How to Use Drones on a Construction Site

Drones are saving time, labor, and even preventing safety risks with their ability to scale tall buildings and observe otherwise difficult viewpoints, keeping workers out of harm’s way.

Drones are saving time, labor, and even preventing safety risks with their ability to scale tall buildings and observe otherwise difficult viewpoints, keeping workers out of harm’s way.

Most construction companies are using drones because they give a realistic and accurate aerial view of their construction projects, but today they are used for much more. Thermal imaging, infrared sensing, progress capturing, land surveying, measuring, and marketing are just a few of the ways drones are being used on construction sites. They are saving time, labor, and even preventing safety risks with their ability to scale tall buildings and observe otherwise difficult viewpoints, keeping workers out of harm’s way.

Forward-looking infrared (FLIR) drones are equipped with sensors used to detect heat in faulty electrical joints, as well as energy loss or consumption or insulation defects as part of installing and inspecting HVAC. Drones are used for surveying, mapping and to create a 3D rendering of a project. These tasks traditionally required a plane, crane or helicopter along with a staff of data scientists and now only take a few hours and a couple of people.

Graphic illustrating growth of drone use in construction

Graphic illustrating growth of drone use in construction

Areas where drone use affects the construction process

Areas where drone use affects the construction process

See one of March Construction’s recent aerial videos of the construction site of The Chelsea Senior Housing in Greenburgh, NY:

Capturing progress via aerial photos or videos is great for marketing purposes. It can be presented to investors, banks, potential clients, and used to update online social media platforms to keep clients and customers engaged and updated with our current work.

However, there are guidelines, regulations and other challenges to using a drone for commercial construction purposes. An FAA-Certified Drone Pilot must operate the drone. Permitting is often required to film a building in urban areas. While there are still some legal exceptions for small drones under 5lbs flying under 400 ft high, it is important to consider that you or the company you use are following the proper procedures when using drones.

As a project manager, I have worked on and completed for Capital Senior Housing (Shrewsbury NJ, Greenburgh NY, and New City, NY) the owner’s representative comes to the construction site at least once per month to fly’s his drone to measure project progress from the prior month. This is valuable for the whole project team because it gives people working off-site a comprehensive view of the project, i.e. the architects, engineers, the bank / lender and also the sales team.

To learn more about drones (UAVs) read our last blog post on drones, “Drone Use in Construction – A Closer Look”.

Article “How to Use Drones in Construction” by Project Manager Bill Serafin