ABC of Metro Washington Chapter - Building Washington Magazine, Winter 2019

T aking aerial photos of construction jobsites used to take a big chunk out of George Stewart’s day. The owner of Stewart Bros. Photographers would travel to an airport, get aboard a rented helicopter, fly to the site, take the photos and then fly back to the airport before returning home. Now it’s a lot easier. Stewart simply packs up his DJI Phantom 4 drone, puts it in his van and drives to the jobsite to get the photos and videos that his clients want. “It’s cut the cost quite a bit. I can shoot a whole job with a drone for what I would charge for an hour of flight time in a helicopter,” he said. Drones, also known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), are a natural fit for construction. Although the industry has not generally been in the forefront of technology adoption, drones have been the exception. DroneDeploy, which provides drone mapping services, reported in 2018 that the usage of drones on construction job sites had increased 239 percent in one year, a bigger increase than in any other industry. Stewart has been providing construction clients with drone photography for about three years. He’s currently documenting a project in southern Maryland for Coakley & Williams Construction and another for a contractor installing water mains in a residential area in Baltimore City. “The contractor for the water main is required to submit photos every month for its pay draws and, with the drone photos, you can show the whole thing in a single photograph rather than having to take four or five. It gives a better feeling of what’s there,” said Stewart. Drones can provide new perspectives and more information about jobsites T h e V i e w f r o m t h e S k y By Mary Lou Jay Building Washington 19 DRONES