Drones and the City

Drones seem to be everywhere in our lives, and they are beginning to make their way into the professional setting for architects and engineers as well.  That is, it’s emerging in some cities while others are a bit slower to change for several reasons.  New York City is one of those cities slow to embrace this change as reported by the Wall Street Journal.  The path to legalizing drone use within the city has been 18 months in the making, but the bills have been stuck in committee and not progressed to new legislation.

Drones can help make inspections easier and more cost effective for not only the design professionals who utilize them, but for the building owners who are required to have the facades of their buildings inspected every five years.  Drones can eliminate the need for expensive scaffolding and lengthy inspections, dropping the inspection time from weeks and months to a matter of hours.

The benefits of drones do not come without some drawbacks.  Stephen Varone of RAND Engineering & Architecture notes in the article: “Putting your hands on something can find a lot more issues than a visual inspection.”  While a drone inspection can be completed much faster than a traditional inspection, the specter of problems lurking just below the surface that a camera won’t be able to pick up remain.  Any new technology and technique should be treated with caution until it is properly tested to be as effective as its predecessors.

As the use of new technology progresses and drone use becomes increasingly more common, it is important to make sure you are properly covered for the use of unmanned aircraft in the course of your business.  Unmanned aircrafts or drones are typically excluded unless added to coverage specifically for both the liability and property coverage to your Business Owners Policy.

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