White drone, quadrocopter, with photo camera

Drone Documents Condition of State’s Tallest Building

  February 19, 2019

By Dan Hounsell

Commercial drones are becoming increasingly popular technology among maintenance and engineering managers. They provide access to areas of institutional and commercial facilities that are difficult if not impossible to reach. Among the most common applications involves facade inspection, which enables managers and technicians to view inaccessible facade components without the need for ladders or scaffolding.

The use of drones to inspect one Rhode Island facility is at the center of a debate on the building’s condition. An investigation by GoLocalProv that included drone footage shot of the exterior condition of the vacant Superman building raises questions about the state of Rhode Island’s tallest building. The footage shows hundreds of cracks, crevices, and chipping of the limestone exterior of the building. The decay appears to have dramatically increased over the past two-plus years.

A spokesman for the building’s owner says the building is well-maintained. The company refused to answer numerous questions about the condition of the facade, as well as efforts to maintain and improve the condition of its exterior.

In 2016, GoLocal captured images of representatives of an insurance company who repelled down the building to conduct an inspection. Photos from that 2016 inspection compared to GoLocal’s drone footage and photography a significant increase in the decay of the facade. The building has been empty since 2013.

Dan Hounsell is editor-in-chief of Facility Maintenance Decisions and FacilitiesNet.com.



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