As was recently reported in Robinson+Cole’s Data Privacy + Cybersecurity Insider, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued two Final Rules for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), i.e., drones: (1) requiring Remote Identification (Remote ID Rule), and (2) authorizing small UAS (weighing less than 55 pounds) to fly over people and at night under certain conditions (Operations Over People and at Night Rule). While both new Rules are relevant to the real estate development and construction industry, the Operations Over People and at Night Rule has particular significance, offering many benefits.
Continue Reading New FAA Drone Rules Clear the Path for Use in Development and Construction

As our previous post stated, the commercial use of drones, or small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS), for urban real estate and construction has gained some traction with the passage of the New York City Council’s bill requiring the Department of Buildings (DOB) to study the feasibility of using sUAS to inspect building facades. With this new bill, as well as other metropolitan cities surely following suit, one of the biggest issues on the forefront for the public at large is privacy.
Continue Reading Guidance on Using Drones for Real Estate and Construction in Dense Cities: How Much Does the Public Value Privacy? (Part II)

Singapore analytics and acoustic solutions company H3 Zoom.AI’s founder, Shaun Koo, began using drones for building inspection and facilities management after realizing that the city’s highly urban landscape was “overdue for digital technology disruption.” For example, traditional building facade inspection involves workers tethered to ropes or on gondola lifts, scaling high and/or remote areas to inspect or take photographs. This manual process is risky and allows room for human error.
Continue Reading Singapore Company Introduces Drones to Urban Building Inspection

The commercial use of drones, or small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS), for urban real estate and construction may finally be gaining traction. This month, the New York City Council passed a bill requiring the Department of Buildings (DOB) to study the feasibility of using sUAS to inspect building facades.
Continue Reading Guidance on Using Drones for Real Estate and Construction in Dense Cities: Getting Close – But Not Too Close (Part I)

The mixture of sheltering-in-place, warm weather, and increasing drone usage creates a combustible situation – literally. Drone shootings are on the rise as property owners seek to combat perceived trespass, nuisance and invasions of privacy.

These were some of the legal issues discussed during a webinar presented by the American Bar Association’s Section on Real Property Trusts and Estates (ABA RPTE) at its 32nd Annual Conference (held virtually for the first time) on May 15, 2020. The webinar focused on the legal landscape and issues to consider in counseling real estate and construction businesses on the commercial use of small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS). The panel included attorneys as well as an engineer, who presented drone video footage and computer graphics used to collect data more efficiently during land use evaluation, mid-construction and post-construction.
Continue Reading Balancing New Technology and Privacy When Using Drones in Land Use and Construction

Why it might be time to reconsider permitting the use of drones for development & construction in dense urban areas

Excerpt of a contributed article published in Construction Business Owner magazine on May 19, 2020.

COVID-19’s severe impact on some major metropolitan areas has been attributed to their density, infrastructure and inherent difficulty with

COVID-19’s severe impact on some major metropolitan areas has been attributed to their density, infrastructure and inherent difficulty with “social distancing.” This same challenge with social distancing has led to either mandatory or pressured shutdowns of construction projects throughout many states and metropolitan areas. Meanwhile, and particularly during the shutdowns, building-safety mandates require that some people still physically be at the projects to ensure ongoing compliance – especially important where a half-complete project can result in its own safety problems. Simultaneously, to complete new real estate transactions, investigations of sites must still be performed for due diligence data.

Continue Reading Time to Reconsider Permitting Use of Drones for Development and Construction in Dense Urban Areas?

In the wake of the tragic death of architect Erica Tishman, who was killed by falling debris from a brick tower in midtown Manhattan in December 2019 , the New York Department of Buildings (DOB) amended its rules governing exterior wall inspections and repairs. The new rules went into effect on February 20, 2020. Known as the Local Law 11 inspections, the Façade Inspection & Safety Program (FISP) has undergone extensive amendments in an effort to address the increasing number of dangerous façade conditions including corroded masonry and fractured terra cotta which in addition to causing structural problems, can loosen and fall to the ground causing bodily harm or property damage.

This issue is a growing concern. During the past six years, more than 4,790 Environmental Control Board violations related to facades were issued of which more than half remain active.[i] The DOB reported more than 22,000 violations related to facades since 2014.[ii]
Continue Reading NYC Amends Its Façade Inspection and Safety Program to Push Building Owners into Action

As we embark upon 2018 we find ourselves not only reflecting on past accomplishments but also looking to  future goals for the upcoming year. Construction is a fast moving and ever changing industry which requires a real commitment to keep apprised of the latest trends and developments.

So what can we expect in 2018? Although there are a variety of opinions concerning expected trends one in particular is the increased use of technology. Construction is not an industry known for being at the technological forefront. But with heightened competition and pressure to efficiently and cost effectively deliver projects, certain technological advances are surely to increase in popularity including the continued use of BIM, project management software, virtual and augmented reality and of course, drones.
Continue Reading Out with the Old and in with the New: What Technological Trends Can the Construction Industry Expect in 2018?

Drone data is used in construction (3-D mapping, site surveying), agriculture (crop mapping), energy (solar and wind turbine monitoring), insurance (roof inspections), infrastructure (inspection), communications (damage assessments) and countless other industries. These industries, and more, have long sought data ‘from above,’ generally from satellites or airplanes, but drones are better sensors in the sky. Drones