Horizon Imaging

Drone inspection of the inflated roof canopies above The Malls Shopping Centre in Basingstoke, Hampshire

The Malls Shopping Centre in Basingstoke have been struggling for years with the inflated roof structure above their main courtyard developing mysterious holes, triggering the roof’s automated deflation alarms. After some investigation they discovered the culprit(s) — the local seagulls! For some reason they continuously peck at the clear outer membrane until they’ve punctured it … and then they abandon their ‘creation’ and start afresh elsewhere! Numerous attempts have been made to scare the birds away using automated bird deterrents, but so far none of them have proved effective. As such, a quicker and more cost-effective solution was required for locating and identifying the severity of the holes. 
Until now the centre’s maintenance staff have had no easy means of inspecting the roof’s surface for holes, without paying a trained high-level access team to set up the required rigging and walking across the entire roof structure which covers some 2,500 square metres — a very expensive task that takes several days. 
… but now they can see high-resolution inspection images of the entire upper roof structure in a matter of hours thanks to our drone aerial inspection service
Having carefully planned the best time of day to undertake the work (in the early morning on a weekend to minimise the number of people moving around the neighbouring car park) and the best way to take the images to provide sufficient resolution (capturing overlapping images no more than 3-4 pocket-widths at a time), the entire process of capturing the inspection images took approximately 30 minutes and some of the resulting imagery can be seen below.
Drone aerial photographs showing sections of an inflated roof structure above The Malls shopping centre in Basingstoke, Hampshire. The numbers refer to the relevant pocket in the roof structure to allow the maintenance staff to direct the roof repair engineers to the affected pockets. The last image is a 100% crop of the third image, showing the ease of which holes can be identified on the aerial imagery. Click to enlarge. 

Once the photographs had been taken, they were individually edited to strengthen the contrast (making the holes / depressions in the surface easier to see) and to ensure the brightness / colour balance was the same, and also annotated in accordance with the numbering system for the inflated pockets, as shown below. This means that the maintenance staff can very easily identify which pockets require immediate attention / repairs, which require monitoring, and which are unaffected.  

The number system used to identify the individual roof pockets in the aerial photos. Click to enlarge. 
Our drone after completing the aerial inspection of the 2,500 square metre inflated roof structure at The Malls shopping centre in Basingstoke, Hampshire. Click to enlarge. 

“We are now working with Horizon Imaging to perform quarterly inspections of our inflated roof canopies which are suffering continuous damage from seagulls pecking holes in the membrane. The drone’s point of view allows us to easily identify the location and severity of the holes and get them repaired before the damage becomes too serious. The quality of the pictures is excellent, as is the service from Horizon Imaging — the alternative method for inspecting the holes that we used in the past was a difficult and very expensive high access arrangement that would take several days to complete / map the locations of all the holes.” 

Do you own or manage a large commercial building with a roof that is difficult / dangerous / impossible to access? Do you need to inspect the roof of your building to maintain its structural integrity as part of a legal lease agreement? Give us a call today to have a chat about our range of inspection platforms and pricing packages — from a leaking chimney to inflated roofs covered in holes, we provide an affordable and rapid turn-around inspection service, capturing the photographic evidence you need to put the problem right.