Yorkshire Housing to trial building inspection with drone technology

Connected Places Catapult has brought together Yorkshire Housing and Vantage UAV as part of the Government Drone Pathfinder Catalyst Programme. The programme is sponsored by the Department for Transport (DfT), and supported by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and ARPAS-UK, the drone industry association. Together we aim to accelerate the safe adoption of drones across UK business sectors by engaging with industries and showcase the benefits of integrating drone services into existing workflow. 

Drones are not new to property management but, despite their benefits, drones are not yet widely used across industries. This collaboration with Yorkshire Housing aims to catalyse step-change improvements and provide the evidence to encourage more use of drones to drive safety, productivity, and efficiency for other housing providers. For example, a drone building inspection can offer faster diagnosis and improved service for maintenance repairs at customer properties.  

Often the management, repair and maintenance of properties are major costs to housing providers.  Traditionally physical inspections at height use scaffolding or mobile work platforms to inspect the condition of properties. These can be labour intensive and expensive to set up. Depending on the location, they can also result in disruption, intrusion, and security issues with unauthorised access.

This is where drones come into their own, improving safety and productivity by providing visual access to difficult to reach and hazardous spaces, reducing the use of elevated work platforms. Drones can capture high-quality aerial imaging and 3D models. This leads to quicker and more effective diagnosis whilst saving the cost of inspection expenditure and reducing disruption for customers. Ultimately, drones can support more targeted maintenance and move towards a more preventative maintenance regime in the long term. 

Aviation Minister, Robert Courts said:

“We’re pioneering a golden age of aviation innovation in which drones will play a huge role in not only transforming the future of transport but providing solutions to global issues.

Yorkshire Housing’s trial is the latest in a string of exciting new trials which harness the benefits of drones to provide quicker, cheaper and more effective services for the public.”

Commenting on the programme, Andy Gamble, Executive Director Growth & Assets at Yorkshire Housing, said: 

“It’s really exciting to play a part in the national Drone Pathfinder Catalyst Programme. Yorkshire Housing look after some 18,000 properties across Yorkshire, so drones offer us a real opportunity to improve our service. 

Not only does it make real savings by reducing the need for expensive scaffolding and using heavy machinery to carry safety checks, but it also means our customers can have problems at their homes diagnosed and fixed far sooner.”

Hannah Tew, Director of Air Mobility, Connected Places Catapult said:

“We are delighted to be leading the Drone Pathfinder Catalyst programme on behalf of the Department for Transport and our first demonstration with Yorkshire Housing and Vantage UAV has really shown how drones can be adopted in different sectors to improve existing services.”

Many drone solution service providers are already available on the market, which is expected to grow significantly over the next few years. They can provide end-to-end services even for organisations with little or no experience of using drones. 

The results from the demonstration with Yorkshire Housing will be published towards to end of this month and showcased in a webinar on the 29th June.    

Find out more by registering for Driving productivity using drones in the Housing Sector webinar co-hosted by Connected Places Catapult and Disruptive Innovators Network.