In recent years the use of UAVs (Unmanned aerial vehicles) have proliferated in the civil sector for purposes such as search and rescue, remote sensing or real-time monitoring of road traffic, among others. In the architecture, engineering and construction fields (AEC) UAVs have demonstrated to be an ideal technology due to their optimal performance in terms of time, precision, safety and cost. Given the rapid growth of interest in this technology, this research presents a critical review of the literature on the use of UAVs in architecture and urbanism to define the most widely used techniques and delimit the fields of application based on the experimentation published by the scientific community. A scientific mapping was carried out in two stages using the VOSviewerTM software: a scientometric and a bibliometric analysis. This technique allowed us to analyse a large body of literature and bibliographic data to obtain trends, patterns and directions of this domain of knowledge. Then, a literature review was presented, highlighting the relevant information identified in the previous analysis. The fields of application of UAVs were delimited and the most commonly used payload types and the most appropriate post-processing techniques were specified, depending on the aerial mission objective. The fields of application identified included different techniques related to the generation of 3D models, land mapping, construction site monitoring, building surveying to detect structural damage and energy losses and urban remote sensing. The literature review showed that UAVs provide a useful multi-tasking tool at any stage of an architectural project. These techniques can be applied to buildings or public spaces from the design and construction processes when the project is initiated to the later stages of maintenance and inspection of the building during its life cycle.