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RCI Feb 2018

THE ENVELOPE Drones are rapidly changing the face Mike Wharton, head of membership and commercial services at the National Federation of Roofing Contractors, explains how it is The world is experiencing a proliferation of construction encouraging the development of drones safely and legally of smart, small and inexpensive products, designed to make life – and work – easier. Drones are among these. In terms of the roofing industry, drones have a natural home. They can assist in the close examination of high-risk areas, panoramic overviews of large projects and real-time footage to spot anomalies. This mitigates the risk of staff having to work at height, and can mean projects are completed faster and more efficiently. However, while drone-use appears to be a game-changer, making the decision to use one needs careful consideration. Act appropriately The NFRC has entered into an exclusive arrangement with the Association of Remotely Piloted Aircraft (ARPAS-UK), to help promote safe operational best practice in our industry. 026 RCIMAG.COM FEB RUARY 2018 A condensed guidance document has been compiled for our members, which highlights the relevant areas of law, which govern the use of drone technology, as well as the training required to fly a drone and details on how to obtain a licence known as a PFCO – a permit for commercial operation. To get a PFCO, you must to attend a ground school run by a Civil Aviation Authority approved National Qualified Entity (NQE). ARPAS-UK has a number of NQE members which, under agreement with the NFRC, now offers exclusive discounts on training to our members. Should I get involved? Before you get involved, you should consider the training required and the cost. The partnership between the NFRC and the ARPAS has been created to assist in both of these key areas. First, you would need a Pilot in Command (PiC) who would be responsible for flying the drone for your business. This person will need to undertake around 30 hours of study and complete a ground school class to get their PFCO. An average training course will cost around £1,250. A ‘starter’ package would require a training drone for around £200, and you would need a specific ‘platform’, which could cost an additional £3,500. A day’s worth of flying may require 10 sets of batteries at a cost of about £1,800. Get started ARPAS-UK has suggested that the vast majority of NFRC members would find drones a useful add-on to their existing toolkit. The guidance available from ARPAS-UK is available exclusively to NFRC members via the website. www.nfrc.co.uk In the roofing industry, drones can provide panoramic and speedy overviews of large projects, as well as provide real time footage to help spot anomalies


RCI Feb 2018
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