UAV (Drone) Surveys

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, commonly referred to as “drones” offer a practical alternative to traditional methods of high level inspection based on ladders, scaffolding or elevating working platforms.

Oldfield Smith & Co operate to the highest professional standards using the latest drone technology

We have used drone surveys on many occasions in connection with schedules of dilapidation or condition but they are increasingly useful in fault finding, routine inspection and planning preventative maintenance.  Drones are particularly good for inspecting roofs, gutters and chimneys on larger buildings where “cherry pickers” may struggle to provide enough reach over the building or where there are valley gutters located some distance from the perimeter.  They can also assist where roof coverings are fragile and unable to accommodate physical access.

UAV operations offer real advantages, including :

  • quick to deploy, offering faster attendance
  • significantly cheaper than scaffolding or cherry pickers
  • minimal disruption on site
  • quiet and unobtrusive in operation
  • improved safety by minimising working from height
  • better quality data through closer access and greater reach

Aerial photography and survey work completed by Oldfield Smith & Co adjacent to London Gatwick Airport and within the Gatwick Flight Restriction Zone.  This work was completed with all necessary consents in place; please note that it is a criminal offence to fly within a Flight Restriction Zone without authorisation – click to enlarge


Oldfield Smith & Co are now able to offer drone surveys directly, using our own equipment.  Bernard Smith, our Head of Professional Services, holds General Visual Line of Sight (GVC) and A2 Certificates of Competence, allowing him to fly larger UAV’s in both the Specific and Open categories at reduced separation distances.

Our smaller drone (DJI Mini 3 Pro) is light enough to be flown in the A1 Open category, which greatly reduces restrictions on flight, yet still offers 4k video and high resolution 48 megapixel still images.  Because it can be flown in close proximity to uninvolved people, it is ideal for use in town centres and other busy locations.  It is also great for assessing the general condition of roofs and other high level components.  When fitted with propeller guards, the Mini 3 is very well suited to flight within buildings and can be used to assess high level steelwork, the undersides of roofs and rooflights as well as flues and ductwork.

For higher resolution work, we use larger drones and have the DJI Phantom 4 Pro on fleet.  This is equipped with a professional camera offering a 1 inch CMOS sensor at 20 megapixels with a mechanical shutter and can record 4k video at 60 frames per second.  Our Phantom are is capable of providing land surveying data including :

  • orthomosaics
  • digital surface models
  • digital terrain models
  • contours
  • 3d models


An aerial panorama of a site we recently surveyed in Basingstoke.  Click and drag to move around the image

As commercial operators we hold specialist aviation insurance and naturally work to the highest standards of safety.  We can offer drone surveys in most locations across the South-East, although in compliance with CAA regulations, some locations are subject to flight restrictions and may require specific consent prior to operations.

To see how we can help and to obtain a quotation, contact us on 01825 762222.