Copyright: Atelier d’Architecture Rivat

The Atelier d’Architecture Rivat is a French architecture studio based in Saint-Etienne and Paris, specialized in the design and renovation of high-performance buildings. Since late 2017, the firm has been using a Yuneec H520 drone which allows them to inspect the inaccessible or dangerous parts of a building, but also to perform thermographic analyzes and topographic surveys, or to design promotional videos.

Introduced by Yuneec in September 2017, the H520 drone, with six rotors and weighing less than two kilograms, was specifically designed for professionals, and offer many applications in the building sector. Remotely controlled, it is full of features, including interchangeable high-quality cameras, retractable landing gear and integrated flight plan software.

Julien Rivat, architect and director of the Atelier d’ARchitecture Rivat, is one of many professionals seduced by this versatile drone. The H520 drone is used by a large part of the team since three people – all architects – were trained: Julien Rivat, a project manager and the communication manager

“What we really appreciate about the H520 drone is the ability to interchange cameras between conventional and thermographic optics, as simple as a change of optics on a camera. In addition to this feature, the architecture of this six-rotor model provides an important safety dimension because it is possible to adopt a degraded flight mode on only five rotors – in the event that a blade has been damaged – while four-rotors drone would fall like a stone”, says Julien Rivat.

Easily flyable, stable, and offering an excellent image quality, the H520 drone allows the Atelier d’Architecutre Rivat to more effectively promote its achievements, but also to control hard-to-reach areas, inspect and control quality of work without endangering the safety of the workers on a project.

A concrete example? “On a construction site, checking the number of anchor hooks supposed to have been installed by a roofing company allowed us to see that not all of them had been laid… This verification could not have been done as easily and quickly without the use of a drone”, adds Julien Rivat.

Combined with the CGOET thermal camera, the drone offers the possibility of controlling the insulation of roofs and inaccessible façades. Referring to the cost of equipment, Julien Rivat explains that Yuneec offers a thermal camera with a good value for money: “It allows us to control thermal insulation on our passive buildings (…) and to check, for example, the chimney-to-roof junction”. “On passive buildings, we are at the epitome of the loss of energy. All the thermal bridges are treated and the sealing defects are checked.”

Despite the necessary parallel investments (drone flight training of the employees) and the few constraints (meteorological ones in particular or the obligation to deposit flight plans long in advance), for Julien Rivat, the verdict is unequivocal: impossible for them to work without the drone from now on!