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Drones in the Construction Industry Take Flight

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In cities all over Australia, the residential construction boom shows no signs of slowing down. Thanks to a steadily growing population, foreign investment, and a generation of first homebuyers keen on getting their foot in the door with property, new residential living options are seemingly endless.

However, these new residential developments need a way to stay competitive and promote themselves efficiently in this crowded market. Leveraging new technologies to do this has been underpinned by one innovative product in particular – drones.

The use of drones, once reserved to the realm of military applications, is now rapidly expanding to commercial and recreational activities. A great example of it is their burgeoning use in the construction industry.

Drones Are Taking Off In Development

Stuart Biggs is the Development Director – Residential for Three Pillars, a Melbourne-based development company delivering residential and commercial developments to market. Biggs says the company has recognised a need to regularly inform their investment clients and homebuyers on the visual progress of each development.

“The access to cost-effective and professional drones shooting in 4K has provided us access to professional media." 

“We needed a tool that would allow us to update our valued investors and homebuyers with minimal screen time and within a cost-effective method,” he says. “The access to cost-effective and professional drones shooting in 4K has provided us access to professional media. We have utilised freelancers to manage the editing and provide a professional delivery once we have gathered the material.”

Biggs notes the resulting videos have had great feedback from purchasers.

Providing a 360° View

Drones can be used in construction for a variety of different applications. These include tall tree inspections, property acquisition and due diligence, sales and marketing purposes. They can be also used to provide client updates, as well as to review and manage civil and construction progress.

“Drone footage is a huge advancement on photography, which provides a static moment in time with limited reference to the position within the project or overall,” says Biggs. “With drones, we’re able to capture a 360° view, commenting on the construction progress and timeline. This provides all stakeholders a quick and valuable snapshot of the development progress in under 60 seconds.”

Biggs advises that those thinking of investing in drones should choose a reliable option, and be mindful about commercial weight requirements. He also notes that weather conditions must be suitable for operating a drone, and compliance with health and safety (which includes coordinating with the project manager or construction supervisor) is paramount to ensuring a smooth drone filming experience.

Looking to the Future with Drones

In Biggs’s opinion, there has been a slow adoption of drones in construction. He notes this has previously been restricted due to drone setup times, cost to purchase, or lack of time during the working day to record.

He notes this has previously been restricted due to drone setup times, cost to purchase, or lack of time during the working day to record. 

The future, however, holds a brighter promise of the application of drones in this industry. Biggs envisages drones replacing onsite crane delivery in part, and potentially assisting high-risk construction manoeuvres.

Drones are being used increasingly more often by other counterparts in the industry, not just developers. For example, architects are now using them to inspect challenging aspects of high-rise roofing, without the inspector needing to leave the ground. Home insurers are also using drones to assess claims, particularly in areas affected by natural disaster, whereby it may be difficult or unsafe for people to access the area. 

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