Pros and Cons of Drones for Houston Commercial Construction

Drones are becoming increasingly popular both as toys for consumers and as tools for business enterprises. These versatile devices can provide significant benefits for Houston paving contractor companies and construction firms. Here are some key advantages and challenges associated with the use of drones in the commercial construction environment.

Ideal for Documenting Work in Progress

One of the most practical applications of commercial drones in the construction industry is their use as recording and monitoring devices for projects currently underway. Drones equipped with state-of-the-art recording devices can provide a bird’s eye view of your construction site that can be presented to investors or used to create a photographic record of your ongoing progress. The images generated by these flyovers can be used to create 3-D models of Houston metal buildings, industrial sites and commercial projects. In some cases, these recordings may even serve as evidence in contract disputes and discussions with your corporate investors.

Heavily Regulated Under Federal Law

While the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has relaxed some regulations regarding the use of drones by educational organizations and private individuals in recent months, commercial firms must still undergo a relatively lengthy process to obtain a license to fly these unmanned devices. Drones that weigh less than 55 pounds are governed by the Small UAS Rule, which is expected to take effect on August 29, 2016. Under the provisions of this new regulation, pilots must operate drones within these guidelines:

  • Drones cannot exceed 100 miles per hour or go over 400 feet in height.
  • Pilots must maintain a constant line of sight with the drone they are flying.
  • Nighttime flights are not allowed without special waivers from the FAA.
  • Drones must not be flown over people not directly involved with the work in which the drone is engaged. This includes pedestrians and drivers in the area of a construction site but not involved in the work being performed there.
  • Pilots cannot control drones from a moving vehicle.
  • Manned aircraft have the right of way over unmanned drones.

In many cases, it may be necessary to obtain FAA permission to use drones to monitor and oversee work sites in construction areas. Drones must also be registered with the FAA; pilots must be certified to operate these unmanned flying vehicles and must recertify every two years under current FAA regulations.

Commercial Insurance Policies May Not Cover Drones

For Houston concrete contractor firms and construction companies, checking insurance coverage is essential before deciding to invest in drones for commercial operations. Most policies do not include liability coverage for accidents or damages caused by drone flights. Consulting with your insurance company before implementing a drone strategy can help you avoid unexpected expenses associated with your use of drones in the commercial construction environment. By taking steps to make sure your company is protected against liability, you can ensure the most cost-effective use of these advanced tools on your construction sites.

Cutting-Edge Marketing Strategies

The photographs and video footage available through the use of drones can be used to stunning effect by your marketing department. Your sales team can use these images and video files to showcase your commercial building projects and to promote your previous successes to investors and potential buyers in the real estate marketplace. Drones offer a unique perspective on these sites and can deliver the brilliant and eye-appealing results you need to stand out in the modern construction marketplace.

Balancing the pros and cons of drone usage in the construction industry can help commercial firms achieve a greater degree of control over marketing and contract management tasks. These unmanned flying devices are an excellent way to track the progress of a construction project, manage ongoing promotional campaigns and create compelling presentations for investors and buyers in the Houston commercial construction marketplace. By taking into consideration the risks and requirements for drone implementations, companies can derive the greatest benefit from these modern tools of the trade.

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KCS Construction Services is a general contractor focused on commercial and industrial construction in the Houston area.

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