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Time, weather and occupants take a steady toll on institutional and commercial facilities. To monitor the impact of these forces, maintenance and engineering departments rely on a range of tools and practices, from moisture meters and infrared imagers to aerial work platforms and walking inspections of key areas and components.
Unfortunately, some important areas of facilities are nearly impossible to reach. Fortunately, drones are giving front-line technicians that reach.
Miami University’s physical facilities department has begun using drones to inspect the roofs and gutters of some buildings, according to a university press release. A campus project looked at the way drones could increase department efficiency, and one idea was to use them for visual inspections of roofs, gutters, chimneys and cupolas. Normally, a mobile elevating work platform is used to enable employees and contractors to do inspections and repairs.
The Physical facilities department hired contractors to inspect four academic buildings that are difficult to access due to their height and location. The contractor also recently inspected Miami’s residence and dining halls. Students are notified three days in advance anytime a drone will be flown near their residence hall, although the camera cannot see into the rooms due to its angle. The drone operator slowly scans the entire roof, takes photos of problem areas and sends the photos back to the physical facilities department.
Dan Hounsell is editor-in-chief of Facility Maintenance Decisions.