Uncategorized  |  4/09/2023  |  Jade Scotney

What are the types of drone building surveys?

What Are the Types of Drone Building Surveys? In recent years, the use of drones in building surveys has revolutionised the construction and inspection industry. These unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) equipped with high-resolution cameras, LiDAR, and thermal sensors have proven to be invaluable tools for gathering accurate and comprehensive data about buildings. 

Drone building surveys offer several advantages, including cost-effectiveness, efficiency, and enhanced safety. There are various types of drone building surveys and they are transforming the way we assess, monitor, and maintain structures.


Visual Inspections

Visual inspections are the most common type of drone building survey. Drones equipped with high-resolution cameras capture images and videos of buildings, allowing surveyors and engineers to examine the structure from various angles. This type of survey is particularly useful for identifying visible defects, such as cracks, leaks, and deteriorating materials. Visual inspections are ideal for routine assessments of building exteriors, roofs, facades, and other hard-to-reach areas without the need for expensive scaffolding or equipment.


Topographical Drone Surveys

Topographical drone surveys employ cutting-edge technology to gather detailed data on an area’s contours, elevations, and features, generating comprehensive topographic maps. These maps vividly depict both natural and man-made elements, including hills, valleys, water bodies, and structures. Employing high-resolution cameras and GPS systems, drone-based topographical surveys ensure swift and accurate measurements, enhancing surveying capabilities across industries for identifying visible defects, such as cracks, leaks, and deteriorating materials. Visual inspections are ideal for routine assessments of building exteriors, roofs, facades, and other hard-to-reach areas without the need for expensive scaffolding or equipment.


Industries reaping the benefits of topographical surveys encompass:


Utilised for site planning, grading, and earthwork calculations, streamlining project efficiency.

Land Development:

Assesses drainage, land suitability, and infrastructure design, optimising land utilisation.

Environmental Studies:

Facilitates habitat mapping, erosion monitoring, and watershed analysis, promoting conservation efforts.


Thermal Inspections

Thermal inspections involve the use of drones equipped with infrared (IR) cameras to detect temperature variations in building components. This type of survey is highly effective in identifying insulation problems, energy loss, and water leaks within the building envelope. By detecting thermal anomalies, thermal inspections help pinpoint areas that require immediate attention, thus preventing potential issues that could lead to costly repairs in the future. Additionally, thermal inspections are valuable for identifying overheating electrical systems and fire hazards.


LiDAR Surveys

LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) surveys utilise laser scanners mounted on drones to create highly detailed 3D models of buildings and surrounding areas. This advanced technology allows surveyors to capture precise measurements and generate accurate point cloud data. LiDAR surveys are ideal for creating comprehensive digital twins of buildings, which are valuable for architectural planning, renovations, and simulations. The data collected through LiDAR surveys aids in structural analysis and can be used to detect deformations or shifts in the building’s foundation.



Photogrammetry is a technique that involves using overlapping images taken by drones to create 3D models of buildings. The images are processed using specialised software to create accurate and detailed models of the structure. Photogrammetry is particularly useful for heritage buildings and architectural documentation, as it helps preserve historical structures in a digital format. It is also used for creating as-built models to compare construction progress with initial plans and for virtual reality applications.


Roof Inspections

Drone roof inspections are a specialised type of building survey designed to assess the condition of rooftops without the need for traditional manual inspections. Drones can quickly and safely access rooftops, even in challenging terrain or hazardous environments. The captured high-resolution images help identify roof defects, such as cracks, damaged shingles, or clogged drainage systems. Roof inspections conducted by drones save time, reduce costs, and minimise the risk of accidents for surveyors.


Drone Construction Site Surveys

Drone building surveys are invaluable during the construction phase of a project. They provide real-time monitoring of construction progress, ensuring that the project adheres to the original plans and specifications. Drones can capture images and videos at regular intervals, allowing project managers to identify potential issues and make informed decisions promptly. Construction monitoring with drones enhances efficiency, reduces delays, and improves overall project management.


What are the types of drone building surveys?

Drone building surveys have transformed the way we assess and maintain structures, offering a wide range of benefits over traditional inspection methods. From visual,  topographical, thermal inspections to LiDAR surveys and construction monitoring, drones have proven to be versatile tools for the construction and building industry. By adopting drone technology, construction professionals can save time, money, and resources while enhancing safety and accuracy in their surveys.


As the drone industry continues to evolve, we can expect further advancements in technology and data analysis, leading to even more sophisticated building surveys. Embracing drone building surveys is the way forward for the construction sector, enabling better decision-making, improved project management, and more sustainable building practices.

If you require a drone building survey, contact Angell Surveys today.