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Machines working overhead

There’s a low hum in the air. Almost imperceptibly low, at the very periphery of your hearing.

In fact, if you actually try to listen for it, you’d swear the sound wasn’t there at all. At first.

But it is there. And eventually, it will become louder.

The drones. They’re coming.

Back in January, CN picked drones as one of eight technology trends that could change the industry in 2015.

Tomorrow, appearing online first, CN looks at how drones - or to give them their less B-movie-Briefing-friendly title, ‘unmanned aerial vehicles’ - are changing site management for contractors in the UK and beyond.

Both Bouygues and Willmott Dixon tell us how these airborne assistants are making a big difference to their major projects.

Bouygues especially have benefited from experimenting in the US, being able to learn quickly and passing on knowledge to their teams across the world.

But in the UK, there is perhaps a pervading sense of unease around drones, coupled with a lack of clarity over the regulations on their use, which has seen a somewhat piecemeal take up the technology to date.

The reality is businesses whose people spend the majority of time on sites have a big opportunity.

With the right application, upward-thinking contractors and their supply chain partners can expect to see drones deliver major cost-savings, logistic and planning efficiencies, and safety benefits.

They can also impress creative clients looking for mould-breaking contractors and suppliers to deliver their projects on time while keepng an ever-tighter grip on costs - our feature has lessons for all firms thinking about taking to the air to get a crucial advantage.

Make sure you’ve got your eyes trained on tomorrow to read it first.

Catch up

In more sobering news, Royal Imtech has suspended payments and has appointed administrators - Imtech UK continues to trade, amid takeover talks.

It’s been a good day for those companies whose names are on Enfield Council’s shortlist for a £2bn regeneration scheme: eight firms make up the five-strong shortlist.

You can watch exactly how Carillion plans to deliver a £350m hospital, one of the first to be procured under PF2.

Also on CN tomorrow, we’ll have details of Balfour Beatty and Interserve’s half-year results. Make sure you’re signed up to our news alerts to get all the in-depth analysis.

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