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Feature Images courtesy PJ Materials Consultants Ltd. Drones and Construction Maximizing the benefits while minimizing the risk By Paul Jeffs T he use of remotely controlled unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), better known as drones, has increased dramatically over the last few years— mainly due to improvements in flight and camera technology and decreased purchase prices. In the construction industry, drones are being used for everything from site surveying and planning to getting real-time data of project progress to inspections and monitoring. Further, their data can be used to create digital models or site plans. The rapid growth in the use of drones has not been without some reported horror stories in the media, such as the recent incident when two CF-18 fighter jets were scrambled into the skies after a large drone was sighted flying near commercial planes over Ottawa. The sometimes-bizarre videos posted 18 September 2016 CC_Sept_2016.indd 18 on YouTube and other websites also confirm the wide and varied use of the technology and the risks often taken to obtain dramatic or unusual videos and photographs. In view of the controversial publicity, it may seem incredible that drones are still often used illegally for commercial operations. Certainly, there continues to be a lack of knowledge within the general public regarding what constitutes their legal use and what responsibilities the owners have when operating drones. Legal responsibilities The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) department of Transport Canada (TC) requires the use of drones for commercial purposes—defined as “work or research”—be authorized by a specifically issued n st r u 8/19/16 8:53 AM