Lewisham Borough Council saves with drone surveys

As part of a planned maintenance programme for Lewisham Borough Council, the property specialists Mulalley are undertaking roof surveys and property condition reports for housing stock in the north of the borough as part of a five-year framework contract, supported by Sky Revolutions’ drone surveys.

Traditionally, Lewisham Council (and many others) undertake these surveys manually with scaffolding erected around each property – allowing for human inspection.

Programmes of this scale can last anything upwards of a year depending on the portfolio. They can be intensive in terms of man hours, and costly, and they can also be a nuisance for residents – particularly in the summer months when scaffolding can prevent window-opening.

Huge Savings

It is estimated that the programme being delivered by Mulalley and Sky Revolutions will save the Council around £1,000,000.
However, the true cost saving is likely to be higher than that over the course of the contract especially when factoring in the reduced nuisance to residents.

Aerial specialists

For Mulalley, helping their clients – private and public – to deliver more effectively on maintenance commitments is a key part of their housing offer. For local authorities, finding partners who can offer significant cost efficiencies without impact on quality is critical.

Mulalley’s solution for Lewisham was to deliver the surveys by drone using aerial specialists Sky Revolutions. This approach entirely negated the need for scaffolding, removed nuisance to residents, cut down on the time needed to undertake the surveys, delivers detailed data much quicker, and importantly, massively reduces inspection cost. Stats below from

aerial roof surveys for local government authority

Lewisham Borough Council at a glance

140,000 properties
Flats and maisonettes 58%
Terraced houses 31%
Semi-detached houses 7%
Detached houses 1%


Councils under pressure

In the financial year 2020-21, English housing associations alone spent a combined £5.4bn on repairs and maintenance.

A Freedom of Information request by MyJobQuote revealed responses from 244 UK councils showing that on average, spend on responsive repairs and maintenance averaged £817 per house in the year 2020-21, placing considerable demand on council budgets – at a time when pressure on the public purse has never been greater.

For Lewisham Council, a large housing stock and a diverse set of property types requires a significant maintenance budget.

Learn about our aerial roof surveys for Cambridge City Council here.

“We’ve been aware of the benefits of using drones for aerial surveying for some years now and knew we could help Lewisham Borough Council make big savings on their maintenance budget.
“We could also deliver the data they needed to assess property condition in a fraction of the time. This is important because it helps Council stakeholders make truly informed decisions about remediation – not only for reactive repairs, but also to see where further savings can be made in extending the life of roofing materials – for example.”

Senior Site Manager

No nuisance to residents

As well as having to keep windows shut in places, residents face an increased security risk and concerns relating to fire hazards. Scaffolding is usually required to remain in place for around a month – increasing anxiety for residents and placing a heavy burden on back-office admin in resident communication management.

Mulalley: “We discovered Sky Revolutions could offer good geographical coverage with their team and fleet size. They supported our bid with attractive pricing, excellent support, and fast data reporting – with the data delivered in a format that worked for us and Lewisham Borough Council, to facilitate those effective remediation decisions.”

Sky Revolutions Managing Director Ben Gorham: “Accurate observation is key in our industry. We’re often tasked with working in tricky, hard to reach areas, and sometimes sites can pose logistical or safety challenges. This means we need to be incredibly efficient in gathering the data our clients need. For Mulalley and Lewisham Borough Council, this essentially means operating in busy, built-up areas.

“Directing our drones to the point of interest quickly and safely is critical. Our asset inspection software platform lets us categorise image content efficiently, meaning we spend more time highlighting the issues for our customers and less time organising the data – as the platform does much of that hard work for us. This double efficiency is of massive benefit to our clients.”

Drone Condition Surveys

Commercial experts

Only specialist commercial operators with the right permissions for flying in populated areas can undertake these types of aerial surveys in inner cities. But coupled with this expertise is the knowledge to translate what you’re seeing into actionable data. Sky Revolutions has built their drone expertise on top of solid construction experience, meaning they have a head-start in understanding what their drones can see. Ben Gorham again: “I’ve instilled construction knowledge in my team here at Sky Revolutions, recruiting and training team members and pilots to spot remediation issues from height.  

Whether we’re looking at roofs, wind turbines, powerlines or telecom towers – customers have faith in our ability to get to the heart of the matter quickly and present that data to them clearly.”

“We will have completed around 1500 inspections by the time this phase of surveys completes. In that time, Lewisham will have all the information they need, will understand the condition of their housing stock and be able to move quicker with remediation and forward planning – having saved a significant amount of money and time. That’s progress for everyone.”

Ben Gorham
Managing Director, Sky Revolutions