Oxford Direct Services (ODS) (https://www.oxford.gov.uk/news/article/859/game_of_drones_ods_launches_commercial_drone_services_in_oxford), the service delivery and commercial arm of Oxford City Council, has announced that it is to start providing drone-based services to include roof and building surveying, land mapping, aerial photography and filming.
Initially, ODS will focus on surveying the roofs of 7,800 properties it maintains on behalf of Oxford City Council.
“The use of drones will save time, drive down costs and reduce the health and safety challenges typically encountered with this type of work,” according to ODS. “Commercial surveying, mapping, aerial photography and filming will be competitively priced consistent with each customer’s specific requirements.”
Ben Strang, ODS’ project leader of drone services, says: “I was a felt roofer for 15 years. If you’re working on low to high rise housing blocks to identify, for example, pest entry points or find roof leaks, putting up scaffolding is at best a very hit and miss process. You erect the scaffolding where you think the source of the issue lies but if it’s not there you then waste time and money moving the scaffolding tower. Using a drone resolves this and helps us pinpoint exactly where we need to work so that we can do first-time fixes and enhance efficiency…”
“We’ll be very proactive with residents to safeguard their privacy. This means we’ll inform people by letter when we’ll be operating, the reasons for it and offer them the footage if they so wish. This is all documented in our operations manual which had to be approved by the CAA as part of our licensing process.”
All drone operators need the permission of the individual landowner to fly over their land. In the Oxford area, drone services can be delivered quickly as ODS is already authorised by the Council to do this.
Simon Howick, Oxford Direct Services’ managing director, says: “Hiring a drone firm to survey a roof costs between UKP300-1000, with scaffolding also expensive and cumbersome. It made total sense to invest in the drone equipment, flight training and licensing and add this skillset to our portfolio. It will pay for itself within a year, we’ll save money for our main customer – Oxford City Council – with drones becoming an additional revenue stream given we can now offer local businesses and residents surveying, mapping, photography and filming services.”