Drones for Construction: What You Should Know

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Drones are a rising trend in numerous industries. Today, the effect of automaton innovation on the digital transformation of the construction world is unquestionable. What began as a novelty camera or recreational toy has rapidly become an upper hand for those ready to get the best use of it.

Below we are providing specifics about what drones have done to enhance construction activities, and furthermore give you some trustworthy information on how you can buy the most suitable models, and recommend the best options in the market these days.

Please note that we also refer to drones as UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles), unmanned aircraft, flying machines, flying robots, or automation.

Without any further ado, let’s get into the guide.

Drone technology for construction sites: An overview

Two Specialists Use Drone on Construction Site. Architectural Engineer and Safety Engineering Inspector Fly Drone on Building Construction Site Controlling Quality. Focus on Drone

UAVs can do substantially more than produce top-quality images. Scanning with these devices can yield numerous sorts of helpful information. They can utilize add-on equipment, for example, thermal sensors, geo-locating, and infrared to help with mapping building sites as well as modeling construction projects. You can convert the recording captured into 3D models with incorporated real-world conditions, which will enable increasing feasibility, better iteration, and more precise bids during the phase of pre-construction.

A couple of the noteworthy benefits of incorporating drone technology include: 

  • More smooth job site progress monitoring
  • Simple accessibility through cloud-based integration
  • Progressively exact digital information to enable increasingly precise readings 
  • Reduced risk and as a result, lower costs 
  • Reduced procedure and analysis times

In particular, the flying robots have influenced the construction industry by: 

  • Calculating overburden to prepare for a proficient removal
  • Annotating images and maps for more straightforward communication
  • Calculating height, width, and length for roads and structures
  • Calculating material types and stockpile volume for inventory
  • Allow for better building site monitoring

UAVs are holding a significant position in the construction procedure and are expanding in prevalence and usefulness. Creative site managers are consistently finding new applications for UAV technology on building sites.

Benefits of drones in construction

UAV innovation has revolutionized how stakeholders view their site and visualize a finished project, as well as enables substantially more meticulous analysis of progress throughout the course of construction.

1. UAVs should make your firm more competitive 

These flying machines have gained traction so rapidly in light of the construction industry’s competitiveness. Enterprises utilizing drone innovation have the upper hand over many other firms that are not as innovative and adhering to conventional methods of surveying and analyzing job sites. Including UAV innovation in your undertakings can be an attractive sales tool that likely makes the difference between a customer and a lead.

2. They offer additional data

Drones likewise can add the value of the client at the time of handover. Giving the customer visual information on the as-built state of the structure enables them to all the more likely manage and keep up the property after you have completed your work. Having this sort of data on file additionally diminishes the likelihood of litigation and can be leveraged as a defensive tool.

3. UAVs help with monitoring progress 

drone view construction site downwardDrone view of a construction site. Photo by Shane McLendon on Unsplash

Drones help the project owner and you visualize the finished task and check how the work is going at all times. As you know, construction can be a time-consuming undertaking, and it is not in every case simple to communicate to a customer where precisely your time and their cash go. UAVs nullify that vulnerability by enabling cautious observation all through the whole procedure. 

4. They are cost-saving

These aircraft vehicles are additionally a colossal cost-saver across various types of expenses. As a construction business owner, you can monitor job sites live as well as notice suspicious activities, for example, wasted time or burglary. You are likewise ready to invoice all the more precisely by performing more excellent quality inspections of work finished. 

5. This type of aircraft will help protect your crew

What you may like is that your team can utilize the surveillance to check areas for resources and materials, as opposed to moving about the building site, uncertain if assets and equipment are the places they should be. You can likewise utilize the automaton to check hazardous locations remotely without gambling hurting your crew.

6. They condense data

These flying robots themselves have been expanding in quality, and the same goes for the software that drives them. Cutting-edge fleet management innovations lessen the work it takes to run a single automaton by allowing a couple of fleets to cooperate all through a place of work and return all pertinent data collected back to the construction team. Software upgrades enable businesses to scale the operations of their company all the more rapidly while having the option to oversee more UAVs at once and leverage them in more areas. 

