National Roofing Partners (NRP) has implemented the use of drones as part of its continued commitment to incorporate the latest technologies into its operations.

Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico in the Fall of 2017, leaving the island in the dark and national corporations unable to communicate with their facility managers to determine the extent of damage to their properties. One of NRP’s client, a large national retailer had 12 locations on the island and needed a way to survey the damage to their buildings to prioritize and schedule repairs.

NRP partnered with a drone service and sent teams onto the island to conduct assessments of their client’s properties. By capturing that aerial view NRP was able to show their client the extent of the damage so they were able to evaluate and prioritize repairs. The buildings that had obvious visible damage such as holes in the roof were elevated to the top of the repair list.

Once repairs were underway on the roofs, NRP delivered weekly progress reports utilizing the aerial drone imagery. NRP National Sales Director Wayne Gwaltney said that the use of drone imagery has provided the client a clear understanding of how the repairs are progressing. “Before using drone imagery, we relied on contractors to send us photos but they were taken on the roof, which isn’t always the best angle for a true understanding of job progress,” explained Gwaltney. “The drone imagery is captured from above and provides a view of the entire roof where is it easy to see exactly what has been completed and what it still left to do.”

The use of the drones in Puerto Rico went so well that Gwaltney says NRP is making it a standard operating procedure. “Previously, we used to send clients progress reports using a drawing of the roof and marking it up with comments as to how the job was progressing,” said Gwaltney. “Now we just send them a link and they can view the photos of the work from any web browser.”

There were some kinks to work out in the beginning since the drone flyers that NRP is working with are not experts in roofing, they are experts in drone operations. Payne worked on developing three different types of flights with specific instruction on what to photograph on each project. Those three types include HVAC equipment flights, aerial overviews with individual roof section images captured and project progress flights.

Since determining the types of photos needed and developing the three flight types, the drone technology has been a key part of every project.