Kirsty Hammond looks at the use of drones in construction

The construction industry is on the move and one of the hottest trends is the use of Drones, with the sector being the fastest growing sector using Drone technology, which has risen by a huge 239%.

Drones equipped with cameras and other technology can access remote areas and locations and are being utilised by both Project Managers and Technology Managers in day-to-day job site operations.

They can collect data like never before and complete safety inspections with aerial insights.

They document a project’s progress easily and surveyors can now use them to create 3D mapping or images.

A drone photo is worth a thousand words, and potentially millions of dollars

Kirsty Hammond Kirsty Hammond Editor of Specifier Review

Cutting costs

With sustainability and costs at the forefront of every project, drones can replace expensive traditional land surveillance methods.

They can greatly reduce labour costs and the time involved in a project and can produce completely accurate surveys. In addition, human error is almost completely eliminated, for example a drone pilot can gather in 15 minutes, the same visual data that a surveyor would provide over half a day.

Drones are also superior as their ability to collect and record allows the work to be completed more and more efficiently.  Manual labour is almost not needed and as technology advances drones will take on even more tasks.

Time is expensive and by employing a drone on for example, a skyscraper project, contractors can be both more ambitious and timely.

Increasing efficiency

Instant communication and connectivity is an advantage and construction has seen a sharp rise in efficiency thanks to the use of drones, which can be employed to maintain the safety of both employees and also a job site. Onsite security and safety is improved extensively.

There are certainly areas of a building site that provide danger. Where you are unable to ask an employee to access a condemned roof or building a drone can fly overhead, create and record crucial information.

Visual mapping can also take place and software can interpret the data in several different ways, and be sent to many people involved.

Transport

Drones can also be used to transport goods around a site by air and they are small and manoeuvrable. They can move without traffic and road laws and deliveries can be made in a fraction of the time.

The construction industry is advancing at a tremendous pace as we strive for a better future. Changes to traditional methods bring greater savings in every aspect.

It is expected that the use of Drones in construction is to uplift the GDP in the UK’s construction industry by £8.6 billion to 2030, through new innovation, improved productivity and cost effectiveness.

In summary

A drone can provide many services beyond the obvious survey and measurement. Construction mapping and 3D modelling are also key.

Progress monitoring, security and maintenance, risk and safety management and transportation of goods. Orthomosaic maps can be produced and can even measure stockpiles of material throughout the construction site. The huge inefficiency seen in today’s construction presents a huge opportunity for the use of Drones.

“On-screen, in the architect’s CAD file, everything looks perfect. But on-site, in the mud and dust, things are different. And the difference between concept and reality is where about $3 trillion of that $8 trillion gets lost, in a cascade of change orders, rework, and schedule slips. Drones are meant to close that gap” Chris Anderson 3DR’s CEO.

As the trials and use of drones grows more widespread the potential is great.

Kirsty Hammond is publisher and editor of Specifier Review