Generally speaking, drones limit the quantity of unnecessary work and boost efficiency because of increasingly cautious checking of the construction procedure. You will be able to catch mistakes far earlier and fix them before they grow into a progressively irksome issue. With every one of these benefits, it is undeniable why drone innovation has been executed so rapidly.

Some downsides of current UAV technology

While UAVs give a lot of benefits to your construction firm, they are not without certain disadvantages to think about. 

In the U.S., the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) has implemented a compulsory registration of drones before flying to get a certification that enables the operation of UAVs in construction legitimately. Those who do not comply can receive penalties from $27,500 to $250,000 and/ or imprisonment. Particular restrictions may likewise be set up based on the state you live in.

Different nations have comparable policies set up, and new ones are being created. In case you are thinking about executing land surveying technology at your building site, make certain to research what restrictions you have in your location.

Another thing to note, UAVs are uncrewed aircraft vehicles. Still, they, despite everything, need a human to operate, and amateur or reckless control of these flying robots in construction may result in collisions leading to property harm and personal injury that will leave you responsible. 

A frequently neglected extra expense of drones is insurance to assist in covering these dangers and limit loss brought about by mishaps. Guaranteeing UAVs are being directed safely is also essential to abstain from bringing harm to your team and cost you additional cash.

Where UAV innovation is going in the industry of construction

drone view of a construction siteDrone view of a construction site. Photo by Scott Blake on Unsplash

1. Rules and regulations

UAVs utilized for business purposes have grown amazingly over the previous decade. As needs be, the government has developed policies to manage by whom, how, where, and when they can be run. 

While executing your projects, do not forget to counsel the full FAA regulations. Below are a few rules that your third-party provider or you must conform to: 


  • Finish an Aeronautical Knowledge Test, pass a TSA (Transportation Safety Administration) security screening, as well as get your Remote Pilot Certification via the FAA.
  • You should be more than 16 years of age and be of sound body and mind to fly allowed UAVs. 
  • With medical exceptions, you have to talk, read, write, and understand English.
  • Register your automaton with the FAA.


  • UAVs must weigh under 55 pounds.
  • Your automaton must not surpass 100 mph speeds or a 400-feet flying height. 
  • Follow the Drone Line of Sight Rule, inclusive of flying in daylight. 
  • To regard the safety and privacy of citizens, you cannot fly right over people.
  • Operate the drone in Class G airspace. In case you plan to inspect zones close to airports, you should tell the authorities ahead of time, and of you are provided with the go ahead, you should consistently keep an eye on human-crewed airplanes.

You should adhere to these rules to stay away from penalties, practice smart and safe flying, and build up a powerful program for your firm. 

2. UAV operating safety tips

Knowing the appropriate flying practices is necessary. Following are some general UAV operating tips to guarantee your pilots are safe and responsible:

  • Prior to flying, check your automaton for properly functioning parts or any harm.
  • Move your battery out when the robot is not being used, or you are doing the upkeep. 
  • Keep your clothing and fingers clear from the drone propellers.
  • Account for delaying flights in bad conditions of weather, for example, extreme wind, snow, and rain since they can harm your automaton and worsen the quality of shots taken.
  • Plan the flights extensively and comprehend the place to be covered as well as the restrictions on where you can stand while operating the UAV.
  • Be aware of people or animals in the location you are shooting. 
  • Stick to the Drone Line of Sight Rule, which will guarantee you generally have a visual of your machine, know about obstacles and risks, and reduce your distractions.
  • Have a total comprehension of the FAA rules and make yourself stay updated.

3. Thermal imaging

For your information, thermal imaging is a need for UAV advancement. This development enables the automaton’s camera to distinguish infrared radiation in the electromagnetic spectrum, which permits the exact mapping of various structures, equipment, and landscapes.

Thermal imaging can be useful for inspecting power grids, solar panels, pipelines, and roofs for any failure, overheating, leaks, and appropriate insulation. Thermal drones likewise can assist in critical circumstances in case you have an employee caught in heavy fog or smoke who needs help. These kinds of UAVs can spot living creatures through practically any non-physical visibility barrier.

