Maintaining Commercial, Historic and Tall Buildings: The Challenges and Costs

Maintaining a commercial, historic, or tall building is often an expensive and challenging task. The regular inspection and identification of areas that need repair can be difficult to spot or reach, requiring scaffolding, steeplejacks, or other mechanical methods. These challenges often result in a compromise between building integrity, frequency, and budgets available. In many cases we have come across this results in addressing the symptomatic problems that arise rather than identifying potential flaws early on – resulting in inflated repair costs.

Building Management Systems

Implementing a comprehensive building management system can of course help to mitigate risks by automating the inspection process and providing building staff with the ability to track, manage and budget for repairs.

One of the key challenges for building managers is to ensure that when inspections are carried out that the data is clear, concise, and easy to read so that plans can be implemented to rectify. Inspection team/s may visually note areas of concern at the lower levels of the building or structure and supplement with photographs for further analysis. However, this is a slow process and lacks controls to be able to systematically repeat the process and compare results over time.

Management and allocation of tasks to repair teams either in house or contractors relies on a skilled building and project manager to keep track of resources, status, and costs.

Sensitivity of Historic Buildings

Older buildings, by their nature, have different construction methods that were used in their completion. Due to time, weathering and other environmental factors, the materials used in construction have often deteriorated to a point where they are no longer fit for purpose. This can lead to significant problems with the stability of the building itself as well as creating an unsafe working environment for those who occupy or maintain it. 

In addition, there are significant challenges, as well as costs, when scaffolding these buildings to ensure that they are safe to work on.

Working at Height

Another significant cost when maintaining commercial, historic, or tall buildings is the working at height regulations that now apply. These stipulate the minimum requirements for edge protection, fall arrest systems and other safety measures that need to be in place when workers are present. 

The costs associated with these can be significant and, in many cases, will require a specialist contractor to be brought in to carry out the work.

Drone Inspections As An Alternative Method

One solution that is being adopted by an increasing number of building management companies is the use of drones for building inspections. Drones can provide a comprehensive and cost-effective solution to carry out regular inspections, providing high quality images and data that can be stored for future reference.

Costs are saved by negating the need for scaffolding or mechanical inspection process and then into the workflow for reparation project management.

Drone footage is captured in high definition and can be processed into 3D models which can then be used by project managers to create a plan of action.

The benefits are already being seen by those who have embraced it as part of their inspection regime. We expect to see this technology develop further and become more commonplace in the coming years.

As the technology develops, it is important to ensure that your organisation keeps up to date with the latest advances to ensure that you can take advantage of these efficiency gains.

Dedicated Project Management Software

Using software and automation tasks can be readily repeated to a high degree of accuracy which then facilitates more regular checks to be carried out and mitigating unforeseen issues (and costs).

Software is now available for project managers whereby, post the drone data capture, a 2D/3D visual model is created and available to analyse in its entirety from anywhere in the world. This type of software also includes the option to add contractors, repair teams and other personnel, allocate specific tasks and allow them to mark-up their progress all one platform.

Efficient Building Management

So, in conclusion, by utilising a drone building inspection service in combination with an effective building management software solution you can create a streamlined and efficient process for regularly inspecting your commercial, historic, or tall building. This will help to reduce the risks associated with potential repairs, save on costs, and improve communication throughout the project.

If you manage a commercial, historic, or tall building, then investing in a drone building inspection system could save you time and money in the long run.

If you would like to find out more about how we can help you with your drone building inspection needs, then please get in touch. We would be more than happy to discuss your specific requirements and provide a tailored solution.

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City view Drone shot captured by the S4G Drone Services team