A Sustainable Workforce Starts With You

Drones Flying on to Construction Sites

A recent article in Equipment World called Eyes in the Sky: How drones and UAVs are already affecting construction jobsites is very revealing.  For those of us who built and flew model airplanes in our teen years, this new grown-up sophisticated model aircraft can be fun to fly, but more important, it has already proven its value by flying where no man or woman can go with survey crews, inspection teams, flying over toxic sites, pipelines and even nuclear disasters.

The article highlights the various models of drones being experimented with by three different companies.

First, Richard Evans of SpawGlass called the “Tinkerer” by the author, because he grew up building and flying model airplanes.  Today he uses drones to inspect and fly construction sites At SpawGlass in Houston.

Second, the article interviews the “Researcher,” Javier Irizarry.  He “is one of those few people who have received permission from the federal government to fly UAVs at work. As an associate professor at Georgia Tech’s School of Building and Construction, Irizarry and the CONECTech construction technology lab he directs received a $75,000 grant from the Federal Highway Administration and the Georgia Department of Transportation last year to study the potential uses of UAVs in highway construction and monitoring.”

The third person interviewed for the story is Tommy Tomsu of the Tomsu Group in San Antonio who is working on a start up surveying company that uses drones as an integral part of his business.  And he is proposing to do that before the FAA rules are defined and published.

The article shows a number of existing drones from the simplest the more sophisticated models that can be used to develop BIM models from data collected on fly-overs.

While still experimental, model airplane flyers and construction professionals are gearing up to use them in new and different ways to become more productive and proficient.  Meanwhile the debate goes on about how the government, FAA, will publish the rules to control the drones flying in US airspace and on construction sites around the world.

The rules governing drones and UAVs have morphed over the last decade.  In the US today, drones are allowed to fly below 400 feet and cannot enter restricted airspace.  Also, they have restrictions on UAVs.  Maybe the FAA needs to speed up their review because “Time and Tides wait for no one.”  Construction drones are here to stay.


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