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Five Valuable Business Lessons Learned About Drones in Construction

drones in construction

We just released a new research report titled “Five Valuable Business Lessons Learned About Drones in Construction.” This is the first in a new series of white papers sponsored by BZ Media intended to share lessons learned in specific industries and how to maximize the value drones can deliver in those industries. This year, we are building on the analysis we did for the 2016 “Truth About” papers by incorporating real-world experience gained from businesses and drone pilots operating under the Federal Aviation Administration’s Small Unmanned Aircraft Regulations (aka FAA Part 107).

In the report, which is authored by Chris Korody, the founder of, we demonstrate what drone operators servicing the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry have learned about what works and what doesn’t. We explore both the benefits and limitations of drones for Building Information Modeling (BIM) projects and offer practical advice to would-be adopters. We answer questions like: What have construction companies learned about creating their own internal drone operations groups? And where do we go or what can we expect from here?

Here is an excerpt:

The $8.5 trillion global construction industry is both massive and far-flung—there is no place in the world that does not build things. The industry’s problems reflect an age-old tradition of architects and engineers throwing plans over the wall to be reworked by contractors and subcontractors. It’s not that the system doesn’t work—it’s that the rework eats up increasingly thin margins, wastes huge amounts of material, and creates massive delays. And since much of it is on paper, trying to integrate and keep track of complex projects is no easy task.

In a June 2016 report, McKinsey quantified the problem: “Large projects across asset classes typically take 20 percent longer to finish than scheduled and are up to 80 percent over budget. Construction productivity has actually declined in some markets since the 1990s.” Of the 22 industries McKinsey analysed, the construction industry is second to last; only agriculture has made less progress digitising its workflows.

The sheer scale of the problem led Goldman Sachs to write that the first large-scale use of commercial drones will be in construction. It makes perfect sense. Visual line of site (VLOS) works just fine on construction sites. A growing group of software vendors are targeting the space with increasingly useful solutions. And a new  generation of drones is delivering much needed functionality.

The report goes on to detail the business lessons learned from drone-based projects done by hundreds of firms across the globe—not just for construction but also for engineering and architectural firms. It also provides insights from Richard Lopez, VDC (visual design construction) Manager at Hensel Phelps, a $3.1B 80-year-old construction company in Greeley, CO.  

You can get the free report here.

If you have questions about what’s in the report or would like to comment on it after reading it, write us as [email protected] and [email protected].


Image credit: BZ Media

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