Drones are becoming more popular, especially with larger contractors. They can be a great tool to give an overview of jobsites and showcase the progress of work. They are also being misused in some cases so one must be cautious in their use. Therefore, one must be aware of guidelines and restrictions and utilize common sense.
First, if you purchase a drone for your company, be aware that they are excluded for General Liability, under the Aircraft Exclusion. You need to contact your agent to obtain liability coverage and possibly property coverage for the drone(s). Second and most important, you must follow FAA Guidelines. There are new regulations issued (14 C.F.R. Part 107) which take effect on August 29, 2016. In summarizing guidelines, there are restrictions on altitude (400 feet), daylight operations only, restrictions on flying where other people are present, and the requirement that the unmanned aircraft remain in the visual sight of the operator. One must also do mandatory preflight inspections, and not operate from a vehicle or aircraft.
Lastly, use common sense in the operation as they are not toys. Assign one person to become certified and to practice before using on jobsites. Also, do not operate within a mile or two of an airport for obvious reasons. Most of the new models have GPS and will not function near an airport.
Used with proper care, the potential for marketing purposes and the value of seeing your job progress over time are enormous.
About the Author: Paul is Senior Vice President who also handles his own construction accounts specializing in insurance and bonding. He is responsible for many contractors and coordinating risk management, loss control, reviewing contracts, and maintaining relationships with various clients. Paul has served on Agency Advisory Councils with Chesapeake/IWIF and Selective Insurance Companies throughout the years. He is active in various contractor organizations and has served on associate contractor boards with Public Works Contractors Association (PWCA) and Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC). Paul graduated from The University of Maryland, College Park in 1979 with honors in Criminology. He attended various bond and Insurance training schools during his career here at Marsh & McLennan Agency, known locally as Insurance Associates Company. In Paul’s free time he enjoys golfing with his clients that he has developed personal relationships with through his years at Marsh & McLennan Agency, known locally as Insurance Associates. He also loves spending time with his five grandchildren and wife, Chris.