By 2030, it is suggested that there will be 76,000 drones in UK skies – a Sci-Fi lovers fantasy perhaps, but a phenomenon that will be very real and predicted to drive a 3.1% increase in productivity, as well as delivering a saving to the construction industry of £3.5 billion.
Site surveys are one area in which drones will be particularly useful. This is currently a labour-intensive task, but one that a drone can take over and fulfil with almost pinpoint accuracy. Current mapping services will be greatly enhanced, as a drone can offer 2D and 3D photographic visualisation, which will be hugely beneficial.
By integrating aerial drone footage with Building Information Modelling systems, we will also see much improved reporting of construction projects, alongside ongoing updates. These will allow construction partners to maintain a “golden record” of all site activities.
Drone footage will be stored virtually in a Cloud, where various stakeholders should have access to it and be able to use it as an evidence bank, should things go wrong. Traditional bricks and mortar cultures will have to give way to the sharing economy, which will be right at the heart of the construction industry.
Naturally, there will be major implications for construction-sector businesses, given the rapidly evolving technology, These will, in turn, will create new dynamics within the fields of both insurance and health and safety.
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Liability insurance will definitely be in the spotlight, with drones potentially posing a variety of public liability risks. Construction companies will need to pay close attention to the operation of drones and check whether or not their drone pilots have CAA approval – another area of red tape to add to current procedures.
There are also potential implications in terms of privacy, trespass and encroachment, and the right of those adjacent, or close to sites, to not suffer intrusion. Air-space privacy is an individual’s right and fly-past data could come under the same strict regulation as other GDPR-regulated data.
Having robust firewalls and malware protection will be imperative, to avoid any attack on the software surrounding construction projects, so they are not held to ransom and data leaks are prevented.
12 years may seem a long way ahead, but the construction sector already uses drones and so both pubic liability insurance and cyber insurance are already required to cover drone-focused scenarios. New skills in data interpretation and modelling may also bring new commercial insurance needs. The type of claims that could be lodged may not yet be evident, but that is no reason not to buy cover.
If you need to check whether your construction business requires additional protection, please get in touch on 01245 449060
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