Drones may seem like a passing fad to some, but this new technology is already having a significant impact on the way AEC design professionals and Construction leaders operate.

Small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), commonly called drones, are gaining in popularity not only among the general public and consumers, but also among professionals working in the AEC industry. We’ve seen ambitious predictions for the use of drones on construction sites, as transportation vehicles and marketing tools.

Drones have made their way into the construction industry and they are here to stay.

Today’s drones bring powerful data to project managers, site surveyors, engineers, design and construction teams build instant ROI with jobsite-ready maps and models. Drones save money, reduce downtime, and improve site safety on construction projects.

If you are like many construction/design professionals, you probably have a few questions about implementing drones on your own jobsite. Sure, you’ve heard all the hype, but are they really worth the effort? Exactly what types of results will drones deliver?

Management oversight: Keep real-time tabs on projects with regularly updated overhead maps. For in-depth analysis, zero in on key areas, with enough resolution to see individual site details.

Site progress: Track progress against 3D models and aerial views. Is our workforce following the plan? Are we on track to complete the project by deadlines/goals.

Improved communication: We can share maps and models with project team members and stakeholders for streamlined communications. Keep everyone in the field and the office up-to-date and informed.

Safety improvements: Identify safety concerns in real time, so your team can address them quickly. Reduce the time employees and contractors spend on roofs, steep slopes and other dangerous areas.

Stockpile measurement: Instantly measure stockpile volumes so you can make more efficient decisions about your material needs.

Distance & Area measurement: Quickly measure areas and distance to obtain quick accurate information during planning and managing projects.

Virtual design and construction: Export drone-generated point clouds into 3D design software for powerful insights. Ensure site progress is in step with original project/design plans.

Topographic Map Data: Use drone data to save time and lower costs while creating stunning high resolution orthomosaic tiff images and accurate contoured topographic map data.

Working closely with project surveyors and using ground control points (GCPs) Znap Fly can provide surveyors with survey-grade map data and accurate 3D model, reducing the site survey effort significantly. Making the licensed survey engineer more efficient and providing the stakeholder the survey information sooner.

Files can be exported in the following formats:

  • GeoTIFF (Orthomosaic image)
  • JPG
  • Raw Elevation Values (DEM)
  • Contour DXF (AutoCAD)
  • Contour SHP (Shapefile)

Improve safety: Reduce the amount of time crews spend walking sites or navigating dangerous areas.

Lower costs: Znap Fly lowers costs by capturing data in a fraction of the time compared to traditional ground methods.

INVESTIGATION Building & Utility System

Investigation with High Resolution RGB & Thermal/FLIR
Aerial thermal mapping of facilities will reveal leaks in all types of systems, like steam and condensate return lines, hot water lines, chilled water lines, supply water mains, distribution pipes, storm water drains, building heat loss and moisture leaks into your roofs.

Flat & Low- Sloped Roofs IR Finds Subsurface Wet Insulation
Wet insulation can be mapped and removed surgically. What makes roof moisture surveying so valuable to the stakeholder?

Of course, cost-savings:

  • 95+% of all roofing materials that are removed are dry
  • Best Practice condition monitoring for roof maintenance
  • Salvage the thermal value of the existing undamaged insulation
  • Avoid costly tear-off expense in labor to R&R wet insulation
  • Avoid cost to bury perfectly good insulation in a landfill
  • Save time: recover is faster vs. tear-off and replacement
  • Minimize risk of leaks and consequential damage
  • It is “Green” not to throw away perfectly good materials


Drones may have started out as fun toys used by hobbyists and photographers, but drones are now loaded with serious value for business Design and construction. Here are some ways drones can improve efficiencies and margins on your project site:

  • Drone photography can be an important sales tool. Your improved surveying and planning capabilities will also set you apart from the competition.
  • Improve Communication. Use drone photography to help owners visualize the final project, and see how the project is progressing while under construction.
  • Iterate faster during the bid phase. Drone surveys can help you put the virtual design in the context of real conditions and thus better engage the entire team.
  • Create a more efficient turn around for Survey mapping.
  • Improve asset and material management. Drones equipped with streaming video capability can help you monitor the job site for suspicious activity, and identify theft as it’s happening. Plus, your teams can easily monitor locations and quantities of assets and materials at a glance, to ensure it will be there when you need it.
  • Improve Progress Monitoring. Drones enable you to monitor work completion more effectively, and bill accordingly.
  • Improve quality. Drones vastly increase your ability to complete quality inspections in large and hard to reach areas in an efficient manner.
  • Minimize rework. Increasing the number of inspections you make enables you to catch more mistakes before they become a bigger problem, thus reducing the amount of rework needed.
  • Improve safety. Perform inspections in dangerous areas without putting anyone at risk. Drones also allow you to identify and mitigate potential hazards before they cause harm.
  • Manage Risk. Drones can increase site documentation to reduce the likelihood of litigation, and increase your defensibility. 
  • Instill client confidence. All of the above benefits help you build client confidence.