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Drone technology in the construction and engineering environments


The purpose of this standard is to give candidates the skills, knowledge and understanding to operate a Small Unmanned Ariel System (SUAS), known as Drones in the construction and engineering environments.

CITB has developed this standard in discussion with industry


Minimum 8 days of 6 learning hours per day

Purpose / scope

The purpose of this standard is to give candidates the skills, knowledge and understanding to operate a Small Unmanned Ariel System (SUAS), known as Drones in the construction and engineering environments.

Drone technology is becoming more widely adopted by construction and engineering sectors to carry out site surveys, ground surveys and other tasks that would be costly, timely and potential high risk operations if more traditional methods were used.

The scope covers:

  • measurement technology for construction sector
  • uses of drones in construction
  • building information modelling (BIM) and software application
  • photogrammetry and application for design and construction
  • software technology
  • data generation to application
  • ground school including:
    • air law
    • navigation
    • meteorology
    • principles of flight
    • flight planning and risk assessment
    • emergency procedures
    • aircraft handling
    • batteries
  • flying and operating (take off, landing, mission specific).

Occupational relevance

Training delivered against this standard is relevant to the following occupational group(s):

  • operative and craft
  • supervision
  • management and leadership

Candidate prerequisites

There are no candidate pre-requisites as part of this standard.

Instruction / supervision

As a minimum, course instructors must be able to demonstrate that, in relation to this standard, they have:

UAS Instructor requirements:

  • At least 5 years’ experience in either a civilian/commercial or military UAV environment or other relevant aviation environment, such as ex-civilian or military aircrew.
  • Evidence of instructional credentials on application. This can be a Defence Instructional Techniques course (DIT) course, Central Flying School Air Instructors Course (CFS AIC), EASA or CAA instructional qualifications.
  • Although unmanned aviation, on a practical level, is different from manned aviation the topics that are taught on the Remote Pilots Certification Systems (RPCS) have many parallels e.g. Meteorology, Air Law etc. Many lessons are almost identical in many respects, which is why this Standard insists on instructors with an aviation background. An instructor with an aviation background brings his/her unique experience to the classroom. Additionally, with only two days of theoretical training it is critical that the prospective instructor has some instructional credentials. This is vital in order to pass this information succinctly, accurately, whilst still checking the understanding of the students.
  • All potential instructors should have received prior training of an appropriate theoretical course syllabus by a CAA approved NQE.  
  • A verifiable CV

Construction/academia instructor requirements:

  • A formal, recognised qualification in the field of BIM.
  • Substantial practical industry focused experience of implementing BIM within the construction sector.
  • Experience of applying Scan to BIM approaches using industry appropriate software tools and technologies
  • A formal teaching/training qualification related to the construction sector
  • Substantial experience of undertaking site based 3D laser scanning using appropriate equipment and the post processing of the data for use in the BIM workflow
  • A verifiable CV


To maintain the highest standard of delivery, the course must be split into two distinct sections.

Section 1. CAA pilots theory and practical competence training.

Section 2. Industry grade data capture and manipulation training.

Section 1 of the course must be carried out by a Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) approved National Qualified Entity (NQE) and all aspects of teaching material must have been approved by the CAA prior to application.

Section 2 of the course must be delivered by a relevant qualified Higher Education (HE), Further Education (FE), National Training Organization (NTO), or other training organizations teaching personnel, to an up-to-date industry standard of the sector concerned.

Delivery may be in an on or off the job environment.

All materials and equipment must be of a suitable quality and quantity for candidates to achieve learning outcomes, and must comply with relevant legislation.

The class size and candidate/instructor ratio must allow training to be delivered in a safe manner and enable candidates to achieve the learning outcomes.

The following delivery methods must be used in the delivery of this standard:

  • a blend of classroom and e-learning
  • theory examination – this must test the students’ knowledge of CAA legislation and must meet CAA examination criteria
  • practical flight instruction
  • practical flight competence assessment by instructor – this must test the student’s competence piloting a drone as well as his knowledge of CAA legislation
  • Use of industry appropriate software tools related to point cloud generation and BIM software tools
  • Hands-on experience of implementing software tools to integrate point cloud data with the BIM process

This standard is considered to contain 51 per cent or more practical training.

This standard is considered to be set at a high intermediate level.


For the successful completion of training, candidates must complete an end of course practical assessment or knowledge test that measures the learning outcomes and has a pass or fail criteria.

Quality assurance

Quality assurance against this standard will require initial approval of the training organisation and their content mapped to the standard. 

CITB will also conduct an approval intervention, either desk-based or centre visit, to ensure the training organisation can meet the requirements of the Training Standard. 

Approved training organisations (ATOs) will be required to present information on records of training and assessment upon request to CITB for desk-based analysis. They will also be visited annually by the CITB quality assurance team.


Although there is no mandatory renewal/refreshment needed once the pilot certification is achieved by the candidate, the Permissions for Commercial Operations (PFCO) needed to fly for commercial gain are issued by the CAA and do have to be renewed annually, as well as the pilots registration again through the CAA on an annual renewal basis.

Approval date

July 2019

Review cycle

On request or in 3 years from approval date.

Learning outcomes

The candidate will be able to Additional guidance to support learning outcome
Understand air law and CAA regulations to the standard of CAP 722 and Air Navigation Order (ANO) 393  Aide memoire will be issued to each candidate during the SUAS element of the training, which will contain reference material relevant to CAP 722 and ANO 393
Understand principles of flight  
Understand and apply navigation skills  
Understand meteorology and how it affects the operation of SUAS.  
Understand how human behaviour can cause aviation incidents  
Plan a flight  
Write and carry out risk assessments  
Understand and apply emergency procedures  
Carry out aircraft handling to the regulatory standard  
Understand the laser scanning process in the field and the manipulation of point cloud data using relevant industry standard tools On site practical work combined with classroom based workshops using software tools
Generate point cloud data from data captured by drones  
Understand the workflow to integrate point cloud data generated from drone, including combination Documentation providing a template workflow will be provided to all students
Understand how point cloud data derived from terrestrial scanning and drone footage can be included in the BIM workflow Classroom based practical sessions will provide understanding of how industry software can be implemented. Video based tutorials will be provided as part of the course.