Dayton construction firm buys drone for safer surveying

By Tristan Navera – Dayton Business Journal

A construction company in Dayton says site surveying is about to get safer thanks to a drone purchase.

Danis Building Construction Co. took delivery on a DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ and held its first test flight of the craft at its Miamisburg office last week. The company says it’s going to start using the drone as a tool to help surveyors assess buildings in a faster, safer way.

“There are a lot of ways this could help us do things more safely,” said Rob Mauro, MEP coordinator for Danis. “Whether it’s surveying an unsound roof or some kind of situation where we need to set up scaffolding or where there’s risk involved, this could help.”

Mauro, who joined Danis in October after a career as a Cobra pilot in the U.S. Marine Corps, will be the initial pilot for the craft. The goal is to get more company employees trained on its use so it can be a regular sight at construction jobs, said Troy Erbes, vice president at Danis.

Until recently, the company has relied on photographers in manned aircraft to take photos of major construction jobs, but the drone will help them take photos with more flexibility.
Erbes said a strong argument was made that it would be safer. The company at times must inspect roofs, skylights, and high-up equipment, as well as buildings which may be dangerous. Using a drone in place of a person would reduce the risk on job sites. It will also reduce the time needed to survey high-up, and is cheaper compared to a crane or setting up scaffolding.

The Phantom is a well-known hobbyists’ drone, but the Danis version has a built-in three-gimbal camera that will help it take stable shots. It can be controlled by a handheld RC device and a smart phone.

“Technology has taken a lot of steps forward in the construction business,” Erbes said. “Anything we can do to deliver a better product, at lower cost or increase the quality. And this is going to make it easier to do all three.”

Click here for a video of Rob Mauro, MEP Coordinator for Danis, discuss the DJI Phantom 2 Vision.

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