The Benefits of Using Drones in Construction Projects
The construction industry is notorious for projects exceeding timelines and budgets across the world. It’s no surprise as many construction projects, especially civil construction ones, are infinitely complex with everything from the weather to materials shortages that influence projected deadlines. There is also the infamous ‘builder of the old school ilk’ reputation that has meant resistance to the uptake of new technology. However, the construction industry hasn’t been able to ignore the multiple benefits drones have to offer. Read on to learn how using drones (or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles – UAVs) can help various construction processes with a finesse that isn’t possible when data is collected manually using traditional methods.
1. Site Surveys
Before a construction project can begin in earnest, the proposed site needs to be surveyed extensively by civil engineers. This can take a while especially when the project is an extensive civil construction project like a highway or a pipeline. They need detailed topographical maps that extend for kilometres. Many of the areas that need surveying can be difficult to reach manually. Drones can gather much of the information required to create these maps and help develop 2D or 3D renderings of the project area with accurate GPS points and measurements of distances and elevations.
2. Save Time and Money
Surveying a vast project site can take ages if done manually while the use of helicopters can add a lot to a project’s budget. There is also the possibility of human error which can create problems when construction finally gets underway. Drones take a fraction of the time needed to manually survey a vast project area and are much cheaper to use than helicopters. Being armed with as much data as possible can help with planning a project with great precision and save time and money by doing so. Since many drones work on rechargeable batteries, they are more eco-friendly than helicopters too!
3. Project Monitoring
A crucial aspect of any project is its monitoring. BIM managers, surveyors and managers would traditionally have to travel to various site locations or rely on receiving accurate information from their workers regarding construction project progress. Drones allow those in head office to remotely view progress live by having a drone operator on site. This means that any important discussions with stakeholders can be held as if they were all on-site with visual aids from the drone.
For example, when North Construction carried out site prep work on the side of Cypress Mountain for a project by British Pacific Properties, we used regular drone surveys to update the project managers, engineers, and architects with monthly progress reports that kept the project on track.
They can also prevent project delays and disputes by accurately measuring the quantity of work carried out. For example, if a contractor is to be paid according to the amount of earth that has been moved, drone data can provide an accurate estimate so that there are no miscalculations or overcharges.
4. Drive Accountability
A construction project needs progress to be documented accurately at regular intervals. There are often financial penalties that occur when mistakes have been made and disputes can arise when the source of mistakes is not identified correctly. Drone data can provide accurate documentation with imagery of the progress of a project so that the time and place of the errors can be pinpointed accurately.
Drones can also help provide oversight and verification when it comes to logging man-hours for record keeping. They can help in scheduling by tracking labour hours and productivity rates to build project schedules or fine-tune them as necessary.
Drones enhance safety when it comes to monitoring hard-to-reach areas. Drone construction inspection also allows easy inspection of areas that are typically difficult to inspect without the right safety equipment and fall protection training preventing chances of civilian accidents. The small size of drones also offers an advantage as they can inspect tight spaces like the insides of chimneys or other machinery where manual inspections can be hazardous.
As you can see, drones can offer multiple benefits on construction projects including cost benefits and safety.
6. North Construction
North is the industry leader in providing our clients with the benefits and cost savings gained from real-time live updates and field downloads, instantaneous integration of engineering design updates, progress monitoring, GPS, PPK and PRK grade control. With the addition of Spitfire Drone Survey, additional services include modelling, quantity take-offs, design assistance, progress tracking, aerial imaging, and environmental monitoring. With the addition of Spitfire Drone Survey, North takes great pride in being able to provide services such as modelling, quantity take-offs, design assistance, progress tracking, aerial imaging and environmental monitoring to their clients.