How Drones Are Being Used in the Construction Industry

Often viewed as nothing more than a recreational toy, drones have a variety of commercial applications. According to a recent report by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the number of commercial drones in the skies will increase from 110,000 to 450,000 by 2022. While drones are used in a variety of commercial sectors, they’ve become increasingly popular in the construction industry.


One of the ways in which construction companies use drones is to survey buildings and the surrounding the landscape. Equipped with cameras, GPS and rangefinder measurement tools, they provide a detailed bird’s-eye perspective of the surrounding environment. Rather than sending a worker to the top of a high-rise building via scaffolding, for instance, construction companies can pilot a drone. It’s a fast, efficient and cost-effective way to survey a building or landscape.

Report Progress

Construction companies use drones to report progress to their clients or stakeholders. Known as a progress report or status report, it provides detailed insight into the project’s completion. A core element of a monthly construction project report is photos, which reveal the exact stage of the project. Drones simplify the process of creating progress reports by allowing construction companies to take high-resolution photos of their building or project without the need for human workers on the ground.

Thermal Imaging

At minimum, most drones used in the construction industry are equipped with a camera that can take pictures and record video. Some, however, are equipped with thermal imaging scanners that identify hot and cold spots on the construction project. If a section of the building has a cold spot, it could indicate insufficient insulation. On the other hand, a hot spot could indicate an electrical problem. Either way, drones equipped with thermal imaging scanners can help construction companies identify thermal nuances with their project.


Inspections are an important part of a commercial construction project. Designing blueprints with the correct specifications is only half the battle; the other half is ensuring that the construction project adheres to these specifications and complies with all local, state and federal codes. Drones are an invaluable tool for this purpose, as they allow construction companies to easily inspect hard-to-reach areas like the roof of a high-rise building.

The Future for Construction Drones

So, what’s next for the future of drones in the construction industry? It’s safe to assume that construction companies will continue to use UAVs for the purposes previously mentioned. As the technology improves, however, we’ll probably see other applications emerge, such as transporting and lifting equipment.

As a commercial installer, UBS is a leader in metal stud framing. Contact us for a quote on your next office building, high rise or apartment complex. 303.466.7200.

Steel vs Wood Stud Framing: Which Is Best?

Wall studs play an essential role in framing a home or building. Run from the ceiling to the floor and typically spaced 16 or 24 inches apart, they form the “skeleton” of the structure by holding together windows, doors, insulation, plumbing and utility wires and more. Once installed, the studs will create walls, which may or may not be load bearing, depending on the method of construction.

Studs are made of a variety of materials, including wood and steel. While both types serve the same fundamental purpose of creating the structure’s frame, there are some key differences distinguishing them from each other. So, how do steel and wood studs differ, and which one is best for commercial framing?


In the past, wood was the preferred choice of material for framing studs. Now, however, there’s a growing focus on steel studs.  According to the Steel Framing Alliance (SFA), approximately 40 percent of commercial buildings are constructed with metal studs.


Because they are made of organic material, wood studs typically have a shorter lifespan than their steel counterparts. When moisture encroaches into the drywall, it will cause wood studs to rot. Over time, the decaying wood will jeopardize the structural integrity of the building, prompting the owner to replace the damaged studs. Steel studs, on the other hand, last longer since they are immune to rotting and decay. They can still rust if not properly insulated, but steel studs almost always outlive wood studs.


Contrary to what some people may believe, steel studs weigh less than wood studs. Steel studs weigh 10 percent to 20 percent less than wood studs of the same size. As a result, they are easier to transport, manipulate and install.

Strength and Stability

Not surprisingly, steel studs are stronger and more stable than wood studs. Even if it doesn’t rot, wood studs are susceptible to contraction, expansion and warpage from humidity. These effects can make a structure less stable, especially during storms or strong winds.


Wood studs – like all wooden building materials – are susceptible to termite damage. According to Orkin, termites cause $30 billion in damage to man-made structures every year in the United States. Termites feast on the cellulose of wood, making steel a safe choice of framing material.


You can expect to pay slightly more for steel studs than wood, but the difference is quite small. While prices vary depending on vendor, quality and other factors, steel studs cost about 3 percent to 15 percent more than wood.

Steel studs offer several key advantages over wood, including protection from decay, termites, a lighter weight, increased strength and more. As a commercial installer, UBS is a leader in metal stud framing. Contact us for a quote on your next office building, high rise or apartment complex. 303.466.7200.

What Acoustic Ceiling Tile Options Are Available?

Suspended ceilings are common in both commercial and residential construction. Designed to minimize acoustic pollution and increase the aesthetics of the space, drop down ceilings can be both functional and visually appealing.  There are multiple types of tile available, each of which has its own pros and cons.


Mineral fiber ceiling tiles are the most common type of ceiling tile.  Made of interwoven fibers, they are one of the least expensive materials available, often as low as 2 or 3 dollars per tile. Easy to obtain and easy to configure, mineral fiber tiles provide an accessible and straightforward installation process.
The biggest risk in using mineral fiber tiles is that they can easily break, and the results can be messy.  The debris can wind up everywhere, making it difficult to clean. Additionally, these ceiling tiles can be difficult to handle if there is a need to access the space above the tiles.


Plastic tiles have become more popular in recent years, in part because of their ease of use. They aren’t bulky or dusty, meaning that installation and maintenance are easier and less messy.  Because they are made of plastic, they tend to be lighter than other materials, making the wiring and piping above the drop ceiling grid more accessible. Additionally, there is no mineral fiber residue to deal with if the tiles ever need to be exchanged. Customization is also easier, as the tiles come in different colors and patterns.

