Drones, or UAV’s (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) seem to be everywhere these days. Because of their size, availability, price, & function, the drone market is exploding. Drones are also becoming a hot button for government legislation. What does all this mean for the construction industry and how can you safely & legally use drones to help your business?
Drones have come a long way in a very short period of time. Just a few years ago they were an inexpensive toy given for birthdays or Christmas. Unfortunately they were difficult to fly and would just sit on a shelf collecting dust within the first few weeks. Today, drones are GPS enabled machines that are able to capture high resolution photos and 4K (4,000 pixels of width of the footage) video. With a basic understanding of photography and editing software, the photos and videos collected can become a great way to showcase your projects in many different ways.
One of the most important things to keep in mind is how to use a drone legally to protect yourself, your company, and the people around you. All drones from 0.55 to 55 lbs must be registered with the FAA for both hobby and commercial use. Using a drone as a hobby is considered just flying for fun and using the footage for your own personal use. Using a drone for commercial purposes is much different. Most of the building industry is considered commercial use. Some of the most common examples of commercial use is taking real estate and construction photos and videos, aerial surveying jobsites, and performing inspections. These applications require that the drone operator have an FAA license. In order to obtain a FAA license a drone pilot must pass a test that covers general airmen knowledge and an in depth knowledge of drone operations. Many places in Arizona require you to get airport clearance to fly in certain areas. This is important because you do not want to interfere with other aircraft that may be in the area. Safety is the number one concern for a commercial drone pilot. The FAA is starting to levy major fines for people flying drones in places without proper clearances. There is constant legislation to restrict the use of drones, so using a FAA certified pilot is becoming a must for the smart businesses.
Once you have decided to solicit the services of an FAA certified drone company, the benefits to you as a builder, architect, developer or photographer are tremendous. The building industry has been very slow to adopt new technology and practices. The use of drones is quickly becoming a must for many companies to stay current and relevant, so outsourcing to a certified professional is the best way to leverage your time and effort.
Drone footage is a great way to document the progress of a project from pre-construction to the finished product. Imagine being able to send progress updates to a client or investor who is out of state. It is also a great way to see the craftsmanship of the framing and roofing without having to manually get on the roof and risk damage or personal injury.
Another huge benefit of drone use is in marketing. This is most prominent in websites and Social Media platforms. Video content and updated pictures can help dramatically with your website Google rating. Social Media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Houzz, LinkedIn & Pinterest have become a part of everyone’s daily life, so being able to differentiate yourself on those platforms is becoming more challenging. One way to do this is showing off your projects with aerial photos and videos. It is very easy to snap a picture on your phone of the front of your house and put it on Social Media, but so can everyone else. Having an aerial picture or video of the entire property is much more likely to get someone to stop and look at the picture or watch the video and could result in a potential new customer. Realtors have been the quickest to adopt drone footage to help make their listings stand out from other listings.
Drone technology is still brand new but if used properly can be a major benefit to the industry. Please be responsible and always talk to a professional when considering using drones to help your company.
Drones 4 Homes AZ is an Arizona based drone media company. Dan Huggins is a FAA certified Drone (UAV) pilot and has been working in the construction industry for over 15 years. Dan can be contacted at Drones4HomesAZ@gmail.com. Please visit the Instagram page @Drones4HomesAZ or the website at www.Drones4HomesAZ.com