Engineers use the infrared scanner is installed on the drone to check the heat, humidity, irradiance to analyze to make sure the system is working at full efficiency.

More automation is certain to come too. AI (artificial intelligence) is becoming smarter and being executed on more devices. However, do you get Ai’s meaning for UAVs? UAV mapping will turn out to be smoother, which enables your flying robot to figure out trends in the behavior to tell it to do, and, in the long run, have the option to use its capacities without manually scheduling flights.

4. Streaming

Recording as well as streaming UAV footage to the web will likewise turn out to be progressively common and will enable enhanced transparency in the operations going on all through any job, thus improving the client’s trust and forestalling roadblocks that you may have encountered by adjusting your strategy correctly later on. 

We will probably witness even more innovative UAV applications in the construction field in the future.

5. Are there jobs to be found flying UAVs in construction? And what do they pay?

A report made by Skyward discovered that UAV construction work had the greatest piece of the commercial UAV market.

An incredible 35% of the firms surveyed who revealed utilizing the flying machines in their activities distinguished themselves as working in Engineering and Construction (i.e., working with UAVs in construction as well as related projects).

So in case you are a UAV pilot keen on looking for some kind of employment on a building site, the information appears to show that there are jobs to be had, provided that you have the appropriate aptitudes.

Freelance or In-house?

Alright, so you desire to fill in as a pilot operating UAVs in construction. Would it be a good idea for you to attempt to get recruited by an enterprise’s in-house UAV program, or would it be advisable for you to attempt to get employed as a freelance pilot? 

According to a UAV industry survey, 86 out of 370 of respondents (23 percent) who worked for a firm as a UAV pilot revealed working in Aggregates/ Mining/ Construction. This was the biggest single category for those that are operating UAVs as a part of an in-house UAV activity. 

Meanwhile, the percentage of self-employed/ freelance automaton pilots who worked in construction was simply the equivalent, with 23% of freelance respondents (81 out of 353) who are working in Aggregates/ Mining/ Construction. 

In view of this information, it appears as though there is likely work to be had either by following the self-employed route or entering an in-house drone program.

6. Drone insurance providers and policies

As with some other vehicles, you will need insurance when operating UAVs. There are three sorts of coverage: Payload, Hull, and Liability Insurance. 

For commercial demands, you will need a policy that incorporates all of the three. Since you want protection against theft, we suggest yearly plans over “on-demand” coverage which charges per hour of flight. Presently what amount would it be advisable for you to spend, and what limits do you need?

  • Liability: Insures against harm to people, structures, and power lines. Term: Annual
  • Hull and Payload: Covers your payload and hardware against accidental harms. Term: Annual
  • “On-Demand”: Known as pay-per-flight coverage, most suitable for one-time operations. Term: Hourly

Providers you may want to consider:

How to select your software

By putting your data to work, we refer to picking the proper software.

All things considered, an impressive site survey is just valuable when you can alter and share the data. The same goes for cinematic recordings shot in 4k. However, both of these cases need different software. So what is the best one for you? 

There are a few kinds of UAV software, each having to do with a different procedure. Here, we are giving breakdowns of the use cases.

1. Management of data: download, stitch, and leverage

Main purposeManagement of data is where the genuine value of your automaton will be figured out. It ought to be anything but difficult to visualize, analyze, as well as share data from one platform.
Key features- A collaborative platform for sharing files and insights
- Measurement tools for analyzing the geospatial information
- Download as well as stitch aerial pictures into a base map
Suggested providers- ArcGIS
- DroneDeploy
- Kespry

2. Planning of mission: plot, upload, and fly

Main purposeFlying your automaton on a pre-programmed, computer-controlled, pre-modified path of flight is the most straightforward approach to accomplish reliable quality. Numerous UAVs provide on-deck flight programming, and these options enable significantly more control.
Key features- VR integration or 4K transmission
- In-flight checks
- Waypoint missions and flight logging
Suggested providers- Pix4Dcapture
- DroneDeploy