Plastic tiles are more expensive and aren’t usually found at local home renovation stores. Tiles will need to be ordered for initial design and whenever replacements are needed, which can increase the cost of the job and ongoing maintenance.


Metal tiles are manufactured to fit the room, so there is no need to cut the tiles further during installation. Because metal tiles are custom cut for each room during their construction, there are more design possibilities.  However, this means that the design and manufacturing process will typically require more time than other ceiling tile options.

The biggest drawback of metal tiles is the custom manufacturing process, which can make them more expensive than other material options.  Costs can range from $2 to $17 per tile. Metal tiles can also have a negative impact on the acoustics of a room, providing more opportunity for reverberation and echo.


Composite tiles can be cheaper than metal tiles and are the best at reducing noise pollution, which makes them ideal for areas that need higher levels of privacy, such law offices or medical centers. Additionally, they are more common than plastic, wood, or metal tiles, allowing for easier repairs and replacement. Composite tiles are made of a combination of mineral fibers and more supportive material like concrete, which means that they are less likely to break than mineral fiber tiles.

Composite tiles may not be as readily available as mineral fiber, which means they may need to be pre-ordered before a job starts.  This also might require that additional tiles are stored on site for maintenance and replacement purposes.


Wood panels are yet another option. Each tile is individually cut, allowing a unique design for each space. Their acoustic capabilities are also better than metal, with less reverberation of sound.  As a result, they can create a unique look without increasing acoustic pollution.

Wood panels can be just as expensive as metal tiles, making them one of the costlier options on the market. The material can be hard to work with, and if they break it can be difficult to replace them, adding to material and maintenance costs.


Each type of panel has its own benefits and challenges. As a result, deciding which type of ceiling tile to use in your construction or rehab project can be a complicated process. We work with you and your designers to find the solution that will best match your project needs and budget. To find out more about our drop down and acoustic ceiling tiles contact us at 303.466.7200.

Safety in Metal Stud Framing

Every construction site has the potential to be a dangerous work space. The myriad of tools and hazards require that people ensure their safety. Working with metal stud framing has its own unique challenges, which can require that the worker remains extra diligent, not only to ensure the safety of themselves and those around them, but also to complete the job in a timely and accurate manner.

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What Is Metal Stud Framing?

Metal stud framing is the skeleton of a building. It provides the framework for interior layout, ensures proper spacing of interior areas, is one of the first steps to any refurbishing or reconstruction project, and is essential to creating a space that is not only functional, but appealing as well.


Metal stud framing is the framework that lays out where partitions within a structure will sit. These partitions define rooms, cubicles, and open spaces, and where items like doors or windows will be positioned.

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Leadership in Construction

At United Builders Services, leadership is one of our core values. We believe that leadership isn’t just about how many projects we complete.  It’s about how we complete them. This is demonstrated in our company philosophy: To complete every project – big or small – to the highest value of global construction services and technical expertise on time, and within budget.

In a world where construction is sometimes completed for the lowest cost as possible, the project is often negatively impacted.  We believe in providing the best quality materials and service while still keeping efficiency in mind for every project.  This is why we take the time needed to work with each customer to ensure that their project is built to their specifications. Read more “Leadership in Construction”

Safety When Using Drywall

Drywall installation is a field where workplace safety remains an important concern. While it may seem like drywall can be installed relatively easily, it is important to be able to spot when a contractor is performing an installation within the expected safety parameters in order to protect the contractors and the site itself.


Because of how sensitive drywall is to the elements, how much of it is used in jobs, and how difficult it can be to maneuver, dry wall should be delivered as close to the job site as possible. However, because drywall takes up a large storage space, it also needs to be placed in a way that it is not a hazard within the work environment.

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Acoustical Ceilings for your Office or Commercial Interior


An acoustical ceiling may conjure up a picture of the roof of an opera house in your mind’s eye, designed to enhance the sound within.  However, acoustical ceilings are actually quite common in commercial real estate and office buildings. They serve as a sound dampener and to conceal HVAC and other building systems. These ceilings are designed to provide a quiet work space where employees can concentrate distraction free. They are sometimes called lay-in ceilings, are versatile, durable, and cost effective, and are popular in many commercial buildings.

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Leading Construction from the Ground Up


When working with large groups of contractors and subcontractors, if details are allowed to slip through the cracks a project can easily get out of hand. Managing numerous people and companies, who all have their own goals and needs, can result in confusion and frustration.

Over the past four decades, United Builders Service has become a leader in metal stud framing and drywall installation in the Denver region.  Throughout this journey, we have worked with numerous subcontractors and contractors.  Our success has come from an unwavering focus on ensuring that each person we bring to a site is not only skilled in their job, but also has the track record to prove it. Through these interactions, we have learned how to work with, lead, and motivate large groups of diverse people to meet GC’s highest expectations for professionalism.

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UBS: Your Drywall Experts


Too often, drywall is looked at as the last step in the construction process, and as a simple task that should be completed as quickly and cheaply as possible. The truth of the matter is that without a proper technique, planning, and an understanding of how dry wall fits into the construction process, an otherwise well planned and executed construction project can end up with significant aesthetic and functional issues.


Dry wall isn’t just a covering for the frame of a structure. It serves as the base for paint, spackle, or other material that will decorate a room. It protects electrical wiring and piping. It essentially works to provide an aesthetic base and protective layer. This is why understanding the process of putting up dry wall is so important. If done incorrectly, it can compromise both the design and the functionality of a room.

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