Webinar : Flying together for efficiency : Strategic use of drones for thermal inspections of facades and roofs

Table of contents

On August 29, 2023, DroneXperts organized a webinar : Flying together for efficiency : Strategic use of drones for thermal inspections of facades and roofs. This presentation was produced by David Bibeau, strategic support consultant at DroneXpert in collaboration with Anastasia Luckenuick, INSPRO CEO. Discover the written summary of this event below.

DroneXperts center of expertise

We are pioneers and leaders in Canada, with an innovative center of expertise offering drone technology (sales and/or rental), training, consulting and service all in one place. Our team of experts has been supporting companies with confidence since 2012, and also offers unrivalled human and professional service.

INSPRO, building inspections throughout Quebec

INSPRO specializes in residential, commercial and industrial building inspections. It offers inspection services in Rivière-du-Loup and on Montreal’s South Shore. She specializes in thermography, roof, facade and commercial chimney inspections.

Prerequisites for thermography and facade inspection

Types of thermography certification.

To work as a thermographer, you need to have Level 1, 2 or 3 certification, depending on what you want to do.

Level 1

This is the level corresponding to the thermography operator. He knows how thermal imaging cameras work, and can capture images to create basic reports.

Level 2

This is the level corresponding to the editor. This person carries out the same operations as the thermography operator. Nevertheless, he has additional legal knowledge and holds a court certification. This enables him to sign expert reports on roofs and facades, for example.

Level 3

Level 3 thermographers are those with a minimum of ten years’ experience in this field. It’s mainly thermography researchers who have this certification.

What are the prerequisites for façade inspection?

Today, anyone can buy a drone, whether or not it’s intended for inspection purposes. But not everyone can do a facade inspection!

Law 122 requires facade inspections of all above-ground buildings of 5 storeys or more, as well as multi-storey car parks. Its purpose is to ensure that these buildings do not present dangerous conditions that could compromise public safety. The inspection of facades must therefore be carried out by an architect, while the inspection of multi-storey car parks is the responsibility of engineers.

Drone regulations for Canada’s inspection sector

In Canada, to fly a drone, you need a pilot certificate. You must hold a basic operations certificate, which only allows you to fly your drone in uncontrolled airspace. Or the second option is to obtain a certificate in advanced operations, which will enable you to fly your quadricopter in controlled airspace. In the agricultural sector, in most cases, certification in basic operations will suffice.

Drones weighing less than 250 grams are not subject to registration. However, all other drones weighing between 250 g and 25 kg must be registered. This includes custom-built drones, ready-to-assemble drones or over-the-counter drones.

To register your drone, visit Transport Canada’s drone management portal.

If you’d like to learn more about drone regulation in Canada, you can read the blog post : What are the regulations for drones in Canada? Discover our guide.

The challenges, benefits and limits of drones in inspection

In this webinar, David and Anastasia discussed the challenges, benefits and limitations of drone inspection. Below are non-exhaustive lists of each of the elements covered.

The main inspection issues :

  • Large area to cover ;
  • Hard-to-reach and sometimes dangerous places;
  • Repeatability and documentation ;
  • Operating costs ;
  • Inspector safety.

The main benefits of the drone :

  • Great speed of intervention;
  • Quickly identify and locate problems;
  • Affordable technology with excellent performance;
  • Lower operating costs;
  • Increased inspector safety.

Drone limits:

  • Weather conditions ;
  • Load capacity ;
  • Autonomy (varies according to model).

The different drones and their applications

The DJI Mini 3 Pro

The Mini 3 Pro drone weighs in at 249 g. With enhanced safety features, it not only complies with regulations, but is also the safest in its series. Explore more of your surroundings with extended flight times of up to 34 minutes. With its gimbal, it offers a wide rotation range for low-angle shots and real vertical shots. To find out more, go directly to our product page.

The Matrice 30T

The Matrice 30T is a compact, robust and versatile drone. This is the version of the Matrice 30 with a thermal camera. It’s a drone with a perfect balance between power and portability for greater operational efficiency, and with IP55 protection, the Matrice 30T can also easily cope with bad weather and temperatures ranging from -20° to 50°C.

You can read our blog post: DJI Matrice 30, a drone that combines power and portability to discover the full portrait of this quadricopter.

The different sensors and their applications

The RGB camera (visual)

RGB stands for Red Green Blue. It refers to a video signal that uses the three primary colors to convey and reconstitute the image. In other words, it can detect what the human eye perceives. This tool allows you to :

  • Visually inspect structures and buildings;
  • 3D modeling ;
  • Quickly identify areas of interest;
  • Inspection of bridges, dams and wind turbines.

The thermal sensor

These devices use specialized lenses that capture infrared frequencies. In this way, the thermal sensors will display the results on the screen of your remote control. You can inspect buildings and detect the following problems:

  • Water infiltration ;
  • Membrane leakage ;
  • Heat loss ;
  • Humidity problem.

It will also be used to inspect assets such as solar panels and wind turbines.

If you’d like to find out more about thermal drone technology, take a look at our blog post: All you need to know about thermal drones and their applications.

Case studies

During this webinar, David and Anastasia presented various case studies:

  • Methodology in the field ;
  • Visual inspection ;
  • Thermography by drone ;
  • Thermal orthomosaics;
  • Specialized infrastructure inspection.

For our Xpert’s full explanation and analysis of these case studies, click here.

The future potential of drones

In the years to come, software is set to take a significant step forward as it becomes fully automated. They will be able to make an inspection flight and assemble all the data to provide a pre-report.

In addition, in recent years another point has been discussed, the “Beyond visual line of sight” translated as : “Beyond visual line of sight”. This will enable companies to operate differently in the not-too-distant future. Of course, this won’t be possible for everyone. Approval will be given according to the degree of risk represented by the area concerned by the flight mission.