Construction Industry is Adopting More Commercial Drones

What is better than having eyes in the sky?

Not much.

The construction and infrastructure industries have become the top industries to adopt the use of commercial drones to make their work a little bit easier. Owners and contractors are starting to use drones after realizing the wide range of benefits that drones bring to the table. Even though the surface has only been scratched to their capabilities, as more and more drones are put to use in the construction industry, the list of ways they can be used will continue to grow.

Why You Should Use Drones on the Job

Aerial drones have the chance to change the way construction projects operate. The reporting tools that they offer will be extremely useful, here are a few reasons why:

  1. Aerial Progress Photography- Using drones will allow you to have clear access to progress shots of your construction site. You can take shots that will give greater detail compared to a helicopter.
  2. Safety- A drone is an “Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)” so it doesn’t put someone in danger when they have to get access to hard to reach places. Eliminate the risk and use the drone.
  3. Communicating with Investors- You no longer have to drag your investors and stakeholders through a muddy construction site to show them the progress of the project. You can now use a video taken by a drone to show them the progress from the comfort of their office.
  4. Marketing Use- Create some talk about your project with photos or videos that can be shared on social media. This can help with marketing projects rather than a text filled flyer posted on a board.
  5. 3D Models- You will no longer have the need for multiple surveyors to come to your site because you will be able to create 3D models using the drone. Your surveyor can be much more efficient and cut the time and cost of their work.
  6.  Minimize Progress Disputes-  You will eliminate the continual arguments over the progress of the project by being able to provide real-time progress updates with videos or pictures taken by the drone.

What to Consider Before Using Drones

While drones are extremely useful, there are also a lot of regulations to using them. Because they are new in the industry, contractors and owners should think before they choose to use them in their business. Here are 10 things to consider from Construction Dive:

  1. Don’t fly without FAA permission. This will result in a fine and possibly a bill from the lawyer hired to defend the company.
  2. It can take months to obtain a waiver from the FAA to fly a drone.
  3. You cannot fly drones near an airport. Even if you are a licensed pilot.
  4. In order to use a drone, it must stay within your sight range. This does not include your line of sight using binoculars.
  5. You may not fly a drone over someone that is not participating in the flight. If the drone is being used on a job site, the contractor must obtain permission from everyone that would be viewed in the footage taken from the drone.
  6. There is a weight limit on drones. They may not weigh more than 55 pounds, this includes cameras or other equipment.
  7. All drones must be registered with the FAA. Anyone that will be flying the drone will need to obtain certification that must be renewed every 2 years.
  8. Generally, commercial liability insurance does not cover accidents or damages to the drone or property to others or injuries caused by a drone crash or collision. Until drones are a familiar business tool for your team, contractors may have to obtain a separate policy for these machines.
  9. Be sure to ask about policy exclusions on your insurance. Some policies might not cover crashes from electronic malfunctions or equipment failure.
  10. Even though the FAA has created guidelines for drone usage, it is not a bad idea to create your own guidelines for your team so that you all stay on the same page. Because drone usage is new, it is a good idea to train all employees that will be using the drone. Proper documentation of flight plans and times of the drone is also a good idea.

Overall, drones are a useful tool for the construction industry and have a lot to offer. From surveying purposes to marketing uses, an investment on a drone is well worth it. But be sure to read up on the guidelines for using drones and obtaining proper insurance coverage and licensing.