Case Studies - Brick chimney stack inspection

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Residents living within a luxury apartment block discover, after a cold/wet weather period, fragments of clay brick lying on the ground at the bottom of a 45mt brick chimney stack. The stack, which was an integral part of the old cotton mill during its operation, has not been in service for a period of 15 yrs or more. Being sited within close proximity to inhabited apartments and parked vehicles our client gave consideration to a number of alternative means to survey the chimney stack as quickly and as efficiently as possible. Three means of inspection were to be considered.

I. Using a high-lift with swinging basket.   II. Erection of Scaffolding/netting and bosuns chair.   III. Photographic inspection using an unmanned aerial vehicle.

Taking into consideration the locality of the stack, the inconvenience to residents and the urgency of the visual inspection the management team decided that using the unmanned aerial vehicle offered by far the best solution. Colin Williams Photography was commissioned to use an unmanned aerial vehicle equipped with a pro Canon DSLR and stabilized 24mm lens, to hover and travel around a point of interest. CWP staff recorded several images at each flat side in both portrait and landscape positions. The very detailed high resolution images provided, showed weathered brickwork, small fractures and sections of failing mortar. The photographic inspection was completed during a period of 2 hours from arriving on site. As a comparison to using the UAV as opposed to the other methods normally used, Colin Williams Photography not only saved inconvenience to the residents, time and effort to the scaffolding teams but more importantly the overall cost saving to the client was a huge 95% saving to that of the alternative methods. The photographic images were also described as being of outstanding detailed quality, not achievable if the other methods had been employed.

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