The GadellNet Top 10: UAVs in Construction

June 17, 2015

Aviation technology is an ever-advancing field. From the first flight of the Wright brothers in 1903, we have come up with many useful ways to employ aircrafts. Combat, surveillance, farming, and commercial flight have been some of the uses and now construction joins the ranks with UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles). Drones, as they are commonly referred to, have broken out as an invaluable asset in the construction industry.

Here are 10 uses and facts GadellNet has compiled about UAV in construction that you should know:

1. Photogrammetry

UAVs in construction can be used for photogrammetry. Equipped with cameras and programed for a flight pattern over a construction site allows UAVs to get a detailed lay of the land, where in the past a crew would be sent. The photos and videos can also be used to increase the level and quality of communication from the field and prove real-time updates. These images can then be used to increase the strategic plan to increase efficiency.

2. Inspections

UAVs are able to monitor the progress of a site. The use of GPS coordinates, sensors, and high definition cameras give detailed information about a job site. UAVs are now able to do inspections and documentation without an inspector being sent to the site. This is especially useful when the site is difficult to navigate or access.

3. Safety and Efficiency

Jobsite safety and efficiency can be increased by the use of UAVs. Any violations or safety hazards can be detected by UAVs and quickly addressed.

4. Flight Plan

To send a UAV over a work site, you no longer need someone using a remote control on the ground. Pre-launch flight plans can be established, meaning, once your flight pattern is set, you will only need to monitor the launch, flight, and landing and not control them. These flight plans are detailed and many conditions and aspects must be taken into consideration while creating them.

5. Ever-Changing Laws

The laws around UAVs are changing frequently. The laws we see today likely will not stand by this time next year. Updates are constantly being made due to the nature of this technology. For instance, at one point drones could not fly below 500 feet and that has changed to 400 feet. Fines for not complying with these laws can be in the tens of thousands.

 6. Who needs to be on Staff

Previously, a Pilot 1st class or commercially licensed pilot was needed on staff to oversee the use of UAVs. This has been lowered to a Pilot 3rd class or recreational licensed pilot. This makes the use of UAV much more accessible for construction companies, as a Class 3 pilot is much easier to come by, and comes at a much lower price.

7. Getting Started

You will have to get a Petition for Exemption under Section 333 from the federal government to start using drones over worksites, or for any other nongovernmental purpose. Commercial uses do not fall under the hobby category, either. There are different regulations. This sounds complicated, but it serves an important purpose. Drones can be used for less than honorable intentions and this step is to ensure the guidelines and rules are followed.

 8. Documentation for Each Site

After the 333 Petition has been granted, obtaining a COA for each site is the next step. You have to get Certificate of Authorization (COA) to alert the FAA air traffic controllers in the area of your status and allows them to them consider any air space issues.

9. Coordinate your Efforts

There is a lot to learn about the use of UAVs in construction. The applications and laws can both get confusing. Coordinating your efforts with a firm that specializes in aviation law could save you a lot of headaches and get your UAVs off the ground quicker. You can also join the AUVSI (Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International) to stay up to date on the latest information.

10. The Future

For UAVs in construction, they sky’s the limit, so to speak. The use of UAVs will open up opportunities for improvement, efficiency, and creativity for the construction industry. Jobsites are being modernized in many ways, and drones are on that list.

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GadellNet is an award-winning IT consulting firm that provides full-service technology solutions to small businesses. Since 2003, we have been delivering efficient, profitable and happier workforces. GadellNet’s best-in-class engineering team is highly successful at implementing and maintaining value-add hardware and software technology.