Updated: Feb 5, 2020
Most home buyers have no clue how to select a home inspector and what tools the chosen inspector should be using, but one thing they know for a fact- they want the job done right the first time around. While most won’t know what the inspector should do, they sure know when the inspector does not do their job right when the roof leaks or the chimney falls down hurting that unsuspecting squirrel playing in the flower bed. How could this possibly happen? Choosing a home inspector who does not use tall ladders and/or drones almost guarantees you trouble or at least is a solid ingredient in the perfect storm.
Inspecting the roof is essential
When it comes to a home inspection, inspectors should always try to inspect the roof system; yet, sadly, most don’t. Although not required by the Standards of Practice, getting a good view of the roof, wherever possible through the use of ladders, binoculars, cameras, and drone air crafts is essential for a quality inspection. A roof can be dangerous to walk on if it has a steep slope, it’s wet, has ice, or snow on top of it etc. At that point, most home inspectors are unable to substantially report on the roof condition, so they won’t and they’ll leave it out of the report. We get it, the inspector can’t control the weather, but they should not leave their client under the weather either. Realizing the roof was not inspected is not going to be pleasant for a client who has high expectations and has paid the price for such. In these cases, the smart home inspector would use a drone. Using a drone ensures the safety of the inspector without compromising the quality of the inspection for the client…simple win-win theory.
Not everyone can fly a drone
Remember though, not everyone can safely fly a drone. While ladders are self explanatory and mostly safe to use, you can’t simply buy a drone and shoot it in the air. There is a process, and that process involves getting in line with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). In short, we need to attain a Remote Pilot Certificate for operating small unmanned aircraft (UAS) under Part 107 of the FAA guidelines. Sounds pretty impressive; and truthfully, it can be hectic to go through this process. In any case, when it comes to flying a drone for commercial purposes, we should all hold a license to fly one. We also need to be mindful of not hurting anyone or damaging anything by accident and lastly, we need to be aware of the type of airspace we are flying into. The last thing we want as home inspectors is to appear on the news and become the knucklehead inspector that crashed a drone against a commercial airplane, the neighbors’ window or even worse a no fly zone triggering national defense security. Just keep in mind your home inspector needs to be careful and have permissions and clearances to operate the drones they are trying to use.
Should a drone service be included in a standard home inspection?
Yes! The purpose of providing drone services during a home inspection is not to charge more but to merely use it as a tool because it helps to have it as a second option. Now, nothing is better than walking a roof. Walking a roof allows a home inspector to observe roof materials much closer, lift up shingles, inspect behind flashing installations, observe roof penetrations e.g. chimney stacks, plumbing stacks, venting stacks and flashing, etc. However, in some cases, walking on top of them will not be possible. Using a drone, we may be able observe deteriorated roofing materials, debris, flashing installations, deteriorated gutters, clogged gutters, algae, missing mortar/brick on chimney stacks, and even spot a cracked flue liner, missing shingles, etc. In a nutshell, it’s a win-win for everybody. Some inspectors who use a high tech arsenal of tools (including drones) may have slightly higher fees, and that’s reasonable too. In the end, great customer service and quality will always be provided by businesses that understand the importance of exceeding expectations and looking out for their clients.
I hope you found this article useful and interesting. If you are interested in becoming an FAA approved Remote Pilot Operator, well, check out https://pilotinstitute.com/ as they have great content and an easy to learn online course that will take you by the hand and help you pass your Part 107 exam. Catch you on the next one!