RC Roof inspection robot.

(Thomas Glaze) #1

Newbie here and still working on the certifications to get me started up. Almost there, but want to have everything in order before I print and publish my business.

My question relates to separating yourself from your competitors. There is only one inspector in my area using a Drone (and is not certified to do so) so I’m looking to add a different approach to drone technology for roof inspections.

I am looking at one of the roof inspection rc controlled robots. Pricey, but I think it adds a different dimension for the inspection and provides closer visuals.

Questions are: Has anyone ever used these and if so, what do they recommend?

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(William B. Ogletree, TREC License #22530) #2

Have never seen one, so I can’t comment other than to offer the following:

Roof inspection is not only a visual, but a tactile process as well. You may see an area that looks different from the rest of the shingle, but in many instances, until you get right up close and rub the area with your fingers to see if there’s a divot, and rub harder to see if granules break loose, you may have a hard time saying for sure that a discolored area is a hail strike.

IMO, the only time a drone or robot would be better would be if you simply cannot get on the roof (icy, wet, too steep, or too fragile). Otherwise, direct observation while walking the roof is still the best way. Also, a drone or robot will not sense “spongy” areas.

I don’t walk slopes greater than 8/12, and I don’t step off a ladder 20 feet off the ground, but I still manage to walk the roofs on 90% of the homes I inspect. For the remainder, I call a local roofing company who is only too glad to come out and inspect the difficult ones.

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(Thomas Glaze) #3

Thank you for the reply. I understand the best way to observe is walking and touch. This is an option I’m looking into when those options are not the best for safety. I’ll try to load a picture of what I’m looking at.

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(Nicholas R. Peres) #4

I couldn’t agree more with William, with the caveat that I use a spectoscope for the 5% or so of roofs I can’t walk.

Some inspectors never walk roofs. As someone who has installed roofing, flashing, and done many roof repairs, I find that laughable… I’m not shy about telling potential clients either.

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(Emmanuel J. Scanlan, TREC# 7593) #5

At the risk of raining on your parade how does that “rc controlled robot” access the roof? I expect you have to set up a ladder to place that “rc controlled robot” on the roof. While you have the ladder there why don’t you just climb on the roof? As for its effectiveness I seriously doubt it would survive a 10:12 roof at only 6 Lbs. in weight.

Instead of trying to differentiate yourself with new “gadgets” to try sucking in consumers why not just perform a stellar home inspection and provide a detailed report instead?

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(Bradley K. Toye, CMI) #6

RC robots wouldn’t work too good on roofs. That would take forever to crawl the whole roof. And, what about Spanish tile roofs? Use a quality drone, or cam pole for roofs you can’t walk…and get the license.

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(Thomas Glaze) #7

Thanks for the replies gentlemen and I respect your opinions. The intention of my post was not debate to walk or not to walk, simply if anyone has ever used the device or something similar.

As far as the ability of the robot, this particular model has a good demo video.

And just to disclaim that I am in no way associated with any of these items, just trying to get a little more information on them.

Welcome to the Future of Roof Inspection

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(Chuck Evans, CMI TREC 7657) #8

Watched their video. I think I could have more thoroughly inspected and documented that roof by walking it and in about 1/2 the time the crawler took to do it. The crawler needs a gimbal so that photos are taken with true plumb orientation, not with the roof deck as horizontal.

On a roof that I couldn’t walk, I could do more/faster with a UAV and access roofs that are out of reach for the toy elevator.

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(Stephen W. Stanczyk, WA License #221) #9

Since you are an applicant it doesn’t show where you are located. That can make a difference if your area has requirements for inspecting the roof.

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(Eugene Hacker) #10

A pole mounted camera would be much more effective than a crawler in my opinion.

I am building a crawler for crawlspaces. But I would not use it for roofs.

I have a 32ft pole. I use a gopro and set it at 1080 24 frames/min. Then I pull stills.

I personally don’t walk tile roofs. It would be much faster and more effective to walk them than using my pole camera, but inspectors are constantly blamed for broken tiles, even if they did not break them. And I am 200lbs so it is possible that I could break tiles even if I walk on them correctly.

I have received angry emails from listing agents who said I broke the tiles of roofs that I did not walk upon, I was able to show images with the camera/pole shadow over the subject roof.

By the way…what does the “roof roller system” cost?

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(Thomas Glaze) #11

Thanks again guys for the insight. I agree with all the suggestions, and I will be using all the methods listed above except a drone for the time being. Walking, Camera pole and possibly the roof crawler based on more study and information on them, As Mr. Hacker noted about using a crawler for tight crawl space inspections. That is also the reason I am looking into this and having a device that can do both. Something that can look areas that are difficult to see or get to. Just seems to be more thorough in certain situations. The units I have looked into start around $1,800 fully built and can reach much higher. Also another reason at looking into a self build model

Btw- I live in N.E Georgia, small Mountain towns that caters to seasonal tourist and have a heavy second home population. Most of the homes are rustic cabin style with some traditional and older brick homes still around. Probably 99.9% of the roofs are either shingle or metal. I haven’t seen a tile roof since I’ve been here (15 years) but I haven’t seen all the roofs either.

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(Ian W. Mayer, CMI) #12

I don’t see a robot being effective on multi-story Spanish tile roof.

And some very step roof, it could slide off (particularly if it’s wet).

And as a robot would offer an up-close viewpoint, you would be there a long time scanning the whole roof, compared to a camera pole or drone that allows you to see the big picture than then focus on areas of concern.

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(Brian Cook) #13

Walking a roof will always be the best option and give you the most information, that’s for sure.

Using a UAV, pole-mounted camera, or even binoculars, each are also very viable options for viewing a roof that is too steep or dangerous to walk on.

Using a RC car may seem like a toy, or useless gadget to some here, but it truly just gives another option that may (or may not) be the best for some situations. Do you carry just one single p3 screwdriver in your bag? I certainly hope not! As home inspectors, we run into loads of different scenarios that require different methods or tools and the most successful of inspectors are the ones who adapt quickly and come prepared for any situation that may be thrown at them.

That being said…

Here is a video that I made of my CIR navigating a snow-covered roof top. Please keep in mind that this is a testing video just to show that it’s possible to do. There really isn’t anything on this roof that can be seen or inspected thoroughly while covered in snow, so it’s just driving it around on a snow-covered roof.

CIR - CIR Testing Snowy Rooftop 1 | Facebook

There may be instances where you can’t or shouldn’t walk it, or can’t get a good view of a centered chimney from a camera pole, or tightly grown trees prevent the safe usage of a UAV, so having the right tool for the job gives you the best possibility of gathering as much info as you can.

Will it work, or even be needed for every roof in every situation. No. I’d be very impressed if you could show me the one tool that can.

Any good boy scout will tell you… Be Prepared!

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