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5 Ways Drones Are Transforming AEC Workplace Safety Conditions

The architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry plays an incredibly important role in business and society. Firms tasked with the design and development of structures around the world are building tomorrow's homes, workplaces, and everything in between.

But working in the AEC industry is often dangerous, exposing employees to everything from toxic chemicals to unsafe building conditions. Tools to mitigate risks posed by work environments can allow builders to carry out their work with peace of mind.

Drones are making major positive contributions to AEC workplace safety. From a distance, drones can inspect, identify, and support efforts to minimize risks posed by dangerous work sites (i.e., hazardous noise, dust, or electricity). Here's a look at five ways drones are transforming safety conditions at AEC workplaces:

1. Improved Safety Inspections

Safety inspections ensure worksites aren't exposing AEC workers to serious risks, but safety inspectors themselves are often tasked with facing those very conditions, putting them at risk for common accidents like slips, trips, or falls from heights. Drones have significantly improved upon this scenario, accessing worksites on behalf of safety inspectors in order to assess conditions. Today, OSHA inspectors are deploying drones across the United States to assess worksites considered too dangerous to enter.

2. Better Photographic Records

Photographing AEC sites is important to track construction progress and monitor for potential safety issues. Drone photography allows companies to take photos from a distance, eliminating the need for photographers to expose themselves to dangerous situations (think scaffolding or traversing fragile surfaces). Aerial site photos make it possible to remotely observe when conditions change, improving safety transparency throughout the construction process.

3. Enhanced Mapping

Accurate mapping is crucial to AEC to ensure projects are being completed using accurate ground truth. Maps generated by drones can create comprehensive records of on-site conditions using a wide variety of data points. Additional information can also be layered on top of a map, simulating real-world construction scenarios and identifying potential issues throughout the building process.

4. Real-Time Construction Monitoring

3D modeling makes it possible to analyze, assess, and eliminate construction issues such as concrete cracks, drainage leaks, or damage to support structures — before they are able to pose potential safety risks. Using drone imagery, real-time construction monitoring systems can analyze construction site data and create 3D visual production models that reduce human interaction. Enhanced by predictive computer vision systems, AEC companies can improve the reliability of short-term plans and reduce risks posed to employees on the ground.

5. Payload Delivery

Modern drone tasks at AEC sites tend to revolve around surveillance, capturing accurate information across a wide array of different sources. Tomorrow's drone technology will find drones working side-by-side with humans, doing heavy lifting typically reserved for other kinds of equipment like tower cranes or telehandlers. One drone in development at Boeing will have the availability to carry up to 500 pounds of cargo, allowing devices to deliver supplies and equipment to traditionally hard-to-reach places.


Whatever issues you're grappling with at your sites, there's likely a drone solution that can be applied. Learn more about the benefits DroneBase can offer to your workplace.

Tags: AEC Construction Safety
Erik Till
Erik Till

Erik Till is the Head of Marketing of DroneBase and is responsible for the communications and brand of the company, as well as strategy, content, and acquisition of drone pilots and new customer leads. He has worked in startups ranging from eCommerce to design & manufacturing, building marketing and sales programs for both B2C and B2B companies. Erik holds a B.S. in Business Management and Psychology from San Diego State University.

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