As the Estates Surveyor for Potter Space, I am involved with the procurement and management of building works across our five estates including new developments, refurbishment projects, alterations, repairs, and maintenance works.
In the summer of last year, the Potter Space team decided it would help me and our customers enormously if I could ‘take to the skies’ and get an aerial view across the 1.6 million square feet of buildings across our five business parks.
I enrolled on a PFCO course provided by Heliguy at Ramside Hall in Durham. It was a three-day course, concluding with a comprehensive flight assessment once the classroom-based works had been completed and the written exams passed. I was delighted to pass the assessment, which means I am now a CAA approved drone pilot.
When I started the training, none of us knew what was around the corner and the dreadful pandemic which was to change our lives. With social distancing now essential to help combat Covid-19, we will all need to adapt how we work.
I am in the fortunate position of being able to carry out much of my job extremely effectively while reducing close contact with others.
I can also take footage from outside the boundary of the business park, if necessary, which will also increase the efficiency of site visits.
From a safe distance I can carry out detailed and high-level inspections of buildings, to help identify the condition of external areas and spot any defects that may need attention. This is particularly useful, as part of the survey documentation following practical completion of a building, as it allows me to quickly and safely identify any snagging issues which need to be remedied.
I can also undertake routine flights to gain aerial images across all sites to compare each property, over six-monthly intervals, to log any deterioration of the high-level elements of the buildings. Furthermore, any problems Identified can be remedied before they become a major problem, which can save a great deal of money in the long run.
The drone is also a great benefit for our existing customers, as I can undertake external inspections of the buildings to spot any issues raised, much faster than before, as there is no need for anyone to physically go on the roof, which normally requires Mobile Lift Platforms.
For example, a customer recently alerted us to an issue with the roof covering. I attended the site, made a full inspection of the roof, using the drone, and identified the cause of the problem following a review of the footage. I also sent videos and images to the customer so they could understand the issues, together with an outline of how they would be resolved, as well as using them to brief the contractors.
In addition, I have already captured some great images which have been uploaded to the website and used in presentations and for marketing materials.
This all goes to prove that at Potter Space the sky really is the limit.