Council unveils drone service to survey roofs

A council-owned organisation is to start a new drone-based service by surveying the roofs of almost 8,000 local authority homes in the city of dreaming spires.

Oxford Direct Services (ODS) is the service and delivery arm of Oxford City Council. It will offer a variety of drone based services including roof and building surveying, land mapping, aerial photography and filming. Its first job is to inspect the roofs of 7,800 homes it maintains for the council. ODS claims it is the first time a local authority-owned organisation has brought drone services in house.

ODS also said using drones will save time, drive down costs and “reduce the health and safety challenges typically encountered with this type of work”. The organisation has acquired a DJI Phantom 4 Advanced quadcopter drone to carry out the work and has a Civil Aviation Authority licence to offer commercial services.

Simon Howick, managing director at ODS, said: “Hiring a drone firm costs between £300-£1,000 to survey a roof, so with scaffolding expensive and cumbersome it made total sense to invest in the drone equipment, flight training and licensing and add this skillset to our portfolio.”

By Patrick Mooney, editor