The invention of drone technology, including high quality cameras has largely replaced helicopter photography and aerial inspections. Small, fast, and cheap drones are able to take better quality footage while costing a fraction of what they used to cost when helicopters and airplanes were involved.
The drone industry is expanding at an incredible rate both in the consumer markets and commercially, with a 34 percent increase in sales in 2017 alone. This trend is only set to increase as legislation makes it easier for businesses to get involved in drone technology and take advantage of the opportunities it presents to them.
It’s been 2 years since the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) granted commercial drone use to businesses in the US. Many businesses have certainly been adopting the new technology, with thousands of them purchasing drones and hiring skilled drone pilots to do their work.
Drones have been useful in the construction industry on building sites, where they are saving developers and inspectors both time and money mapping sites, taking photographs and surveying entire projects in a fraction of the time and cost that it takes to manually do these jobs. These digital files can be shared within a matter of minutes with any all parties involved, says Mike Winn, whose company, DroneDeploy, actually creates such software.
The use of drones also improves safety on site. A matter, Mr. Winn was particularly vocal on, emphasizing the ability of drones to take to great heights and perform tasks which previously would have been the job of a “builder with a tape measure”, that often produced inexact results and was especially dangerous for all involved.
This danger, apparent on all but the most basic of building sites is greatly increased in the skyscraper construction industry where climbing a ladder is simply not possible. Before the use of drones, workers hung off the side of the building on wired platforms which window cleaners use to suspend themselves which can be very dangerous.
Operating from a platform in high winds can be deadly with falls accounting for more than half of the near 1000 construction industry deaths recorded in 2016, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The use of drones will certainly save lives and the drone and construction industry will be keeping a close eye on next year’s figures when they are released by OSHA.
Drones provide a lot of services for builders. Drones are used to help developers with scouting locations, taking measurements, and much more. At the Foundry Hotel, in Asheville, N.C, the developer went as far as to fly a drone to the exact proposed location and altitude of a 4th-floor balcony to aid him in how best to make use of the view.
“A drone helps us to imagine what a construction is going to be because often it’s hard to do that just from a set of plans or drawings”, said the development manager at McCall Capital, Alexandros D. Papapieris, who is currently overseeing a hotel development in Bristol, VA. This is also good for attracting investors, stated Papapieris, “Everyone loves a good aerial shot. The use of Drones allowed us to compose a portrait for them”.
The idea of drone technology taking away jobs is not a new one but the use of drones in the construction industry is actually responsible for creating jobs. Many Drone Operators are being recruited to pilot drones for construction companies. With drone technology being adopted by more and more businesses, it’s easy to see how this can lead to further employment opportunities for drone pilots in the future across the globe.