Inspectors Use Roof Inspection Tools That Reduce Risk of Injury

When it comes to roof inspections, there may come a time when E & O Insurance saves the day despite an inspector’s best efforts to be thorough.Still, there are those inspectors that are learning that having a variety of tools can not only help them fight the need to utilize their E & O insurance to settle a claim, they can also protect them from physical harm.

Although there are number of areas of a house inspection where inspectors can get seriously injured, the roof inspection certainly is among the most potentially dangerous.

Since only so much can be gleaned from inspecting the attic (if it is accessible) getting on the roof may be necessary. Still, there are a number of tools and techniques that home inspectors can use to help prevent falls and potentially increase the thoroughness of their inspection.

Today, there are a number of options that allow a home inspector to inspect the roof without going onto the roof in many cases. Telescoping poles and cameras have been used with great success by home inspectors. Available in lightweight yet sturdy materials, they are capable of lengths of up to 40 feet.

Pole and camera systems are available with wireless cameras at the top and LCD monitors at the bottom. While the digital HD video camera setups also capture stills, there are digital photo camera setups available as well. Some utilize internal smart cards to allow footage capture and download to laptops while others allow direct hookup to a laptop. More than one home inspector has found that the footage he captured provided evidence of his thoroughness as well as the roof’s condition when they were faced with the need to file an E & O insurance claim.

The cutting edge of roof inspections over the next few years will be via the use of unmanned aircraft systems, or UAS, which is the term used by the Federal Aviation Administration for these civilian crafts. Very different from military drones, UAS configurations are being tested by roofing inspectors and contractors around the country.

So far, there have been some uses by independent housing inspectors in the U.S. There are also a number of firms that will rent out a highly sophisticated UAS for roof inspections and other uses.

While the cost is generally prohibitive for the average roof inspection those home inspectors that would like high quality stills and video of inaccessible roofs can make the costs work. This is also the case for those roofs that may be potentially too dangerous for physical inspection such as slate roofs or those that have seen serious damage.

The practice of using a UAS for roof inspections is becoming fairly commonplace in the UK However, system ownership and rental costs as well as pending rulings by the FAA for commercial use of such tools in the U.S. mean that it will likely be late 2014 and into 2015 before they become part of U.S. inspector advertised tools.

Another technology being used increasingly by home inspectors is infrared thermography. Used in conjunction with non-destructive moisture meters & bore scope camerasor separately, infrared thermography measures surface temperatures to detect wet insulation under the roofing membrane.

It also can detect other hidden issues that cannot be detected visually. These devices are particularly useful for flat roofs where unseen structural issues can lead to a need to file an E & O insurance claim, or even put the inspector in danger of injury.

While the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires some form of fall-protection system where workers are subject to falls of six feet or more, this is not a requirement for home inspectors. Still, these systems can be highly useful for steep roofs or other highly hazardous roof configurations where physical inspection becomes necessary. These systems usually include full body harness, a shock-absorbing lanyard, anchor device and synthetic rope lifeline with a rope grab.

Having the right tools to perform a thorough inspection not only protects the home inspector by potentially making his E & O insurance coverage more effective, they can also protect the inspector from serious injury.All of these tools have been used by thousands of home inspectors to provide the best service to customers while also ensuring their safety during roof inspections.