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A Guide to Drones & Construction


Drones are becoming widely popular in all sorts of commercial industries like filming and law enforcement. Modular construction is no exception. Some construction companies use drones to get a live view of the construction site and monitor its progress. If you own a construction company and are considering using drones, here’s what you need to know:

Before You Fly

According to Know Before You Fly, commercial drones can be flown with the authorization of the FAA on a case-by-case basis. You will also have to register your drone with the FAA for safety and accountability reasons.

For example, if your drone is improperly used and results in an accident, authorities will need to know who the owner is. Otherwise, you will be flying your drone illegally and can be hit with fines up to $27,000.

Fly Safely & Responsibly

Remember these drone safety rules:

  • Drones should never fly above 400 feet
  • Always keep the drone in the operator’s sight
  • Stay away from manned aircraft and airports
  • Don’t go near fires

Flying a drone safely means you won’t endanger anyone and other aircraft or fly into a restricted zone for security reasons. For example, if there is a wildfire and your drone flies over it, it could get in the way of firefighting efforts. Flying safely also means you won’t have to worry about getting into any legal trouble.

Creating Aerial Maps

If you can legally use a drone for your construction site, you’ll discover that they can be used in a number of applications. One great application is creating aerial maps of the site.

Because drones are so steady in their flight, they’re perfect for creating aerial maps of a construction site. Some companies, like Skycatch, believe that by combining drones and 3D design, construction companies can finish projects quicker and for less money. When the drone goes over a site, it will map the site and send the data to software, where regular reports on construction progress are mapped. That way, site managers can efficiently guide the project and get real-time progress information.

Delivering Small Payloads

Some drones are designed to be able to carry a small payload, the weight of which varies from model to model. Typically, the more you want the drone to carry, the more expensive it will be. With these small payloads, drones can quickly deliver some materials to parts of the site, like to a higher story on a building. Some innovative companies are even designing heavy-duty drones to replace cranes in some cases, since they’re more maneuverable and flexible.

Before You Buy

Before you buy a drone for your construction company, you will need to check your local and state drone laws. Some areas have strict laws and you may not be able to fly one for your construction company. Since drones can be expensive based on what they’ll be used for, you’ll need to set a budget for how much you’re willing to—and reasonably can—spend.

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