Drones are everywhere. Look up when you’re walking in a park, or sitting on a beach, and you might catch one buzzing about. Commercially-available drones can fly up to 100 miles per hour. And ready or not, they’re going to be delivering packages to your doorstep very soon. They already can deliver pizza.
This technology can be traced back to 1907 when the first quadcopter was created by inventor brothers Jacques and Louis Bréguet. However, it couldn’t be steered, only lifted two feet off the ground and needed to be steadied by four people. We’ve come a long way.
Commercial drones hit the market in 2006 but at first very few permits were requested. One likely reason is that drone rules from the FAA were ambiguous and drone operation was expensive: companies were required to hire a licensed pilot to fly an unmanned aerial vehicle. New guidelines for small commercial drones went into effect in 2016, and there are now more than one million drones registered with the FAA, including 122,000 for commercial use.
Some newer commercial drones are no longer limited to following a GPS signal and can also now track the movement of people, animals, objects while avoiding obstacles.
In the last five years, more and more engineering companies are using drone technology to be more efficient and accurate, collect better data faster, and save money.
Some say construction is slow to adapt to technology. In fact, most construction and engineering firms wait for competitors to adopt new technology before they do. But the rate of new technologies being developed is increasing rapidly and is changing everything.
Construction companies are using drones for tasks including 3D mapping and job site rendering, monitoring job site progress and tracking materials, and streamlining inspections and keeping sites safe.
For civil and structural engineering, in addition to 3D mapping, drones are a useful tool for documenting a project site before, during and after construction. Structural engineers can use drones to inspect structures such as building faces that are not accessible.
Drones have been embraced by companies ranging from startups to the giants, and some would say they are now essential to construction.
The use of drones isn’t limited to just construction sites -- they’re also used for scanning pipelines to improve operations and reduce safety risks; making surveying safer and more accurate; or even to take aerial photos of a prospective job site before a bid.
While learning to use a drone is simple, the technology isn’t for every company. Along with the associated cost and training, drone mapping can also be technically difficult.
In the coming year, drone use for the construction industry is expected to grow. At the same time, privacy concerns about drones are growing.
The future of drones is very much up in the air, as countries around the world come together to figure out how this technology should be regulated.
Has your company started using drone technology? Let us know what you are using drones for and any benefits and/or challenges.
There are many qualified structural engineers in the Bay Area, but how do you determine which
engineer or engineering firm is well suited for your large-scale project?
You should begin by clearly defining your project goals and scope of work, and then find an engineer who can help you achieve your vision. Here are some recommendations about what kind of service you should look for from a Bay Area structural engineer.
This December has been the wettest month for San Jose in 60 years
. What does that mean for you as a Bay Area property owner who is looking to start your construction project, especially during the rainy season? Any active construction site that typically disturbs more than 1 acre of land is legally required to have a SWPPP, or stormwater pollution prevention plan.
A property owner is held responsible for violations to stormwater pollution requirements and can be subject to substantial fees and penalties.
After the magnitude 6.0 South Napa earthquake at 3 am on August 24th, two large historical buildings in downtown Napa were red-tagged and deemed unsafe because of falling debris onto the sidewalk. The falling bricks posed a life-safety risk, and we can only imagine the potential danger to pedestrians if the quake had occurred at 3 pm instead of 3 am. It is important to note that these two older buildings (“unreinforced masonry” buildings, or URM buildings) had previously been seismically retrofitted.
Secretly, you may want to add a few years to the projected completion date of a complex construction project, to account for potential delays. But this was not the case for the construction of the new 275,000-square-foot Thermo Fisher Scientific
manufacturing facility in the Warm Springs Area of South Fremont. A little over two years after project design began, a sustainable and large-scale research and development (R&D) building now stands just south of Tesla Motors. We at Landtech Consultants
(the Thermo Fisher project civil and structural engineer) are breathing sighs of relief.
You can fulfill your vision for a successful development project in the Bay Area
through effective planning, and to begin, the civil engineer can help you determine the scope of the infrastructure that will serve the project. The infrastructure involves issues related to access, utilities, and drainage, as well as site and environmental constraints. While each project is unique and requires its own creative approach, the following are usually considered. Read more
The planning process, as with many situations in life, can be the most important, and for the building process, one part of the initial development stage is the creation of an accurate site plan to guide the project.
A site plan shows the full relationship of the building to the land, and is a graphical representation that includes special requirements such as site access and circulation, parking, walkways, and landscape/hardscape areas. Typically, the initial concept site plan is drawn by an architect, and the engineer’s role is to help develop it further.
The four Bay Area cities of Alameda, Berkeley, Oakland, and San Francisco are among 11 U.S. cities chosen
for the first group of The Rockefeller Foundation’s “100 Resilient Cities: Centennial Challenge
.” The 33 first-group winners were selected
from applications submitted from across the world, and they will receive support and resources to create and implement plans for increased urban resilience over the next three years.
What is "resilience"?
The Foundation defines “building resilience” to be “...about making people, communities and systems better prepared to withstand catastrophic events--both natural and man-made” and be able to “...emerge stronger from these shocks and stressors.”
The selected cities presented a dedicated commitment to prepare for, withstand, and bounce back from potential challenges they might face in the coming years.
The Bay Area has two up-and-coming building projects that will be quite the spectacle once they are finished. The first--Apple's new headquarters--promises to be the next home for the company for decades to come. The second, a planned massive redevelopment of East Oakland, Calif. called Coliseum City, claims to be the largest transit-oriented development project in California.
Let us face it...people are moving away (literally) from the idea of suburbs. Many Americans, especially young people, want to live where they can easily get to work, and have access to local hotspots and businesses. Therefore the idea of transit-oriented development (TOD)
is very appealing because development near a transit station offers a mix of housing, employment, retail, and transportation choices.