If you’re in the construction industry in the UK, it’s important for you to start paying attention to what’s going on in regards to the new Drone (Regulation) Bill that the Parliament is currently considering.

The new bill would regulate purchasing and using drones that weigh five or more kilograms.

With the use of drones in construction projects continuing to rise, it’s important to start paying attention to what’s going on with this new regulation.


What is a drone?

Well, simply put, a drone is an unmanned aircraft. Drones are more formally known as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs).

They are considered unmanned, as the person operating the drone is on the ground. They direct the where the drone goes from that position as opposed to being on the aircraft.

Drones are most commonly used for the purposes of data collection.


How is the construction industry using drones?

Drones are now being used in the construction industry with increased frequency.

Here are some of the ways that the construction industry is putting drones to use for:

  • Surveying land and buildings
  • Reaching unsafe and inaccessible areas of construction sites
  • Effectively protecting a construction site from vandalism and theft
  • Moving items from one inaccessible area of a construction site to another with ease

Two West Sussex bridges were recently inspected via drone, according to Balfour Beatty. This new way to inspect the bridges lead to the impressive savings of more than £8,000 in comparison to the more traditional inspection methods previously used.


What is the Drone (Regulation) Bill all about?

There are currently only extremely basic restrictions in place when it comes to the current drone code that applies to drones being flown domestically in the UK. They cover where you can fly and the height at which you can do it at.

There are additional steps that must be taken in order to fly a drone for commercial purposes (specifically when a drone owner is being paid). In that case, it’s necessary to acquire a licence from someone associated with the Civil Aviation Authority.

The Government announced new plans to register drones on the 22nd of July 2017. These plans also include a safety awareness test for drone users to operate a drone that weighs five or more kilograms.

This regulation is a rather large departure from what is currently in place.

To summarise, the regulations include the following:

  • Registration for all drones that weigh 250 grams or more in order to improve responsibility and accountability of drone owners
  • Owners will be required to take a new test on safety awareness that will help drone owners learn safety, security and privacy regulations for the UK.

The Drone (Regulation) Bill was presented on 5th of September 2017 to Parliament. On 15th February 2019, its supposed to have its second reading.


What will the impact of The Drone (Regulation) Bill be on the construction industry?

As we’ve discussed, there are incredible benefits for the construction industry when it comes to using drones.

The perks include big time savings on the cost of construction projects, avoiding health and safety risks on construction sites, more accessibility for previously inaccessible or difficult to reach areas and surveying land and buildings.

It seems like a no brainer that the use of drones in the construction industry will only continue to rise.

This can all become more difficult in the face of new regulations over drone use.

The use of drones may not grow as fast if the Government imposes new restrictions that may or may not make it harder to use them in construction activities.

What seems likely is that it will become normal for drone negotiations to take place between employers, contractors, professional teams and lawyers. Licenses and liabilities for using drones will be included in the language of more and more construction contracts.

That’s why it’s so important to pay attention to this new Drone (Regulation) Bill if you’re in the construction industry.

With so many benefits at stake when it comes to using drones, having new restrictions or regulations on their use could mean a big hit to the construction industry.

Pay attention and make sure your voices are heard by Parliament on this issue.