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.
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.
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.
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