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PGIM Real Estate: Zero-touch inspections of heritage facades

Andrew Neary is an Executive Director at PGIM Real Estate, Australia. PGIM is one of the top ten largest money managers in the world.

The Australian arm of the company invests in Australian real estate on behalf of its clients, via equity positions and loans related to Australian real estate. A key requirement before purchasing real estate is comprehensive due diligence.

Andrew and his team first put Trendspek to the test in 2020, and have been using it ever since.

About the project

How did PGIM pilot test Trendspek?

I came across Trendspek through the Taronga Group RealTechX program. As soon as I saw what Trendspek did, it was pretty obvious that it was something we would use.

We started with a pilot on 40 York Street in Sydney. It is a building with a 150-year-old masonry, heritage façade, with no awning at street level, facing both York and George Streets. We used Trendspek to undertake a detailed inspection of it.

In the past, we would have had abseilers come down over the roof to conduct the inspection. But in those situations, we’re relying on the human eye, meaning it is so easy to miss crucial defects. We saw Trendspek as a way to inspect the façade much faster, more cost-effectively and with a more accurate result.


Precision Reality Twins (PRT), Data Acquisition, Reporting and Project Management

Project in numbers

Under 1 hour

Capture time

Versus the traditional capture time of 1 week

24 hours

Report time

Versus the traditional report time of 7 - 10 days


Data points

Versus the traditional data points of only up to 50

High fidelity

3D interactive model output

Versus the traditional output of 2D PDF of images


Cost saving

Versus the traditional manual inspection costs

Low risk

Safety Risk

Versus the traditional high risk manual rope inspection

Background Background

“The way it has always been done is not always the best way. Trendspek’s benefits are so obvious - you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see the benefits of it.”

How did PGIM pilot test Trendspek?

We have used it for two more projects since, and included it so far in five bids. For the right types of building, it will just become a normal part of our due diligence process.

We keep using it because of its thoroughness, accuracy and the speed it lends to the due diligence process. Before, we’d have a team of abseilers but now, we have one drone operator and we can capture a substantial building in less than a day.

Effectively, within a few days of drone capture, we can be looking at imagery of a full building.

Even without the full report, engineers can have a skim through and identify any really obvious defects or issues, allowing us to make decisions faster. If the results are not favourable, we can stop a deal immediately to reduce aborted costs, or we can start negotiating with the seller, sooner.

The traditional way, we’d have to coordinate abseilers and then wait for them to write up the full report. We’d be looking at least a couple of days for the inspection and a then another week or more before we’d have what we needed.

Can you see ongoing benefits from using Trendspek?

Yes, in two-or-three years’ time, we can get the drone capture team to come back again and we can compare the original data and models with the new capture.

We’re planning on making this a regular part of the maintenance routine, depending on an asset’s age and exposure to the elements, so that we can more accurately plan my OPEX and CAPEX budgets.

We can find defects that are safety-related, identify water stains or cracks early, and make decisions, rather than waiting for something to fall off the a building!

In future, we’re hoping this could also have positive implications for our insurance – being able to identify issues early, has the potential to result in lower insurance rates.

We’re looking at how we can roll it out across the business, for the industrial/warehouse assets within parts of our business.

Physical inspections of our existing portfolio of assets can, for example, allow us to consider putting solar panels on a roof and what the implications might be. We can use Trendspek to see the roof, to measure angles, to identify defects or sagging.

How has it been to work with the Trendspek team?

The responsiveness of the team is something we’ve really enjoyed. We just say we’ve got a building, and ask when they can do it. Once the drone pilots are in place, we can have our model in 24 to 48 hours.

We also had training from the Trendspek team, online and in person, and they’ve always been available when I’ve asked for help.

I also like that the platform is evolving, that there are new reporting functions – it’s becoming more-and-more useful. When I provide feedback to the team, they really take it on board and look at how they can implement it. The relationship with Trendspek is very collaborative.




Background Background

“Innovation is a massive way to create value for our investors, as is risk mitigation. When compared to competitors and the traditional approaches of inspection, Trendspek was miles ahead on time, cost and accuracy.”


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At Trendspek, we understand the importance of assets, because to us, our clients are our most valuable assets. We have worked in
close partnership with some of the world’s biggest asset management companies, delivering our service, their way.

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