monitor and track drone flights, and no manpower to enforce the regulations. In addition, the Wall Street Journal reports that 17 states have passed laws that restrict how drones can be used by citizens and law enforcement, while 29 others are considering similar legislation.
However, the FAA has granted limited exemptions to commercial companies to utilize drones, including State Farm Insurance. The insurer is the first with plans to use drones to check roofs before issuing policies, to inspect roofs for damage and for renewals and claims handling.
There is no doubt drones will eventually be used in the roofing industry once rules and regulations are established. When this happens, both contractors and customers will be able to reap the benefits of this convenient advanced technology.
Stay tuned for more industry updates from Southeastern Metals™, a Gibraltar Industries Company, and be sure to ask for SEMCO products from your local distributor.