How Balm performs inspections of concrete structures on heights

Since as early as 1962, BALM is a true specialist in the field of concrete construction renovation and repair. With a strong track-record in both large and small projects, Balm restores and strengthens all sorts of damages that may appear in concrete constructions over time. Before the start of every project, Balm inspection-experts closely examine the state of the concrete on forehand. This step is essential to determine the amount of materials needed to get the job done and, of course, to set-up a quotation for the customer. One of the biggest challenges here concerns restoration projects for high reaching apartments. As the traditional approach relies on areal access platforms, it is not only dangerous for the worker involved, but also takes days to complete. For a long time, Balm was considering drones as an alternative, but in many cases, there was one problem standing in the way.

Going airborne in a no-fly zone

For a large renovation project in the Bijlmer area, Balm has teamed-up with Dronepoint to leverage professional drone inspection services. Due to the proximity to Schiphol national airport, the apartments so happened to be situated in a so-called Controlled Traffic Region (CTR). What this means is that any aircraft is forbidden to go airborne in the area, unless authorised with very specific clearance from the nearby air traffic control centre. Here in the Netherlands, there exist only three organisations with authorisation to fly in these restricted areas – and Dronepoint happens to be one of them.

Throughout the entire operation, a specialised van equipped with an antenna maintains a constant connection with Schiphol’s air traffic control centre. With a green light, an industrial drone equipped with 4K camera equipment photographed all areas of the apartment within a matter of hours. And as the drone provides a live feed of the action going on, a Balm inspection-expert is able to ensure nothing is overlooked. In comparison to the traditional way of doing things, drones can access these hard-to-reach places faster, cheaper and with less risk than manual inspections.

A systematic approach towards examinations.

Instead of conducting rough estimations on site, the use of high-quality images now enables Balm inspection-experts to assess the seriousness of defects from behind the desk. To deal with the large amounts of images, Balm decided to use asset-viewer to support and organise the examination process. Asset-viewer is a visual data management platform that brings together all inspection photos in one digital workspace. It comes with various analytical tools to support inspection workflows, and annotate defects.

And since any project participant can be provided with secure access, it opened-up new avenues for collaboration As a result, customer quotations are now easier to set up, and more reliable overall. With the support of Dronepoint’s software and on-sight problem solving skills, the preliminary examination process has never been this quick and easy.

The Next Step

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