The arrival of Drones in Canadian ICI Roofing

By Simon Fenn
In February 4, 2016
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We all refer to them as drones so we can depend on the authorities to give them different names just to confuse us all.  Transport Canada has named them Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAV) which at least is consistent with other international bodies.  (In this paper for context I’ll flip from drone to UAV but they are essentially the same thing).  Drones also have been referred to as “Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS); Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) and Remotely Operated Aircraft (ROA)”.

As we arrange general liability insurance on behalf of a large volume of leading OIRCA roofing contractors, Fenn & Fenn Insurance Practice Inc. has been researching the rapid increase in the commercial use of UAVs, as it seems inevitable there will be increased use of UAVs very soon in ICI roofing (roofing).  Standard general liability insurance excludes liability arising from the operation of aircraft; special arrangements need to be made to accommodate this potentially advantageous tool to roofers and consultants to ensure you are adequately protected in the event of an accident.  The use of UAVs in roofing has been mostly on the consulting side so far including “visual inspections to assess damage, showing the customer videos of work done or to be done, gathering general size information, and before and after photos”.

The commercial uses of UAVs are rising so rapidly that the various regulatory authorities in Canada, the USA and overseas are scurrying to bring about regulations so as to avoid violation of “airspace laws and threats to the public (for example injury, privacy and property damage) or national security”.

A Canadian example of the use of drones in roofing was described in BUSINESS VANCOUVER under a contract awarded to Victoria Aerial Survey which launched a drone above the British Columbia legislature to check on the gold leafed statue of Captain George Vancouver, the copper dome and the general roof condition.  The property managers wanted to avoid the safety regulations, access permissions and potential roof damage that could arise from sending a team of inspectors onto the 116 year old structure.  The drone was equipped with video and a high – definition camera and took detailed pictures of the roof.  The results showed that what had been assumed as bird droppings on the statue was base metal showing through the gold leaf.

[1] John Mitchell – The Use of Drones in Roofing – The Estimating Edge -08/24/15

[2] John Mitchell – The Use of Drones in Roofing – The Estimating Edge – 08/24/15

[3] John Mitchell – The Use of Drones in Roofing – The Estimating Edge – 08/24/15

[4] Frank O’Brien – Drones Pave the Way for Easier Roof Inspections – BUSINESS VANCOUVER – 3/18/15

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