9 Facts Contractors Should Know About Drones


Drones are quickly becoming a regular part of a construction project. However, there are decisions to make before getting one.

Drones are used increasingly in construction projects and can make the project go faster and reduce injuries to employees. They can also provide video reports for the project timeline and improve efficiency. Time-saving measures are important to contractors, and taking required continuing education courses for relicensing can also be done in a way that saves time and effort. Online and correspondence education courses from a preapproved contractor school help meet the educational requirements while allowing a contractor to complete them anywhere, anytime and at considerable cost savings.

Know What the Laws Are About Drone Use

Rules by the Federal Aviation Administration on commercial drones went into effect in August 2016, which makes it easier to become licensed, plus they had to be handled by a licensed aircraft pilot. The changes in rules means that a drone pilot must be at least 16 and pass a written flight exam that consists of 60 multiple choice questions.

Learn What the Flight Restrictions Are:

  • Drone must remain within sight of the operator.
  • In the construction business, drones may fly over construction workers but not over people not involved in the job.
  • Drones are not allowed to fly faster than 100 mph and must stay below 400 feet.
  • Drones must be equipped with anti-collision lights.
  • Drones may not be flown after dark, although twilight is acceptable.
  • Drones must weigh no more than 55 pounds.

Make Sure You Have the Right Insurance

While some drones are inexpensive, those used for construction projects probably need to be a higher grade. Purchasing liability and hull insurance is a good idea. The liability insurance will kick in if your drone happens to injure someone or hit something on private property and cause damage. Hull insurance will cover damage to your drone.

Establish Guidelines

Before purchasing a drone, decide exactly what type of data collection the company will be doing and how the drone will be used. In addition, take into consideration weather conditions in your area. This can influence which drone is purchased for the job. Further, setting up guidelines for operations and training is a good idea.

Construction industry

Monitoring work progress using a drone gives the contractor a better picture of whether work is proceeding on schedule.

Decide Whether Your Drone Operation Will Be In-House or Contracted Out

There are advantages to both. Drone operation that is performed in-house means that you can use it at any time and target the tasks more precisely. However, then it’s necessary to train a pilot/pilots, get them licensed, purchase the drone/drones and map out the strategy and guidelines on how they will be used. By using a drone service provider, a contractor does not have to be concerned with flight rules, licensing, purchase of a drone or what type of software to purchase. Cost effectiveness, frequency of use and other factors can help a contractor decide which would be better.

Keep Track of Current and Future Drone Technology

This is an important part of finding new ways to integrate drone technology into the construction industry. The latest advances show drones being used in deliveries, 3D printing and in construction itself.

Drone Use in 3D Printing

Early testing is still being conducted on 3D printer drones and may expand in the future to construct entire buildings. According to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, they have created a system that can construct a basic building in under 14 hours that measures 12-feet tall and 50 feet in diameter. Construction drones are already in use in Amsterdam, where these printers constructed a bridge made of steel several years ago that is used over a canal.

Making Deliveries by Drone

No, drones obviously cannot be used to make large deliveries to a construction site. However, they can be used to deliver smaller items to workers, such as tools, nails, etc. Workers can order deliveries using a smartphone or tablet. They may also control a drone to go retrieve the needed items.

Construction Drones

Drones that do actual construction will be used in the future to work in places that are hazardous or in tight spaces but can be utilized anywhere they are needed. As an example, a drone can be used to carry sheet metal or wire, tighten screws or lay pipes without the necessity of having a worker do the job. However, teams of drones would be needed for this type of work as well as controllers to operate them.

Continuing Education Through an Online Contractor School

PDH Contractor Academy offers online and correspondence courses in a number of different states to help a contractor complete requirements for relicensing. Courses are also available in bundles that complete all or most requirements of a state and offer further savings. All courses are preapproved by the appropriate state licensing board. When a course has been completed successfully, we supply the licensing board with notification, where it is allowed, and send a copy of the certificate to the contractor for his or her files. Browse courses by state to learn more.

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