arbitragery via Flickr Creative

The rules on using small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)—those weighing less than 55 pounds—are murky pending final regulations on their use expected from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) by 2017. In ARCHITECT’s May issue, we explored some of the ways that architecture, engineering, and construction firms are using small UAVs, or drones, in their work. Among them: aerial photography, gathering site data, optimizing a building’s design around views from specific heights, inspecting hazardous sites, and general research and development.

In this week’s #ArchitectChats we asked: Is your firm using or experimenting with drones? If so, what are you working on? What factors did you consider before embracing this new technology, and what have been the results? If you’re not yet using it, what information do you need to help make your decision?

Below, you'll find reference material on the topic and a recap of today's chat. Join us at 2 p.m. EDT each Tuesday using the hashtag #ArchitectChats to discuss a new topic. You can read last week's chat on takeaways from the 2015 AIA Convention here.

  • The Latest on Drones in Architecture,” from our May issue explores the regulatory environment for small drones to date, the work of firms in the sector using the technology, and the likelihood of specific drone uses getting FAA approval. Read more.
  • The FAA devotes a portion of its website to the regulatory process for small-drone uses, including a regularly updated list of approvals. Read more.
  • In December, Brendan Schulman, head of New York law firm Kramer Levin’s unmanned aircraft systems counsel, put forth a proposal on behalf of a client to create a separate category in the forthcoming rules for drones weighing 3 pounds or less and flown under 400 feet, rationalizing that once regulations are nailed down, developers will create technology to fit the law. Read more.