A Roof Inspection of Chateau Impney Heritage Building

A Drone Inspection of Chateau Impney Heritage Building

How we cut a maintanance survey down from 4 days to 6 hours…

Hole in finial, possibly caused by lightning strike and likely source of a leak.

Inspecting an inaccessible roof

This case study shows how our drone inspection service enables close-up visual access to otherwise unreachable parts of heritage buildings. We enabled Dorothea Restorations to quickly ascertain the work required to renovate six iron finials (ornamental rooftop metalwork) on a 19th century hotel.

We were contacted by John Wallis, director of Dorothea Restorations, a leading UK specialist in architectural ironwork restoration whose clients include English Heritage and National Trust.

Chateau Impney in Worcester, is a Grade II listed 19th-century house. Now an upmarket hotel, it’s home to the Chateau Impney Hillclimb, a world-renowned heritage motorsport event.

The finials requiring inspection are extremely difficult to access given the building’s design, and a visual survey was required in order to establish which finials needed to be removed for restoration.

An inspection like this might typically use cherrypickers / mobile elevated work platforms (MEWPs). But in this case, a specialist extending MEWP would be required leading to significant costs.

Using a MEWP, John established that a job of this nature would take 3-4 days. This would cost around £3,000 – £4,000, add the safety risk of working at height, and lead to disruption of the hotel’s business. A drone was by far the quickest and most cost effective option.

Close-up image showing deep corrosion – cause for removal and renovation

Exceeding the inspection scope, all in 6 hours

On arrival we spent 30 minutes assessing the site, locating the areas of interest and planning the flying locations. We were ready to go!

Throughout the flights, John was able to view the live camera feed on a separate monitor allowing him to request close-up photos of his particular points of interest, in this case the deeply corroded areas and any holes affecting the building. The four corners of each tower were also photographed, after which a short video was recorded with the drone circling each tower.

Whilst the survey was being carried the location manager requested some images of a flat roof on the modern wing of the hotel to check for sitting water. Using traditional methods, this would have become a separate project with its own bill, but we were able to perform the inspection in a few extra minutes, at no added cost.

There was no disruption to the guests – aside from the notification the front desk made to them of the drone operation, they were not affected in any way.

John and the hotel manager review the images after flights are complete

A satisfied client

Both John and the location manager were impressed with the detail and clarity of the images and footage. It enabled them to zoom in to assess significant damage on the building and thus determine what restoration works were required to rectify the problems.

The deliverables were digital photos and videos, which were reviewed in the Skyhook van before sign off. John had the files on his laptop at the end of the day instead of having to wait days for a report.

Dorothea Restorations are now able to deliver a more effective inspection method to their clients, to give them the information they need in order to deliver their end product sooner and more cost effectively than before.

Hiring Skyhook was a fraction of the cost of using a crane or large MEWP. The photography and video was produced in great detail and clarity enabling us to zoom in to see significant damage on the finials and thus determine what works were required to rectify the problems. The process of surveying was reduced from potentially 3 – 4 days work down to 6 hours. The Client was also very impressed with the flexibility and quality of the drone and photographs. We will certainly be using their services again.

Leave a comment