The skies over New York City got a little wilder late last year when Flaco, a Eurasian eagle owl escaped the Central Park Zoo. City bird watchers may also start noticing Flaco’s mechanical counterparts: UAVs—drones—approved last year for building inspections across the five boroughs.
The city’s new rule that allows for some uses of drones is great news for our clients. As Mayor Eric Adams put it, “drones are going to allow us to make facade inspections faster and safer.”
In our experience, drones can provide an array of high-definition, inspectable images of the building facade, and, in some cases, eliminate the necessity for erecting expensive scaffolding to inspect hard-to-access locations (e.g., towers and turrets).
Drones are not a panacea for FISP requirements or a replacement for Qualified Exterior Wall Inspectors (QEWIs). But, like any tool that aids a QEWI’s work, they’re a welcome addition to our inspection arsenal.
While Flaco the owl has largely stuck to Central Park, he’s been spotted as far afield as the Lower East Side, where he looked particularly out of place perched on an air conditioner. On the other hand, we expect facade inspection drones will become a common sight throughout the city.
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