Drones for the Inspection of Construction Works

15. January 2016

You can use high-tech drones for the inspection of roofs, construction works and energy efficiency. The deployment of flying robots (drones / UAVs) will reinforce the construction industry. Drones can provide essential information quite quickly on demand for: condition assessment, damage detection, energy efficiency controls of roofs, facades and buildings in general.

Inspect and survey from all perspectives

The Dach+Holz [Roof+Wood trade fair] recognized the market potential of drones as helpful measuring tool for craftsmen, like roofers and builders. A thermography performed with a drone can be a meaningful addition to an energetic building analysis. Accordingly the flying sensing platform ‘AscTec Falcon 8’ will be exhibited at the Dach+Holz in Stuttgart from the 2nd to the 5th of February 2016. Together with Ascending Technologies, the Weimar scientist Norman Hallermann will present new technological applications and solutions for the construction industry, in a special exhibition at the gallery in hall 1.

Inspection & quality control of structures 4.0

The classic field of roofing and carpentry is changing, as is the entire construction industry. Digitalization is now playing a significant role in the modernization of traditional handwork. However modernization in the field is still not helped by terrestrial stations or digital cameras from a ground perspective. One goal is to show new technical possibilities and practical solutions for the entire industry. At the DACH+HOLZ International at the Stuttgart Exhibition Center from 2 to 5 February, trade visitors can experience what the use of drones entails and what they can accomplish.

“Digitalization does not stop at the roofers: They are increasingly looking into the use of drones. When judging a roof, for creating an offer or within the scope of a maintenance contract, it is necessary to receive current data on the state of the roof,” says Karl-Heinz Schneider, President of the Zentralverband des Deutschen Dachdeckerhandwerks (Central Association of German Roofing)

User case: Inspection and survey of the ‘Schiefer Turm der Oberkirche von Bad Frankenhausen’[The Leaning Tower in the Church of Bad Frankenhausen] in Thüringen, Germany.

After all, the advantages of working with drones are supposed to be manifold according to Hallermann, who tested the use of the flying helpers at the Halberstadt Cathedral amongst others places. “The architects of the cathedral regularly checked the roofs and facades with binoculars, and were convinced that everything was in good condition,” he says. However, the drone showed a very different picture, displaying images of numerous damages. At the end, it turned out that both towers needed new roofs. “Many buildings are hard to access.”

Increase inspection frequencies – reduce costs

For some years now Norman Hallermann, the civil engineer and scientist from the Bauhaus University in Weimar, has been dealing with flying mini robots and their possible applications. Together with the company Ascending Technologies from Krailling near Munich, one of the leading manufacturers and developers of professional unmanned aircrafts, he has developed a drone especially for the inspection of building, roofs and facades in a research project. He stresses, “It is not about replacing present work processes or saving labor, but about integrating new high-tech-solutions in daily workflows.”

“Drones will definitely not replace specialists and experts in the future,” Norman Hallermann says, “but they can significantly facilitate their work. Nothing entirely replaces the human eye and the experience of roofers and carpenters.”

Flying helpers at the DACH+HOLZ International

If it would be up to Norman Hallermann, civil engineer and scientist from the Bauhaus University in Weimar, carpenters and roofers would use the support of unmanned aircrafts, such as drones, more frequently in the future. It is now possible to inspect roofs and facades with the help of highly efficient images, even when there is strong wind and no scaffolding. DACH+HOLZ International will present all of the possible applications of the flying helpers, and the associated simplifications for building roofs and facades, in their own special exhibition from 2 to 5 February 2016 in Stuttgart.

Mini-Robots for craftsmen

“Drones facilitate inspections and considerably reduce costs,” Hallermann reports. Scaffolding and barriers which can easily cost tens of thousands of Euros before there is any reconstruction work no longer have to be used. Instead, first inspections can be made with the help of drones since they offer detailed images of roofs and facades, with high-resolution photos, videos or infrared cameras. “The building is recorded from all sides and the images are geo-referenced and therefore there are real measurement data,” Hallermann explains. “That way, damages can be precisely located without someone having to climb up onto the roof”. Even the smallest damages, such as cracks or spalling, or thermal bridges can be detected and documented. With the help of the drone technology, it is supposedly also possible to not only detect the current state, but also the long-term changes through regularly recurring images.

For a roofer, the technology means more about security, flexibility, a current data situation as well as saving time and costs. “The drone takes care of what used to easily take two to three days, in two to three hours,” Schneider adds. Furthermore, the drone has long advanced from the “game platform.” “They are still able to rise in wind force 7, and can measure entire buildings.” Besides the special exhibition, Norman Hallermann is also a guest at the DACH+HOLZ FORUM. During various talks, he will talk about his research with drones and their applications in practice. The AscTec Falcon 8 will also be to be seen at the exhibition, as several flight demonstrations of unmanned aircrafts are planned.

As of now, you can find more information and tickets for the DACH+HOLZ International in the online presale at www.dach-holz.de/en. Vouchers can be redeemed in the ticket shop.