Back to all posts

November 24, 2020

Drone delivery to help boost Australian construction and maintenance

  • , Australia
  • , By the numbers
  • , Drone delivery
  • , Retail


Australians are spending more time at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, and many homeowners are taking the opportunity to renovate. Whether it's a new coat of paint for the study, landscaping the garden, or a complete bathroom makeover, construction and maintenance work can create headaches for homeowners and tradespeople alike when tradies don't have the right tools or parts to complete the job. 

It’s an all-too familiar story. A carpenter without the right drill bit might have to knock-off the tools to

 go to the hardware store, which has a ripple-on delay effect for the other tradespersons working on site. The project that was scheduled to finish up in a week, will now take three.

In Australia, tradespeople make 60 million unplanned trips to the store each year to collect hardware items or tools they either run out of, or didn’t know they needed until commencing a job. At an average of one hour each, these interruptions cost more than $2 billion each year in labour and vehicle expenses.¹ 

New economic modelling from AlphaBeta has shown that tradespeople in Australia made unplanned trips to the hardware store 1 in every 3 jobs. By replacing a share of these trips, drone delivery could save time and money for both households and the construction and maintenance industry. 

“Having items delivered by drone is definitely something to look forward to. It would save two or three of us having to go off to different job sites, or different hardware stores in order to find what we need.” - Jonah Ale, Apprentice Carpenter, CBC Projects

Paul Charlton, owner of Browns Plains Hardware in Queensland, was one of the first small businesses in Australia to offer residential drone delivery of hardware items such as screws, drill bits, and paint brushes. Paul sees significant benefits in the future of drone delivery directly to worksites. 

“Drone delivery presents a big opportunity for tradespeople when they’re working on a job. Their time is money, and they don’t want to drop tools to leave the job site for 30 minutes or more, when they can get what they need straight away.”  - Paul Charlton, Browns Plains Hardware

According to this study by AlphaBeta, by replacing a share of the unplanned trips construction and maintenance tradespeople need to make to the store, drone delivery has the potential to benefit both households and businesses. 

Drone delivery could save households:

  • $120 million each year on construction and maintenance work 
  • 1.5 million hours of time spent waiting for tradespeople to pick up items during maintenance jobs by replacing just 10% of trips to the store
  • Up to $2500 and reduce build time by one week on a $250,000 renovation

Drone delivery could save construction and maintenance businesses:
  • $285 million each year in labour and vehicle expenses
  • 2-3 days a year in apprentices time spent picking up items offsite, freeing up their time for on-the-job learning
  • The time needed for trades teams to complete one more construction project and 10 additional maintenance jobs each year.

The full report is available here