By Karen L. Edwards.
More contractors are implementing the use of drones every day to monitor job progress, send job images and updates to the owner or manager and capture before and after photos from above.
No longer considered a hobby or just a toy, drones are fast becoming an integral part of every construction project. It’s important to understand that you can’t just buy a drone and start flying it around. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) controls the airspace and there are certain requirements you must follow to legally operate your drone as a commercial business. To start, you must register any drone weighing less than 55 pounds as required under the FAA’s Small UAS Rule (14 CFR part 107). The cost is $5, and registration is good for three years.
The next step is to get your remote pilot certification. In order to do this, you must be at least 16 years old, pass an aeronautical knowledge test at an FAA-approved knowledge testing center and undergo a security screening by the TSA. Once you have your certification, there are still restrictions that must be followed including not flying over people, not flying beyond visual line of sight and staying at or below 400 feet.
After you’ve gone through the process of becoming legal to operate your drone commercially for your business, don’t forget about protecting yourself, your workers and the jobsite with the proper insurance coverage and project contract language. Drones are a new technology and most standard job contracts don’t contain language to account for the use of drones. Work with your construction attorney to develop language that accounts for their use, spells out insurance requirements and indemnification that will cover everyone on the project.
Next, meet with your insurance specialist. If you have general liability insurance, it probably doesn’t cover drones or their use. In fact, it’s likely excluded, and your policy won’t cover any damage resulting from a drone mishap. Fortunately, some of the larger insurance carriers are offering insurance specific to drone operations that guard against damage to the drone, to the job site or to third parties.
Drone use in construction is only going to continue to grow as it delivers so many benefits to everyone involved in a project. Another option, if purchasing a drone and becoming certified is too daunting or time consuming, is to consider hiring an outside drone service to provide project updates and inspections. Be sure they carry the proper insurance, licensing and certifications before securing their services.
Regardless of whether you choose to do it yourself, or hire an outside service, now is the time to establish provisions and policies for the use of drones on each project.
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Source: rooferconfee =>Want to use drones on the jobsite? Here’s what you need to know.