Aurecon becomes first engineering consultancy firm to legally operate drones in South Africa
Global engineering and infrastructure advisory company, Aurecon has received a Remote Operating Certificate (ROC) from the South African Civil Aviation Authority to operate drones in South Africa.
Aurecon is the first engineering consultancy in the country to obtain a ROC and become a registered drone operator.
“We have been looking forward to this milestone ever since the legislation came into effect in 2015. At that stage we had already recognised the value that this technology would bring to our profession. Now that we have obtained the ROC, we are ready to leverage the technology alongside our traditional engineering activities to gather richer, more comprehensive data from our projects. I would like to congratulate our team on successfully completing this serious undertaking,” says Richard Matchett, Aurecon Digital Practice Leader South Africa.
On the administrative requirements for operations, Matchett commented on the responsibility attached to operating drones in South Africa.
“The Part 101 Regulations applicable to Drones set a high standard. Being a registered drone operator in South Africa requires us to adhere to operational guidelines and legislation similar to those for manned aviation and it requires a high level of responsibility. We have established a very capable team in Aurecon to oversee the operations and ensure that we maintain strict operational control and fly safely on our projects,” says Matchett.
Aurecon will be rolling out its drones, manned by its own engineers, on various project sites throughout the coming year.
“Our team will be using the captured imagery from our drone operations to create everything from 3D models that inform design decisions to time-lapse videos showing the progress of projects and project milestones,” says Matchett.
Some of the initial projects that have already been earmarked for drone image capturing include civil engineering installations infrastructure projects such as water treatment works, quarry sites, mines, and plant installations in industrial areas.
The Drone Operations Management Team Aurecon then plans to expand their drone site inspections to include tower inspections and plant installations, as well as other projects that require overhead aerial project site photographs for record keeping, progress reporting, design solutions and maintenance advice.
This service will also augment the assurance provided to programme and project governance structures, as well as Board oversight committees when combined with the newly launched Programme and Project Assurance service offering.
According to Amandla Tokwe, Aurecon Associate: Capital Programme Assurance: “Deployment of drone technology will enable savings both in time and resources, while providing real-time, efficient, independent assurance to project teams, oversight committees and owners residing over multiple projects and/or multiple construction sites. This will greatly enhance Aurecon’s ability to bring client projects to life.”