The rise of drones in UAE construction

15 December 2020
With the new norm of reduced human capacity on work sites, the time is ripe for construction players to embrace digitalisation
In conversation with, Rabih Bou Rached, managing director of Falcon Eye Drones

Based on an interview conducted in June 2020

Q. What can UAE construction firms gain by adopting digital technologies in day-to-day operations?

The short answer is improved efficiency in every aspect of a construction project. Efficiency in time and money. Today, digitising has become cheap enough to be integrated in daily activities. Most project owners today are blind to mistakes happening every day on sites; this can be anything from inaccurate placement, cracks, holes and many more; there is no way for them to avoid these mistakes without extremely costly supervision and quality control. 

Q. Could Covid-19 be the turning point for UAE construction?

I very much believe so. With the new norm of social distancing and reduced human capacity on site, we are increasingly seeing a need for using tools to help with that. Instead of a team of four and five managing a site, a one-person team equipped with a drone can cover the same job. Drones can even assist in real live monitoring to make sure all employees are observing the new and old rules.

The current situation has highlighted to project owners and managers the need for drones when forced to work with a reduced capacity. If they had already had drone monitoring services in place, they wouldn’t have been affected as much.

This article is extracted from the report 'UAE Construction After Covid-19'

Q. How can cash-strapped construction firms be convinced of the long-term benefits of digital solutions?

Honestly, with the situation being what it is today, they can’t afford not to invest in drone technology. It is a money-saving technology that has proven its efficiency over and over again. The technology helped construction companies increase their reporting turnaround by 25 per cent and cut down site time wastage by 18.4 per cent, reduced rework massively and cut down the time it takes to survey a site by 98 per cent. All of this translates to money savings.

Q. What do technology providers such as Falcon Eye Drones need to make their solutions widely adopted in the construction market?

Today, the biggest hurdle is probably awareness; the technology is fairly new, and as with many new technologies, there is always resistance at this stage. The second hurdle is government and regulations.

While in the UAE, the rules are clear and efficient and very well-implemented for general drone use, they could be more lenient on construction sites as the drone is within a private property, not invading anyone’s privacy and flying at a low altitude and not invading commercial airspace. 

Today in the UAE, it is fairly complicated to operate drones on construction sites and it is creating a barrier for firms to implement drones on a daily basis. The way I see it, regulators should enforce drones on construction sites as an extra tool to provide safety and security on top of trackable building information management data.

This report is produced under the MEED Mashreq Construction Partnership.To learn more about the report or the partnership, log on to:

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