A massive increase in the use of drones is inevitable as more businesses realize their full potential. Drones are changing how construction companies do business, by helping them to coordinate teams more efficiently, track progress more regularly, and complete projects faster with less waste.
The following are five ways drones are being used in construction operations at this time
Drone data can also be used in the pre-planning phase in several ways. One is that it gives designers and architects a clearer sense of how an upcoming new building might look next to one or more buildings that already exist. This helps them understand how the new project will impact the area from both an aesthetic and a practical point of view.
Visual data collected by drones enable construction companies to get a better, and more accurate, understanding of the entire job site before construction even begins. Such pre-planning is essential because data can show many issues that need to be addressed, such as possible drainage spots, changes in elevation, as well as other factors that can give insight as to what the best locations are to build, dig, or stockpile materials.
Since construction projects tend to be huge operations, with a lot of action over a large area, visual information is crucial since it is the only way to know what is really happening on-site. This is why project managers for construction companies have come to know, by experience, that real-time control of a project is one of the most difficult aspects of a building to maintain. After all, real-time data is essential to real-time control.
Eight Trillion Per Year
It is estimated that the construction industry is currently worth 8 trillion dollars a year,*
Furthermore, it is common knowledge that construction projects, especially large ones, are extremely inefficient. It is estimated that as much as 80% of the typical project is over budget and that it runs 20 months behind schedule.
2. Keeping the Client Involved
By providing clients with detailed, real-time reports on how things are progressing on-site, the clients are more likely to be involved in the entire project, and thus more likely to feel empowered perhaps. It is natural for most clients to be interested in photos, videos, 3D models, and orthomosaic maps. These can be easily created by drones with its data.
Detailed, real-time reports are also very important because with larger construction projects, it is likely that there are multiple stakeholders in many locations, who are all interested in keeping abreast of the latest progress report.
The alternative to not having a drone collecting visual data, means that clients would have to walk a site in person, many of which are very large, to see how things are progressing, or they would have to hire a helicopter, at an extremely high price, to collect aerial shots or videos. And in some cases where time is of the essence, even if they did take this traditional step, the shots collected could be out-of-date after the next workday.
To give clients some semblance of regular reporting, helicopters would have to be rented several times for a large construction project. That simply is not feasible monetarily, and it is also not very safe. After all, helicopter crashes are more prevalent than any other aircraft crashes.
By contrast, collecting visual data using a drone on a construction site is relatively easy, and regular reports can be sent, helping clients stay informed and thus more involved in, what is typically, a long process, and thus perhaps serve to empower clients in a cost-effective way.
Construction companies can use drones in construction work to do aerial surveys more often, because drones make the collection of visual data so much more timely, inexpensively, and safely.
Safety on a construction site involves both keeping workers safe, and finding points of access at the areas that are safe for civilians to enter and work.
A company is more likely to do aerial surveys more often with a drone since it is so much quicker, cheaper and safer, which may mean identifying a breach in the perimeter of a site on the same day it happens, instead of the next time that someone walks by that specific location. This could be a wise proactive measure in the likelihood of decreasing or preventing accidents.
4. Progress Monitoring
The purpose of progress monitoring is to improve efficiency and avoid wasting maps. These are created with drone data, which can be created regularly and sent to a project manager, who can use them to plan and monitor progress. This is a crucial part of avoiding delays that often causes a project to go over budget, and thus increase the cost.
Drone imaging can be used to show crane locations, perimeter security, etc., and these sequences can be viewed regularly to pinpoint where projects need attention.
Drones can also be used on a construction site with its aerial data to help project managers to monitor the productivity of their crew.
These maps can also be utilized to see if equipment or machinery is missing or has been left in the wrong area of the site. Such information can be helpful in identifying places where a manager may need to investigate to see why work isn’t proceeding, or proceeding as quickly, as expected.
Other benefits of having drone data is that it provides a much more comprehensive report, providing an in-depth analysis of a site, which gives an understanding of what happened there. Having drone data also provides a permanent record of a project, which can be referenced at any time.
Drone construction work, and related projects, are the biggest piece of the commercial drone market. About 35% of the companies surveyed who reported using drones in their operations, identified themselves as working in Construction & Engineering. When compared to other industries, this is impressive, but this 8 trillion market is still in its early stages of using drones.
The time is ripe for others to join!