Drone roof surveys

Drone roof surveys

Over the past 5 years, we have been carrying out more and more drone roof surveys. This is mainly because the cost of drones has come down and we now carry drones with us all the time.

Pros and cons of  drone roof surveys:


  • Drone roof surveys enable us to survey the roof without climbing all over it and possibly breaking tiles.
  • We can also get to places on the roof that we cannot reach with ladders.
  • Our health and safety risk is reduced dramatically.
  • Can work out cheaper if scaffolding had been necessary to access the roof.


  • You don’t get to probe the roof to see if anything is loose.
  • You can’t use your weight to get an idea of deflection in a roof.
  • You can’t move things and clean out gullies or valleys whilst on the roof.
Drone taking of to do a roof survey


Both drone roof surveys and traditional roof surveys by ladder have their places.

We always arrive with a van and ladders and will gain access to a roof by ladder, if we can safely. However, we will revert to doing a drone survey if we cannot. The fact that we now carry drones with us all the time and the cost of the equipment is relatively cheap these days. The cost to use a drone to do a roof survey is the same as gaining access by ladder, assuming access is easy and safe.

Drone roof surveys with thermal imaging

The thermal imaging drone is a costly piece of equipment and can only be used by a specialist operator. We don’t carry this piece of equipment with us daily, as there are not many drone roof surveys that need thermal imaging. Not only that, but to get a good thermal picture of the heat loss of a roof using a thermal imaging camera, the roof survey is best done in the early hours of the day. The cost of a drone roof survey with thermal imaging would start at £1,400.00 plus VAT.

Drone roof surveys for insurance companies

Often domestic customers need us to do a roof survey for their insurance renewal. Although we are not RICS (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors), we can still undertake roof surveys that cover this specification. Insurance companies only need a roof condition report so that they know that the roof is in good condition for the next insured period.

Drone roof surveys for house buyers

RICS (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors) representatives are all ‘suited and booted’, and haven’t got the equipment to get onto a roof, so whether it’s a Level 1, Level 2 or Level 3 survey, we may still need to attend to help the RICS representative to carry out their survey.
Using a drone to survey the roof and getting information from all the elevations of the roof, helps them to put together their report. If we don’t attend at the time, the RICS often add into their reports that a professional roofer should access the roof and carry out a roof survey. Again, traditionally this has been done by ladder, but now, because of the ease of using a drone, most of these surveys are undertaken by drone.

Drone roof surveys for bad workmanship on a roof

Unfortunately, we are called out many times in a year to report back on bad workmanship that has been undertaken to a roof – yes, the “Cowboy Roofer“! Some of these can be quite stressful for the customer who may have paid thousands of pounds for a new roof or a roof repair to find that they have been ripped off and the roof is still leaking. This link, to a video I posted on my YouTube channel, show you what the “Cowboy Roofer” gets up to!


Video of what we can see on a roof when doing drone roof surveys

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Comments (4)

  • GEOFF Reply

    Thanks, steve, for the information regarding the drone roof survey. Can you clarify the situation with using a drone to survey the roof, and will my insurance company accept the report? I would like to book someone to do this. I live in Clapham London what is the cost, please

    21st December 2022 at 7:25 am
  • Roger Reply

    I had a drone roof survey undertaken about a week ago. Unfortunately, they know nothing about roofing and only sent me photographs taken from the drone.
    My question to you is on your reports do you actually write anything or do you just send photographs?
    What I’m looking for is somebody to tell me the condition of my roof not just send me drone photographs of the roof and for me to make my own mind up of what’s going on.

    22nd December 2022 at 1:47 am
    • Steven Dickinson Reply

      Hi Roger, and thanks a lot for the question. Yes, as you must already know, I have been in the roofing trade for some years now so when I come along and do a roof survey using a drone, I will send you a report that has pictures on it taken by the drone of the roof and I will write probably two or 300 words explaining what I see on the photographs. I’ll also put arrows to different points on the roof. You will also get to be able to call me and talk to me regarding the report and I can talk you through my findings.

      I will always try and offer costs for repair or for renewal also just as a guideline so you know where you’re going. These days we don’t do much roofing I mainly now because of my age just doing drone roof surveys and reports; however I have a good handle on what it costs to replace a roof or to repair a roof, so I can give you a good idea of costings in the report. Hopefully, that helps speak soon.

      1st January 2023 at 4:54 pm
  • Steven Dickinson Reply

    Hi Jef, and happy New Year, unfortunately, some areas of Clapham we are not allowed to do roof drone surveys because we are not allowed to fly the drone in that area, something to do with the airport that from my understanding it is not that close. We do roof surveys using ladders also, so the survey can be carried out via ladder or from a camera on a pole if access is not easy to get onto the roof to answer your question regarding will the insurance company accept a roof survey undertaken by a drone and the answer is yes.

    We now undertake around about 15 roof surveys by drones each week for insurance companies. On top of this, we are doing around about 10 house purchase surveys using a drone and about five surveys for people who have had new roofs and I’m not happy with the workmanship so using a drone survey we can easily assess the condition of the roof and send a report out so that they can try and come to the end of the dispute with the roofers hopefully this helps speak soon

    1st January 2023 at 4:46 pm

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