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Drone Inspection of Mt. Holyoke College Campus, South Hadley

Location Overview:


Colleges and other educational institutions require periodic drone inspections to ensure that structural integrity of building infrastructure. Mt. Holyoke College, a liberal arts women's college in South Hadley, Massachusetts is no different.. The campus is situated on over 800 acres of rolling hills and features a variety of architectural styles, including Georgian and Gothic Revival.


The college strongly focuses on academics and offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs in various fields of study, including humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and the arts. The campus also features several recreational and athletic facilities and a variety of student organizations, clubs, and activities. Mt. Holyoke is known for its commitment to diversity and inclusion. It is one of the Seven Sisters, a group of prestigious women's colleges in the northeastern United States.


Mt.Holyoke College 1


Mt.Holyoke College 2


 Client & Project Goal


Cubic Architects, based out of Freedom, Maine, was engaged to make recommendations and to prioritize repairs to 19 historic buildings located on the Mt Holyoke College Campus. They conducted a Building Envelope Review of the 19 Historic Buildings, and hired Web-tactics Commercial Drone Services to review the highest elements of each building that cannot be accessed by the lift.


Complicating Factors for Traditional Inspection


Structural collapse:

Aged historic buildings are likely to collapse due to the extra weight of the building inspectors and equipment. This is not only dangerous but may also lead to the building owner demanding compensation.

Shutting Down Operations

Some building inspection requires that the building occupants stop some of their operations, hence reducing productivity.

Falling off, Slipping or tripping from the roofs:

The building inspectors and workers have greater risk of falling or tripping from slippery, wet and unstable roofs. There are also risks of loose debris falling to the ground and causing damage, or knocking the building occupants, passersby or bystanders. In addition, the people holding the ladder or manning the other associated inspection equipment should be careful to avoid debris and particles from hitting them or getting into their eyes.


Web-tactics' Drone Inspection Goal


Building Envelope Review: Provide high resolution images and video footage of the 19 historic buildings, including roofing, wood trim, masonry, windows, and sealants, while focusing in on areas of concern or damage.


Our Solution


  • Licensed Drone pilot on site to fly the mission, working in tandem with cubic architects and a representative from Mt Holyoke College Facilities Department, who was able to offer in the moment real time direction, allowing them to focus on areas of interest.

  • High- resolution images and video footage of the roofing, wood trim, masonry, windows, and sealantsple and brick facade.

  • No need for building closures for drone image capture, therefore no impact to the campus community.

  • Complete time onsite for the pilot to capture the required data was approximately one hour.

  • Provided the client with complete data package with 24 hours.

  • Cost savings with no need for expensive equipment rentals, labor, or high liability risks for the assessment process.


End Outcome


Client was able to use the imagery and video footage provided by Web-tactics to effectively demonstrate the massive amount of deferred maintenance repairs needed on campus. Many were necessary immediately because of life safety concerns. Others will be planned for and budgeted so that they do not become life safety problems. As importantly, these repairs will prolong the life of the structure, reduce future repair costs, and improve the energy, waterproofing, and acoustical performance of each building.