The Manchester-based chartered building surveying practice, part of the Livingcity Group of Companies, has launched a commercial drone surveying business called Ascent.
The unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) service follows the qualification of Robert Barnes, the firm's senior building surveyor, as a remote pilot approved by the Civil Aviation Authority to fly a drone on a commercial basis.
Clients will be able to use Ascent to accurately survey all building elevations in real time including areas where access would otherwise prove difficult or prohibitively expensive. This could be used for condition surveys, dilapidation surveys, roof surveys, defect inspections and specification compliance jobs as an alternative to scaffolding and 'cherry pickers'.
It also removes health & safety issues associated with people working at height.
The service uses a quad-copter, camera and gimbal system to take HD quality video at 60 frames per second which can also be converted into high quality stills. Ascent is not only suitable for professional surveys but can also be used for marketing videos and photography.
Robert Barnes said: "The popularity of UAVs has soared over the past 12 months but Ascent is not a toy; it's a professional service so it was imperative that we launched it with the approval of the CAA. The examinations and flight assessment that I went through were tough but the process was worth it. I'm now looking forward to rolling Ascent out to clients across the UK."
Each flight will be planned in advance and will strictly adhere to the guidelines set out by the CAA, including rigorous pre-flight checks. Relevant notifications are also made to neighbourhoods where Ascent is being used.