The camera drone—also called a UAS (Unmanned Aircraft System) or UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle)—has moved from the toy department to the construction company’s tool supplier. Buzzing about, checking the site and the work, drones are becoming as familiar on the job as hard hats and safety vests. And like those ubiquitous safety equipment staples, drones have a place in protecting workers as well as feeding high-level information to the boss.

Drones on the jobsite can eliminate various dangers by inspecting the upper reaches of a structure to ID potential safety hazards. Drones, properly outfitted, can carry tools and other items to upper stories quicker than workers can and then survey the site for mislaid or abandoned equipment at the end of the workday. In this way, they can help secure the site and the equipment.

For example, 3DR is a drone technology company based in Berkeley, Calif. Its flagship product, Site Scan, is a complete drone data platform built for construction and engineering professionals to help them build and manage the physical world.

PCL Construction started working with 3DR in 2016 to leverage drone technology for site documentation, quality control, progress reporting, and more. Site Scan includes an iPad app for drone flight planning and a web application for turning drone photos into precise maps as well as 3D models of construction sites. It also allows project teams to share updates with owners and project stakeholders. It’s been used on more than 30 PCL projects across North America.

PCL is a group of independent construction companies that carries out work across the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, and in Australia. These diverse operations in the civil infrastructure, heavy industrial, and buildings markets are supported by a strategic presence in 31 major centers. Together, these companies have an annual construction volume of $7 billion. The company has entered into a three-year corporate licensing agreement with 3DR to make its software, Site Scan, available for unlimited use on all PCL projects, worldwide.

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