Aerial Survey – Overstone Hall

Overstone Hall aerial photography

Overstone Hall, a 19th century mansion, set in 50 acres of rolling Northamptonshire countryside has had an ill-fated history. Originally commissioned in 1860 by Lady Overstone, she died before it was completed and her husband Lord Overstone never came to admire it and chose to leave it in his later years.

Today it lies in ruin after a fire burnt out the upper floors in 2001. Nature is slowly reclaiming it with trees growing from the floor and ivy clinging to the walls.

BuzzPix Ltd was the ideal choice for Daventry District Council in their search for safe ways to survey this inherently dangerous structure.

The problems with traditional access/survey methods

Scaffolding was neither practical nor safe for access and assessment of the Halls structure.

Cherry pickers could have offered slightly more versatility, but in this particular case, vegetation, fallen masonry, steel supports, tiles, bricks, the odd mattress and general detritus left by people using this building illegally – would all compromise the access of this heavy and unwieldy machinery. This debris would have had to be cleared to allow safe unhindered passage on flat ground for the cherry picker to maneuver and position itself.

The conservation officer was also concerned about the likelihood of underground pantries/cellars/coal shoots, common in such properties. In many cases these cannot be identified by sight and are often not marked on plans or drawings. They pose a significant risk to the safe operation of the cherry picker as it might inadvertently maneuver over one of these hidden structures causing it to collapse. The safe extension of cherry picker arms was also of concern in this deteriorating building.

Due to the isolated location, Overstone Hall has been prone to vandalism and become a significant health and safety concern, prompting the owners to put up secure fencing around its perimeter. Some of this would have to be temporarily removed to allow access for the cherry picker.

The benefits of an aerial survey

It is clear that for Overstone Hall, a Cherry Picker was not a cost effective option, but an experienced, licensed, versatile hexacopter operator was an obvious viable alternative.

BuzzPix Ltd flew the Hexacopter directly above the Hall to take high-resolution images from a vast array of angles, including dipping down inside some parts of the structure. The images taken by the camera could be seen live on the operators monitor, allowing the surveyor to guide the pilot to fly the Hexacopter to specific points of interest. This footage can be downloaded and reviewed on site but in this case, as there was no urgency, the images were sent via the Internet later that day. BuzzPix systems are quick and easy to set up, deploy and pack away, allowing the comprehensive aerial survey to be completed within a morning.

The BuzzPix Ltd operator at Overstone Hall was owner/director Bill Bolton. Having been an illustrator and designer for over 20 years, Bill wanted to extend his range of visual media into aerial photography and video using this new technology. His natural eye for detail and composition sets his Hexacopter services above the rest. Mark Wilkinson joined Bill at Overstone Hall. Mark is a professional filmmaker and photographer with 25 years experience creating commercials for businesses. The experience BuzzPiz Ltd brings to this new technology is a winning combination for any client needing this exciting new perspective.

Overstone Hall - internal walls from aboveOverstone-Hall-5Overstone-hall-3

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