These days, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or more commonly, drones, are not just for photographers and hobbyists.
Today, they are quickly becoming a part of the commercial world. They are a prominent tool for many in several different industries, ranging from agriculture and law enforcement to construction—including general contractors and specialty subcontractors, like roofers.
Drones are here, helping businesses save time and money, keeping their employees safe, and providing them with accurate information to better their business.
Sound enticing? We think so too. However, before you think of adding a drone into your business plan, there are a few things you need to know.
Want to start using a drone for your business? Here’s how:
To use a drone for commercial purposes you (or your designated pilot) will need to obtain a remote pilot certificate in accordance with the FAA regulations under Part 107, by taking an exam, and once passing, completing the FAA Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application.
FAA Rules to Keep in Mind
There are rules set by the FAA that you must follow and keep in mind when flying. We’ve listed a few below:
- Unmanned aircraft must weigh less than 55 pounds, including payload, at takeoff
- Fly at or below 400 ft above ground level, if flying at an altitude higher than 400 ft, you must stay within 400 ft of a structure
- Keep your drone within your visual line of sight
- Fly during daylight or civil twilight hours
Which Drone is right for you?
You’ll need to find the right drone for you. First consider the three categories of drones there are: fixed wing, single rotor, and multirotor.
Each one is going to have its own unique advantages and disadvantages. Botlink supports both fixed wing and multirotor drones, favoring multirotor drones for construction. Particularly, here at Botlink, we suggest using DJI’s Phantom 4 for all construction needs, but the decision is ultimately up to you.
Increase your number of inspections, while improving safety and efficiency on the job site. Photo via unspalsh.com
How to Save Time and Money Using Drones as a Roofing Contractor
Now that you have the basics, you’re probably wondering what a drone could do for you, as a roofing contractor? Well, roofing contractors are looking to innovations in technology to improve safety, accuracy, and time on job sites.
Using drone technology and software, you can improve your estimating processes and excel your business by:
The safety of your employees is your top concern. Using a drone minimizes the need for anyone to physically climb onto a roof, keeping you and your employees safe from falling and improving safety.
Saving Time and Money
A typical roofing measurement lasts more than an hour. Automating the process with drone technology and our Botlink software reduces inspection time to 20 minutes, allowing you time for more estimating calls.
Protecting Your Company
Survey your job site using high resolution images to identify entry and exit points and obstacles and determine location to store material. Show your customer the condition of the roof and document existing damage to protect yourself from potential issues.
Achieving Automated, Accurate Measurements
Generic satellite imagery uses outdated photos that can be more than 30 days old. Images captured are uploaded in real-time and immediately available to review data. Receive a personalized report, high quality images, 3D renderings with dimensions for even the most detailed areas, including overhangs to improve your estimates and minimize material waste.
Impressing Your Customers
Set your company apart from the competition and impress potential customers with before and after videos, high resolution images and educational videos. Use the images captured when presenting your findings to highlight problem areas.
View job site progress, add comments or plan material storage with aerial imagery.
What Software Features do I need to Improve Safety and Save Time?
Botlink, an automated flight and analytics software, supports many construction operations, including:
- Project management
Botlink enables construction professionals working in these areas to create high definition maps, turn 2D images into 3D models, and generate terrain models of their job sites.
Botlink allows you to quickly capture this data and images, distribute them to construction management tools, and respond to changing conditions on demand. Essentially, Botlink makes the job easy.
To show you how easy it really is, check out our demo video.
With the touch of a finger you can plan and automate your flight from takeoff to landing. Pause and resume flights with a tap, track flight progress and monitor your drone. The Botlink Capture app automatically captures still photos for 2D and 3D models.
Photo stitch aerial images into a single, high-definition map to see your entire job site.
Use drone flight data to turn aerial 2D photos into 3D models. You can use these models while discussing your project with your customers, or share them with your marketing team to set your company apart from the competition.
Digital Surface and 3D models identify high and low points or drainage problems.
Assess the size and value of your resources using our pile measurement tool. Discover accurate area, distance and volume data with the click of a button.
Use to take pictures of your job site. Images are captured around the entire perimeter. And can be used to survey the job site, identifying entry and exit points, obstacles, and determining where to store material.
Get accurate measurements in a custom report sent directly to you.
Once you’ve flown the property from above and in Orbit mode, using our Overhead Measurement Tool, you’ll receive 3D analytics report that gives you a 99% accuracy rate of the roof measurements.
Our Overhead Measurement Report uses flight images and data to automatically calculate all roof dimensions needed for accurate estimates.
Dimensions documented in the report include:
- Surface Area
- Edge measurements
Ready to see how your business can save time and improve safety? Schedule a demo today
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How To Use The Volume Measurement Tool
The Volume Measurement Tool is a great way to figure out the total size of a pile at your work site. Instead of bringing in heavy machinery and belt scales to weigh materials, a few clicks on the Botlink Capture App will do the same job more accurately and at a fraction of the cost. If you'd like an in-depth rundown on how to use the Volume Measurement Tool, check out the video above. Or read on for a quick start guide: 1. Start by clicking the center on my location button in the upper left corner of the screen. It's right above the "+" and "-" symbols. 2. To start the upload, click the upload button on the left side of the screen. It's right beneath the magnifying glass icon.
How To Create An Orbit Survey With Your Drone
At Botlink, we absolutely love our latest feature and are excited to let everyone know all about it! Orbit Surveys are an incredibly cool way to create stunning 3D models filled with rich data to analyze and share with clients and customers. If you have a Botlink subscription, using the Orbit Survey tool is a simple process. For an in-depth rundown, check out the video above. Otherwise follow these step-by-step instructions and you'll be up and running in no time: 1. Start by clicking the center on my location button (white and blue icon in the upper right), this centers your map on your current location. 2. Tap the blue add button in the bottom right to add a new flight. 3. A pop-up menu with an Orbit Survey option will pop up at the bottom of the screen. Click on that.
6 Reasons Why Your Work Site Needs A Drone
The construction industry is one where the smallest of mistakes can end up as costly errors and stop multi-million dollar projects right in their tracks. To put things in perspective, The Construction Intelligence Center Global 50 has predicted construction will become a $10 trillion industry in 2020. Currently, millions of people work in the field and there are over 650,000 employers. With business booming across the globe, these numbers are sure to grow in the years to come and the financial risks will only continue to get bigger. With so much intense competition at hand—and so much risk involved—how can a business hope to stand out from the crowd and streamline their workflow, while also keeping new financial investments in technology at a minimal? Over the past few years, site managers have looked to drones to help speed up projects, improve efficiency and help their projects stay on track and under budget. In their brief history in the workforce they’ve proven to be cost-effective and highly adaptable, which is vital, as changes in workload and deadlines can happen on a whim.