3. Airspace apps: situational awareness

Main purposeThese apps assist you with checking the weather, flight logs, and no-fly zones. They are generally useful for operating your drone in regularly changing conditions and areas, or those having to fly near airports.
Key features- A collaborative platform for sharing files and insights
- Flight integration and FAA maps
- Fast notifications
Suggested providers- Measure
- Airmap

4. 3D mapping: modeling on scales

Main purpose3D Models give an exact way of quantifying nearly anything. With flying robots, scaling big objects in three dimensions has never been simpler.
Key features- A collaborative platform for sharing files and insights
- Distance measurement tools
- Automated structural inspections
Suggested providers- Agisoft
- Kespry

What to consider when buying a UAV for your construction site

Construction site workers. Aerial, top View

1. Key considerations

When comparing construction UAV technology firms and choosing which model to buy, you ought to think about a couple of various factors:

Quality of the camera

The higher the camera’s resolution utilized by an automaton, the better the image quality you will get. HD (high definition) images are essential for specific software and features to work effectively; that is why to get the best use out of a drone, you will need a decent camera.


How simple it is to take your UAV between areas varies in significance and relies on its applications. In the event that the automaton will be in one area for expanded measures of time, portability may not be the most crucial element in your buying choice.

But be that as it may, in case you think you will be persistently cycling your flying robots through various building sites, then you will need to be certain that the automaton is not excessively heavy, and you may even need to have the option to decrease its size by collapsing it into a compact form.


Can the automaton remain perfect in building site environments that, in general, have a great deal of residue and dirt being thrown about? In case your robot cannot take up the elements and unavoidable wear and tear, it is not worthy of the investment regardless of how cutting-edge the innovation is inside. 


Stability handles wind speed resistance and how well your drone can remain centered while flying in harsh conditions with a great deal of rain or air movement. Think about what sort of dangers you face on your common job sites and make a UAV choice depending on what seems, by all accounts, to be best outfitted to manage those risks and still produce a top-notch image regardless of what the weather involves. 

Ease of use

See if the automaton comes ready-to-fly (RTF) out of the box. In case you need to purchase a modular camera, how simple will it be to install? You will likewise need to know whether the automaton comes with any chargers or what other additional items you may need. 

These are, on the whole, questions that you should pose to yourself in regards to the simplicity of utilizing your UAV. There are absolutely a few models that make the installation and operation more straightforward as compared to others. 

Remembering these five factors when looking for trustworthy UAV firms and devices will assist you with making the best, most informed choice on the best UAVs for building sites.

2. Common drone purchasing mistakes to avoid

There are a couple of cautions to bear in mind when buying a flying robot for construction:

Do not account for purchasing the newest, most costly UAV

UAVs are continually evolving. The most current and best-in-class innovation will descend in cost fast. In the event that a less expensive, more established choice still meets your requirements, we suggest you consider buying it.

Do not try to get by with a hobbyist UAV

Hobby flying machines might be less expensive (and enjoyable to operate); however, they are not intended to be the solid workhorse you need. You should abstain from utilizing hobbyist UAVs for professional purposes. With the versatility of models such as the Mavic Pro from DJI, the benefits of hobby flying robots have been replaced.

Avoid springing for fixed-wing drones

There is a reason that a lot of flying robots you find being used are quadcopters. 

Fixed-wing UAVs have particular situations where they are superior, for the most part, with respect to flight range and endurance. The not-too-good news is that these advantages are null because regulations necessitate that you keep visual contact with your automaton. What’s more, by and large, fixed-wing modes are harder to look after, launch, and land. 

Avoid purchasing a UAV that does not insert geolocation information automatically into every photograph

In case you do not know, geo-reffing sucks. It has to do with combing through a large number of photos and coordinating UAV GPS information to the timestamps on your photos. If your UAV is not inserting geo-area information automatically into every photograph, you may be wasting energy and time.

3. The best 5+ drones for construction

We have put together some of the best drones for construction that you may want to consider. 

For the further significant information about each of these models, do not forget to check out this full review.

The bottom line

Drones can be particularly useful in your construction projects. If you are kicking off a program for your enterprise, simply need some drone operating tips, or searching for the most suitable construction UAVs, this ultimate guide has got you covered. Be sure you read through it.

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