Lead Forensics
Prettys Solicitors Ipswich
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Comment from a contact

October 2016 - Issue 86

Our specialist teams of experts here at Prettys are always keen to find new ways of assisting our clients to achieve their objectives; often this involves consideration of issues that are broader than just the core legal questions.  A topical article we circulated earlier in 2016 entitled Drones and the law generated much interest, both within and beyond our construction and development contacts. Building on that momentum, we include below the comments of one of our surveyor contacts who has recent experience of the benefits of using drones specifically in the property and construction industries.

Drones in Surveying

Stephen Platten, Whybrow Chartered Surveyors


The surveying industry is constantly advancing and more recently through the use of drones (unmanned aerial vehicles) to conduct surveys for building/ roof defects. The use of drones is strictly regulated through the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and any provider must comply with their safety procedures and standards and have full public liability insurance cover.

The use of a drone to inspect buildings and structures is proving invaluable, particularly at height where access is limited or impossible. The experience that we at Whybrow have had is that they provide high definition pictures and/or videos which can be produced in electronic or hard copy formats. In our opinion they have provided us with greater detail than we could obtain from any other type of access equipment. This allows us to identify the condition of the specific building fabric or location and highlight any defects and future maintenance requirements.

We have recently used drones to inspect two commercial premises at which due to adjacent properties, boundaries and general access, we would not have been able to obtain such a thorough view of the roof finishes, rainwater goods and external cladding fixings. The result for us was to provide a detailed report supported by clear photographic evidence.

There are multiple benefits to surveyors and clients alike. 

As with anything there are negatives, although in these circumstances it is purely the weather such as high winds and rain.

The clients also gain in that the use of a drone is more cost effective and there is less disruption to their daily business and the detailed report enables more accurate pricing of any remedial works that are identified.

The costs do vary quite considerably from £150 to £500 per flight.  However, there are very strict rules on drone use and the provider must comply with the Civil Aviation Authority’s requirements.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions, views or policy of Prettys Solicitors LLP.


Stephen Platten BSc (Hons) MRICS

Head of Building Surveying

Whybrow Chartered Surveyors

T: 01206 577667

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