How did it start
Since our first video on you tube in 2013 where we used a large aluminium pole to get up to 12m in height. This was hard wired from a camera with a long USB cable. The technology was in its infancy. We were early adopters. The pole was very unwieldy and only used on the larger taller properties we surveyed. So, we had a smaller 8m pole in regular use. We have used a pole camera on every survey since. However, the pole length grew to 10m fibre glass which was fine for 2 and 3 storey properties. We used a high-quality camera linked by wifi to pad on the ground controlled by the operator. The pole camera gives a unique view of some elements of roofs that you would not be able to see from the ground. We first did pilot schemes with insurance companies to use them in storm claims in around 2010. They are much slicker now.
How do surveyors look at roofs?
Traditionally it was through binoculars. These are still useful for close up examination of flashings and chimneys. They have fallen out of favour due to the high-powered nature of modern digital cameras.
Other surveying practices have started using pole cameras in the last couple of years intermittently. However, the pole lengths are often shorter 6-8m and will not get above chimneys for example. The camera quality is often basic web cams which give blocky images. The low-resolution images cannot be effectively zoomed in on for a better view of a defect.
The skill is not just taking the picture. The analysis of the defect is all important. Without skill and experience looking at these images’ things can easily be missed. The surveyor must have time to review the images carefully after the survey.
We have been looking for a more effective camera pole ever since to keep a competitive edge. This resulted in us using Carbon Fibre. This is strong and very lightweight and still remains stiff in even in high winds. The largest pole we currently use is some 55ft long. Although it has not used to the full height as this will easily do a four-storey property and chimney. Four stories are the limit of our insurance anyway.
Whenever we are seen with the pole cameras. The question of drones always arises. These cameras are better in wind and can get closer to the important eaves details as we discussed in this older blog.
If you are looking for a survey and the surveyors say they use these cameras. Check they are high resolution images and what height they can effectively go to.