Technology & Surveying


As a property manager, one of the biggest issues when planning external works is identifying works to be undertaken at high level where access is not generally available.

The use of contingency figures and provisional sums within Tender Documentation does not give cost certainty and are often unrealistic which results in Lessee’s receiving larger than expected final bills. So how can cost certainty or realistic provisional sums be provided without costly scaffold or access costs which add time to the pre-construction project programme be achieved?   The short answer is by the use of technology, in particular, the use of drone surveys. Technology is becoming more user friendly and adaptable and this is no different within the life of a Chartered Surveyor. Technology usage such as the use of unmanned aircraft, otherwise known as UAVs or Drones, is becoming part of everyday practice.

There are many potential reasons why a surveyor may wish to use UAV’s:

· Hard to locate areas at individual properties (such as components at roof level)
· Large scale agricultural areas
· To help reduce or eliminate potential health and safety risks
· Disruption reduction
· Better images
· Environmental friendliness

Unfortunately, the process is not as simple as an operative and a drone arriving on site and the survey being completed, various approvals have to be obtained. Irrespective of their size, UAV’s are still classified as aircraft and the person in charge of operating the controls is referred to as the pilot, with any drones being used for commercial use requiring permission from the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). Rules also apply to direct sight of the aircraft and flying within certain zones.

Once the survey has been completed, the photographic data recorded during the drone survey can be used by a surveyor to inspect areas of the roof that can not be accessible during a standard building survey from ground floor level. Not only can concealed parts of the roof and the materials used be identified, defects can also be identified which allows a detailed specification to be drawn up at the tender stage. This, in turn, allows contractors to provide realistic costs for the works, pre contract which provides cost certainty and prevents costs from spiralling out of control.

The use of technology of this nature does provide additional costs at the initial survey stage, although the level of detail provided ensures that unrealistic provisional sums are eliminated at an early stage which ensures that cost are fixed and any ‘unknowns’ are identified at any stage.

For all your surveying requirements please contact Chris