How Drones Can Improve Construction Projects

Once a vision of the future, drones are here now, and their use in the construction industry is only going to grow.

By Stephanie Reid

According to Commercial Drone Industry Trends report , construction was the fastest-growing industry for drone use. For many, this trend isn’t a surprise. Current commercial and prosumer drones can easily fly the area of a typical construction site and provide timely and high-resolution maps and 3D models of site progress,  offering significant efficiency gains compared to traditional methods.

Drones greatly reduce the labor and time involved in producing accurate surveys. Drones eliminate much of the human error involved in the process and have the ability to capture necessary data in much less time than traditional methods would take. Some ways drones can improve construction projects are as follows: 

  • 1: Prevent Costly Mistakes

Drones can be equipped with cameras, geo-location sensors, infrared sensors, and more to capture precise details about the environmental and physical site prior to and during construction. The high-resolution images captured by a drone are then turned into accurate 2D orthophotos and 3D models, creating a rich digital representation of your jobsite. Then, drone data platforms like 3DR Site Scan make it easy to overlay design files onto drone maps, enabling you to  pinpoint constructability challenges in preconstruction, spot mistakes, and measure progress during construction.

  • 2: Provide Timely and More Detailed Project Updates

Owners and other stakeholders understandably demand progress updates on a regular basis. This can be a pain for you, if you have to walk the site or send someone to take photos. Drones can make this aspect of the job both a painless experience for you, and a better experience for them. Scheduling a regular flyover is simple and inexpensive, and provides rich data to share with project owners.

  • 3: Improve Safety 

The leading cause of private sector worker fatalities on the construction site is falls, representing nearly 39% of all deaths. Drones can be used to keep workers’ feet planted firmly on the ground when they might otherwise have to climb to take manual measurements or engage in other activities that can be replaced with a drone.

  • 4: Improve Collaboration

Collaboration is key. You save money if you get everyone moving in a unified direction. Drones improve collaboration by collecting data on-site and distributing it through a platform. Virtual design teams, engineers, superintendents, owners, and contractors can then access aerial views and related data from their iPads and other devices. This enables everyone to see where things were yesterday, compare progress over time, and catch any discrepancies before they become serious problems.

“Collaboration is key. You save money if you get everyone moving in a unified direction.”

  • 5: Mitigate Risk

Contractors carry significant risk on every project. From being overbilled on one side, to being underpaid on the other, to mistakes, rework, missed deadlines, and legal challenges, few industries provide as many opportunities to lose money. Data from drones can help mitigate many of these risks by identifying problems before they arise, providing accurate data regarding disputes, and documenting the process against legal challenges.

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