With technology developing faster than ever, construction sites of the future are likely to look very different to today. One recent technology becoming increasingly common on building sites are drones. Having developed from the model helicopter and glider world drones or UAVs have become common place on construction sites across the world.
The use of drones in the UK’s construction industry has been a fairly recent phenomenon in comparison to the US. However the industry is slowly but surely getting to grips with adopting this new technology. These devices provide a way to obtain real-time data on things such as aerial survey work, monitoring building safety and even undertaking construction itself.
New legislation introduced in 2021 gave more opportunities to those providing aerial surveys to work with A1 classification of drones (the lightest of all the categories) in built up areas. The prevalence of drones is likely to further increase and dramatically benefit the construction sector, not only by improving health and safety standards but providing a cost-effective method of obtaining previously unobtainable data.
The benefits of using drones in construction
Some other common benefits of using a drone on a site include:
- Inspection of hard to reach structures
- Safety and workflow surveys
- Digital photography and documentation
- Monitoring environmental factors
- Monitoring and improving worker safety
It is clear that using drones has many advantages not least where traditional systems such as ladders, scaffolding or abseiling have a much greater risk. However there use also carries other risks.
The risks of using drones in construction
Companies need to ensure their drones comply with the Civil Aviation Authority’s requirements, this includes strict airspace restrictions. Not only does the company need to be registered but the individual qualified to the required standard and insured. If they do not comply with these requirements, risks include large fines, and in some cases, a possible prison sentence.
The need for insurance
The aerial reach of drones also brings with it the possibility of collisions with people, buildings and other aircraft, leading to property damage, personal injury, and loss of life in extreme cases. Construction companies using drones will need to ensure that their insurance or the drone company cover these risks.
With the above in mind, businesses within the construction sector who are considering using drones, must ensure that operators of drones carry more extensive insurance to protect themselves with regard to their public liability and professional indemnity as a minimum.