28. Feb 2018

Drone Use in Demolitions

Drones have increasingly been adopted by the demolition industry. Beyond aerial imagery, implementing drone technology is now used throughout the entire demolition lifecycle: initial site surveys, estimating costs, delivering volumetric measurements, identifying layout accuracy, and more.

Initial Drone Regulations

The Federal Aviation Administration has issued the first of its small commercial drone rules, with more to follow. The FAA has limited their use to daylight hours, a maximum altitude of 400 feet, and speed limits of 100 mph. These rules apply to drones weighing less than 55 pounds, and they require drones to have anti-collision lights for twilight operation. Operators must pass a written test every two years as well as a background check.

Before the FAA issued these rules, the agency decided on an individual basis through an exemption application process that determined which companies could operate drones commercially.

Greater Safety

Commercial drone operators have welcomed these new regulations and expect that safety will improve by discouraging dangerous drone operations.

Additional FAA drone regulations include:

  • Operators must be 16 years of age or older
  • Operators must perform a preflight safety check before operation but are not required to obtain an FAA airworthiness certification for the drone
  • Drones cannot be flown over people unless they’re part of the drone operation or are covered by a structure or in a vehicle
  • Operators must keep the drone in their line of sight

FAA officials said operators can seek exemptions to any part of this first round of drone rules, which take effect 60 days after publication in the Federal Register, with the exception of altitude, weight, and speed requirements.

Drones have become an innovative technology in the demolition industry due to their ability to monitor demolition sites, collect data, take photos, and send the data to project managers. In April, the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) reported that the construction and infrastructure industries represented a significant portion of commercial drone usage. These two sectors accounted for nearly 40 percent of FAA approved exemptions. Florida based construction projects represented 192 exemptions, California had 191, and Texas had 166.

In addition, the National Association of Home Builders reported that larger projects were more likely to use drones in construction and demolition. A full 43 percent of builders with 100 starts or more had incorporated drones into their daily operations, while only 12 percent with fewer than six unit starts utilized drones.

SV Demolition embraces the latest technologies to improve efficiency and safety. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you with your next demolition project, whether it is a single family home or a plant decommissioning project. Call us today at 408.218.0993.