Case Studies

Slate Roof Inspection

 

Executive Summary

Slate roofs pose a challenge for inspections because they can easily be damaged by human foot traffic, thereby preventing a forensic investigator from walking the roof. Donan utilized a multi-rotor UAV to capture the needed visual data to determine the cause of damage to this church roof.

Background

A leak was discovered in a hall on the east side of this church building. Church representatives were concerned that a hailstorm with high winds may have caused damage to the roof coverings. Wind damage occurs to slate roofs when individual slates are lifted and broken. This type of damage occurs on the windward side of the roof and often breaks the slate. In extreme cases, entire sections of slate can be lifted and detached. This project required close visual observations to determine whether the slate had sustained hail or wind damage.

Challenges

The lower slope portions of the church roof were covered with asphalt built-up roofing (BUR) and ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) and were studied using normal investigative methods. However, the slate portion of the roof would have required a lift due to the fragile nature of slate materials. Slate roofs should not be walked on during an investigation because human foot traffic can damage slates. Donan deployed its multi-rotor drone, the DJI Phantom, to capture images and video of the roof as part of the investigation.

UAV Application

Donan’s UAV captured high-definition videos and over 200 photos for the investigation. The project manager was able to review the video and photos on-site, ensuring he had captured all the necessary information to determine a cause, which decreased the report turnaround time. No hail or wind damage was observed on the slate roof, and the leak was determined to be caused by an obstructed scupper, conductor, and downspout. The UAV played an integral part in Donan fulfilling the scope of work for this project while saving the client time and costs associated with renting a lift.

UAV APPLICATION

Inspect slate roof on church

LOSS DESCRIPTION

Determine whether a hailstorm with strong winds caused damage to the roof coverings

HARDWARE

Multi-rotor UAV

Output

High-definition photos taken from UAV

Cedar Shake Roof Inspection

 

Executive Summary

Steep roofs constructed of fragile roofing materials pose a challenge for thorough inspections. To fulfill the scope of work for this project, Donan utilized a multirotor UAV, the DJI Phantom, to capture the data necessary to determine the cause of damage to a residential, cedar-shake roof.

Background

On March 18, 2013, severe storms producing high winds and hail caused widespread property damage throughout portions of Georgia and other states. Although the National Weather Service did not report hail in the general vicinity, the property owners and their contractor believed the 11-year-old, cedar shake roof sustained hail and wind damages from these storms. In order to reach a determination, Donan’s forensic engineer needed to obtain observations that could clearly show whether the shingles contained identifiable marks that cracked the wood and whether any wood shakes had been partially or fully dislodged by wind.

Challenges

Several attributes of this roof and property posed challenges to conducting a thorough investigation into the cause of damage. Cedar shake roofs are easily damaged by foot traffic and should avoid being walked on; upper portions of the shakes were already damaged due to human foot traffic during prior inspections. In addition to the fragile roofing material, the roof’s steep slope required a lift or crane to inspect, adding time and cost. Finally, the grade of the yard and the property’s close proximity to a neighboring residence made it difficult to accommodate either a lift or crane.

UAV Application

The multirotor UAV captured high definition videos and approximately 200 photos of the property. The videos and photos were reviewed onsite to ensure all the necessary data was collected. Donan’s forensic engineer was able to determine the cause of roof damage by studying the high-definition imagery captured by the UAV. The video and photos provided more extensive visual observation of hard-to reach areas on the roof than what would have been possible from a limited ladder-top only study. In addition to a successful investigation, utilizing the UAV for this project saved the rental and operator costs associated with a lift or crane, as well as shortened the turnaround time.

UAV APPLICATION

Steep, cedar shake roof inspection

LOSS DESCRIPTION

Determine the cause of damage to the cedar shake roof covering

HARDWARE

Multirotor UAV

Output

High-definition photos and video taken from UAV

Water Tower Inspection

 

Executive Summary

Scaling tall structures is not standard training for adjusters or forensic engineers, but there are times when a claim investigation may call for just that. Because Donan is on the leading edge of developing innovative solutions, they deployed their Multirotor UAV to inspect a water tower, ensuring the safety of the investigator who never had to leave the ground.

Challenges

This project called for an inspection of antennas mounted on a water tower. The scope of the inspection was to determine whether the antennas were wind damaged.  There was no cage built around the ladder leading to the catwalk at the top of the water tower, and this posed a safety risk to an investigator climbing the tower.

UAV Application

Donan deployed their Multirotor UAV, DJI Phantom, to capture video and photos of the antennas. The visual data allowed for a determination to be made regarding possible damage to the antennas. Utilizing the UAV provided a safer alternative to having an investigator climb the water tower to make visual observation.

UAV APPLICATION

Capture images of water tower antennas

LOSS DESCRIPTION

Determine whether there is any visible wind damage to the antennas mounted to the catwalk on the water tower

HARDWARE

Multirotor UAV

Output

High-definition photos taken from UAV