When thinking about tech-forward industries, construction is likely not the first sector to come to mind. The industry has been notorious for its historically pedestrian uptake of modern technology, remaining comparatively low-tech since time immemorial. According to an oft-cited McKinsey study, large projects typically go 80 percent over budget and take 20 percent longer to complete than scheduled.
But the trend seems to be bucking now, as new technologies offer more substantial benefits, and the sector’s need for disruption becomes more evident.
While the construction industry is often slow to adopt new technology, Internet of Things (IoT) devices and other cutting-edge technologies are now gaining traction among construction firms; placing the industry firmly on the cutting edge of technological transformation.
And survey drones are at the forefront of this tech adoption trend.
Survey Drones in Pre-Construction
Drones are finding their way into the construction industry in many different ways. Survey drones offer improvements in every phase of the construction process, starting with planning and design. Before a firm can start building anything, they need to survey the potential worksite. Traditionally, workers would have to walk through the site and take measurements and recordings manually, but this is inefficient.
Drones provide a much faster option for surveying worksites. Today’s drones can stay airborne for as long as 90 minutes and cover far more ground in that time than a pedestrian could in hours. As they fly over the property in question, they can collect various data types for construction teams to use.
Most drones you’ve come across likely capture photos or video, but they can do more. More advanced cameras and sensors can take geospatial measurements and temperature readings and create 3D digital models. These provide construction crews with an in-depth, accurate understanding of the worksite, informing any necessary design or workflow changes.
Architects can use survey drones before even designing a building. The multiple angles and range of data that drones provide can help them create the safest and most accessible design. Alternatively, this information could reveal that a potential site isn’t fit for a given project so that teams can look for a new location.
Survey Drones in the Construction Phase
These technologies continue to provide value to construction companies once they start work on the project. Construction sites can be dangerous, and the industry has one of the highest worker injury rates of any profession. Drones can help prevent these accidents.
Workers can use drones to inspect parts of the work site for hazards before potentially putting themselves in danger. The near-limitless range of motion these aerial technologies have lets employees see things from every angle, spotting things they could miss in person.
By checking for hazards from a safe distance, construction crews prevent accidents, which can be costly and cause delays.
Survey drones can also help a project’s various stakeholders monitor its progress. Site managers can compare drone footage to plans and blueprints to ensure there are no errors. Since rework can account for 30 percent of all construction work, preventing mistakes can save a considerable amount of time.
Construction projects involve many stakeholders who may have to validate work before moving to the next step. Drones are a fast, accurate way of providing them with worksite updates so they can do so with little delay. Overall project completion times will shrink as a result.
Clients typically want regular updates about their projects, including pictures. Traditionally, construction companies would have to hire a helicopter to take aerial photos or video, which can be expensive. Drones let teams provide the same updates at a much lower cost.