Droning On – The Increase in Drone Use in Construction and Roofing
Here at D-marc we’ve brought you several articles in recent months on one of the newest technologies which is revolutionising the roofing sector – drones. Using a drone is a safe way of accessing digital capture information and is on the increase here in the UK. In fact, more than half (52%) of construction companies are now using drones to capture data, compared with a third (33%) in 2017. The findings are the result of a poll carried out by an aerial mapping, surveying and inspection specialist, ProDroneWorx, but the poll also revealed that more advanced digital/reality capture outputs are being under used.
This survey clearly shows just how much drone technology has advanced in a short period of time, largely as a result of specialist drone operators pushing for the development and integration of drone technology with Building Information Modelling (BIM) so that the construction industry (and the roofing sector, in particular) can make the most of the benefits available and minimise misuse of this cool new technology.
A consultation completed last summer led to new legislation which gives the police added powers to land, seize and search drones. The new legislation also requires that all operators of drones between 250g and 20kg are registered and the government is committed to finalising the Drone Bill in 2019.
We were recently treated to a clear demonstration of the misuse of drones when Gatwick Airport was plagued by a drone which resulted in runways shutting down and thousands of travellers having their journeys disrupted (and their Christmas ruined) by cancelled flights. The drone threat lasted for several days, involved the Sussex Police force who finally requested that the military be deployed to help end the crisis.
According to the survey, the top three reasons given for adopting the use of drone technology are as follows:
- Improved data quality (56%)
- Time saving (54%)
- Reduction of risks (42%)
However, there are fewer companies than last year planning to use drone technology in-house which is probably a reflection of the level of knowledge and expertise needed to do so. Here at D-marc we’ve already explained how the use of drones for certain tasks can reduce the need to work at height, making roofing work safer. We’ve also identified this as a real business opportunity for drone pilots who provide services to the construction industry and the roofing sector.
However, the survey results also highlight the fact that drone technology is currently not being used to its full potential. Although 74% of respondents claim to use drone s for photography and video, the potential value-added services, such as aerial LiDAR (light and radar combined), 3D point clouds, 3D modelling, digital terrain/surface modelling, orthophotography and thermal imaging, are largely ignored thus far.
Making full use of drone technology will transform traditional business models and help to reshape the markets for construction, infrastructure and asset inspection. As we’ve said before, this is a real business opportunity for budding drone pilots who are savvy enough to get onboard quickly.