No matter where you go outside, it seems like someone is flying a drone overhead. But these powerful devices are used for more than entertainment. They have a growing presence on construction sites. At times, a drone can serve as surveillance and capture footage for an inspection. Other times, they actively participate in construction work, lifting and moving objects in areas that are unsafe for humans. It’s incredible how quickly drones have become part of our everyday. Therefore, it’s vital to stay up-to-date on rules and regulations that keep jobsites and people safe when operating drones.
Drones on the job
Drones have many roles in construction. At the basic level, they are used to conduct site surveys and monitor progress in real time. A project manager is able to keep an eye on things from a distance and know exactly where the project stands. The ability to update clients in real-time helps keep projects on task and on budget.
Drones can also do the dirty or dangerous work, like inspecting areas of a jobsite that aren’t safe for workers. Larger drones carry equipment to and from locations that are hard or dangerous for people to access. Their ability to hover and change altitude quickly is helpful to workers onsite.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) provides regulations for drones to keep people and manned aircraft safe. For example, all drones must remain in line-of-sight of the operator at all times. Operators can use drones during the day and 30 minutes before and after daylight. The FAA requires special approval to fly at night and over people.
If you are operating a drone during twilight (which is, 30 minutes before sunrise and 30 minutes after sunset), it must be equipped with anti-collision lighting, adhere to the 100 miles per hour speed limit and not exceed a maximum altitude of 400 feet.
Working with drones
While experience with drones has yet to appear on job postings, it’s not out of the question. It is likely that soon project managers and site managers will need knowledge of operating drones to inspect inventory and order materials as well as provide clients with real-time updates.