Why Are Drones Perfect For A Church Roof Inspection?

Church roofs are complex structures. They can include valleys and parapets which will hide parts of the roof when viewed from the ground. They might also include a spire or a tower, which can prove difficult to access. The shape of the building is also often complex which means there are usually multiple pitches and elevations. All this combined means that an inspection from the ground is not going to be adequate, but getting up onto the roof poses both a safety risk and the potential to damage what is sometimes brittle materials – church roofs are usually not designed to be walked on!

It is obvious to state a roof is designed to keep out water and prevents the deterioration of the building structure, as well as the contents of the building. A church roof needs to be carefully maintained so that its weatherproofing properties are retained.

Some issues that can be found during a church roof inspection.

Moss – sounds innocuous, however, moss retains water and over time this will cause delamination to tiles and will cause them to break apart.

Missing or slipped tiles – this is the primary cause of water ingress. There is also the possibility that a displaced tile can fall from height and injure somebody.

Damaged lead – church roofs usually contain a lot of lead which is used as a weather barrier. As well as damaged lead we often see lead that has been stolen due to its high value.

Blocked guttering – church roofs can have many different sized pitches and elevations making the drainage system complex but crucial. A blocked gutter will cause water to run over the edge and down the facade of the building. This is a common cause of dampness.

Insect infestation – damaged roofs can become the home to insects that can cause significant further damage.

The list above is not exhaustive but it is fair to say that a church roof inspection is critical in maintaining the structure effectively and guidance suggests it should be undertaken at least twice per year. We recently inspected a church roof in Leicestershire – see what issues we spotted in this case study.

Church roof inspection shows slipped tile

Why use drones for your church roof inspection?

The use of drones to carry out inspection work is not a new concept, and their popularity is growing week by week. Assuming you have undertaken the right training, planning, risk assessments, and have obtained the correct permissions, there are significant benefits to using drones for church roof inspections.


Drones can go into places that would otherwise be dangerous for people. Whether this is up on a roof or in a confined space with poor access, why put people at risk when a drone can do the same task? There is no need to use ropes, ladders, scaffolding, edge protection, platforms, etc. Not only does this cut down on the number of injuries but it will also lower the risk of damage to the building or roof.


Drones will usually decrease the amount of time taken to complete the church roof inspection. They can quickly fly over large areas, or around complicated structures, whilst taking images or videos which can then be analysed, either manually or by software


Certain commercial-grade drones can be equipped with interchangeable sensors. You can capture high-resolution video, images, and even thermographs which can be useful to spot areas of water ingress or poor insulation.

Repeatable outcomes

Automated flight software has enabled us to pre-programme flight paths which allow the drone to capture the data autonomously, whilst under the watchful eye of the operator of course. This enables you to recreate and fly the same mission time and time again which not only leads to better efficiency but also allows you to monitor your subject over a period of time.

Aerial view of a church roof inspection

Why use Skyball Visuals for your church roof inspection?

We are licensed by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to carry out commercial flight operations and we adhere to very strict safety standards to ensure that all our flights are low risk and do not pose a danger to people or property.

We are fully insured with industry-specific public liability insurance of at least £5m, although I am pleased to say we have never needed it.

We appreciate that churches are an important part of the local community and will provide discounted rates for church roof inspections. This case study highlights some of the issues that were recently spotted during a church roof inspection in Leicestershire.

The quality of the data we collect and provide to you is a priority for us. Read more about our vision for drone services.

Call us on 0800 774 7140 or use the form below and we’ll get back to you.

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