How Drones are Changing Building Design

Drones using a Photogrammetry system are already shaping the face of our cities – used for building planning, heritage, construction and safety enhancement. But, as studies by the UK’s department of transport have found, swathes of the public have a limited understanding of how drones might be practically applied.

It’s crucial that the ways drones are affecting our future are understood by people. As experts in   drone deployment, we hope this short overview of just three ways drones will affect building design and some knowledge of how things are likely to change.


Drones can take images of buildings, which are then used to build 3D models of buildings in computer-aided design software. These models have accuracy to within a  centimetre, and can be combined with other  data, such as 3D scans of interiors using drones or laser scanners, in order to provide a completely   accurate picture of the structure for construction process by providing a single source that  architects and planners can view.


Two research projects from architecture, design, planning, and consulting firms have been experimenting with drones with mounted 3D printers. These drones would work at speed to construct emergency shelters or repair buildings at significant heights, without the need for       scaffolding, or in difficult to reach locations, providing safety benefits.


Studio Drift are a multi-disciplinary team of Dutch artists who have used drones to construct    images through theatrical outdoor drone performances at  damaged national heritage sites such as the Notre Dame in Paris, The  Colosseum in Rome and Gaudi’s Segrada  Familia in Barcelona. Drones could be used in the near-future in a similar way to help planners to visualise the final impact of restoration or construction work on a damaged or partially finished building.

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Thanks to editors Paul Cureton and Ole B Jensen for their help in this article.

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