construction drone

NAHB: Builders’ use of aerial drones more than doubled since 2016

Drive-thru:

  • As of March 2018, 46 percent of single-family builders reported using drones at least once in their work as compared to 22 percent in 2016, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).
  • Drones have many uses in the construction industry, including land surveying, project monitoring, materials deployment, and progress tracking.
  • Many construction companies plan to use drones over the next three years, rating the likelihood—on a scale of 1 to 5 (not at all likely to very likely)—as 3.2 on average in 2018 compared to 2.9 on average in 2016.

Drone on

The number of construction businesses that use drones has more than doubled over the past two years, according to a new report from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). As of March 2018, 46 percent of single-family builders reported using drones at least once in their work as compared to 22 percent in 2016.

The number of construction businesses using drones has more than doubled over the past two years, according to a National Association of Home Builders report.

Larger single-family construction businesses are more likely to use drones than smaller companies. Of builders who start 100 or more homes per year, 58 percent now report having used drones compared to just 43 percent in 2016.

The use of drones is becoming more prevalent among smaller builders as well. Of companies with six or fewer home starts, 38 percent have now utilized drones, while in 2016—only 12 percent. As for the mid-range, forty-six percent of builders with six to 24 home starts say they’ve used drones versus 23 percent in 2016; and 50 percent of those with 25 to 99 home starts have used drones, up from 35 percent in 2016.

Why use drones?

Drones have many uses in the construction industry, including pre-construction land surveying and mapping, according to NAHB. They can also help builders monitor a job site and track a project’s progress more accurately, and help with inspections. On a larger scale, according to a Fortune report, they can use the data to create 3-D models, topographical maps, and volumetric measurements.

Larger building companies seem more eager to embrace drones in the future, according to a recent NAHB survey. Click To Tweet

All of the data that can be gathered via drones can help construction companies work more productively by minimizing risks and other issues. They can also help with cutting costs, limiting delays, and allocating resources around the site.

Exactly who says they’re droning?

NAHB’s data on drone use in the construction industry comes from special questions added to the monthly survey for the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index in April 2016 and March 2018. The survey is distributed to a panel of single-family builders. The results of the drone report are based on responses from 337 builders in 2018 and 323 in 2016.

Additionally, the NAHB survey found that many construction companies plan to use drones over the next three years. When asked to rate the likelihood of their future drone use on a scale of 1 (not at all likely) to 5 (very likely), the average rating was 3.2 in 2018, an increase over 2.9 in 2016.

Larger building companies seem more eager to embrace drones in the future, according to the data. Those with 100 or more building starts rated their drone plans as 4 this year, compared to 3.1 in 2016. Builders with fewer than six starts, on the other hand, rated the likelihood of their future drone use as 2.9, compared to 2.3 in 2016. Those with six to 24 starts rated the question at 3.3 in 2018, an increase over 2.5 in 2016. Among builders with 25 to 99 building starts, the average likelihood of future drone use was about the same in 2018 at 3.2 as in 2016 at 3.3.

To put the answers into perspective, one-third of single-family builders build six to 25 homes per year and half build fewer than six, according to the NAHB 2017 Member Census.

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