Fla. Construction Engineering Firm Inaugurates UAV Ops

West Palm Beach, Fla.-based GCI Consultants, a firm providing intelligent consulting in the field of construction engineering, recently kicked off its first federally approved commercial drone flights.

GCI’s first drone-based inspection took place in Hollywood, Fla., on Nov. 21. A quadcopter buzzed over the clay tile roofs of a client’s building and returned with high-resolution visual data necessary to evaluate the condition of each roof, says the firm.

The unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), christened “Air GCI,” was able to take off and descend vertically and maintain stability in 22 mph winds, GCI adds.

In the past, according to the firm, a job like this would take a work crew about four to five days to build the scaffold, examine the roof and write a report. Even then, some areas of the roof would be inaccessible for practical or safety reasons. In addition, a cleanup detail would have to be called to put the building site back to the way it was.

Now, a single operator on the ground can fly the shoe-box-size drone anywhere and view the roof on a tablet or laptop, GCI says, adding that the UAV collapses the work of a week into a single work day.

Additionally, the UAV can inspect and zoom in on all areas of the building envelope where problems can start – from glazing to cladding to waterproofing work. The video can be stored, shared and retrieved for follow-up investigations, the firm explains.

“Air GCI inspection drones will allow us to provide needed services, such as annual building inspections at a fraction of the cost,” says Paul Beers, founder and CEO of GCI Consultants. “This will be a big benefit for our customers in proactively identifying and correcting issues – which will extend the life of their building systems.”

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