Using Drones In Building Construction

There have been lots of technological advancements over the years and the construction industry has benefited from these. Construction projects will experience improvements in speed and accuracy with the use of drones, otherwise known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), as stated in the McKinsey report 2016. With a budget of $700, it is possible to get a professional level construction drone with survey equipment like HD cameras which are lightweight and mountable. Site visibility, inspection processes, surveys, and progress reporting experience lots of improvements by making investments in such a technology.

This article offers some essential information to buyers who are carefully considering obtaining a drone and wish to know the positive results to expect:

Areas where the use of drones can enhance construction projects:

 

Avoid Mistakes

Before construction begins and during the construction period, using infrared sensors, geo-location sensors, cameras, and other survey equipment on the site can help in obtaining accurate environmental details. It then becomes possible to develop 2D and 3D representations of the details. 3DR Site Scan and other drone data platform provide drone maps which make design files overlay a lot simpler. This is an excellent way to identify mistakes, likely challenges that may come up during construction, and getting a progress report. 

 

Minimize Risk

While carrying out any project, contractors bear a huge part of the risks involved. These risks include legal challenges, rework, receiving underpayment, missed deadlines, getting overbilled, mistakes, and many other factors that cause loss of money.

The effect of these risks is significantly reduced through the use of data which drones help obtain. With such accurate data, it is possible to avoid and eliminate problems before they get out of hand. It also helps in documenting the various construction processes to protect the contractors from legal issues.

A lot of clients also use these drones to their advantage. Some have been able to save a lot of money through the documentation of site progress to help in settling disputes without going through court proceedings.

 

Better Project Updates

Progress reports are necessary in order to keep stakeholders and owners up to date on developments on the site. Sometimes, these reports are requested at a very awkward time when it may be

inconvenient for you or any worker to head to the site. Using a drone in such situations can eliminate such issues when they arise.

 

Promote Safety 

Falls on construction sites account for about 39% of the total deaths which occur among private sector workers. Deaths from this particular cause can be reduced through the use of drones. Risky situations like taking measurements after climbing and other activities where workers have to get on high platforms are no longer necessary with the use of drones.

 

Enhance Collaboration

The use of drones helps in keeping members of the various teams working on a project updated on the progress of the project. While the drones collect on-site data, it can upload to a network which is accessible by the owners, engineers, contractors, virtual design teams, and superintendents.

The use of drones in construction has finally become a reality – one that will only experience continuous improvements.

 

Uses of Drones during the Construction Lifecycle

Investing in drones is one of the best moves for construction companies in recent times. All through the construction lifecycle, drones offer excellent use which can greatly improve the outcome of the project. Below are the ways these improvements are possible.

 

Feasibility and Bidding phase

Using the all the equipment present on a drone to their maximum potential provides an excellent means of performing feasibility studies. Sharp image drones which feature high-grade equipment like infrared sensors, cameras, and geolocation sensors help in obtaining excellent data to import, for the creation of 3D models featuring the environmental conditions, on a survey software. The 3D model is a faster means of showing the owner what to expect at the end of the project, carrying out feasibility studies, and identifying issues with constructability.

 

Design and Pre-Construction phase

During the design process, surveys with drones can help to identify real-life conditions which are likely to affect the ability to carry out constructions. It is possible to make as many improvements as necessary on the design considering site information is easy to obtain.

 

Construction phase

The construction phase has a lot of important aspects which are made easier with the use of drones. Drones can help improve the safety of the project, provide data to promote design improvements, progress tracking and communication, minimize theft, assets and materials management, and offering owner visibility. Solving problems in the future is also very easy with the great documentation which drones offer.  

 

Handover and Maintenance phase

When performing a handover, clients usually enjoy a great presentation of the final product using drone imagery and video. Looking long-term, the drone imagery and video help in performing maintenance and management of the property. It offers an as-built visual data of the property. Heat leaks in the underground sections of a building or other areas are also possible with the use of drones with thermal imaging features

 

Selecting a construction Drone

For those who have an interest in getting a drone for personal use, there are lots of factors to consider before making a purchase. From the features available on the drone to the type of drone, below are some essential criteria for selecting the best drone for a particular application: 

  • Maneuverability
  • Flight time
  • Range
  • Payload
  • Battery life
  • Size
  • Vertical-take-off-and-landing (VTOL), tethered VTOL, or Fixed wing

 

Various Drone Equipment (Sensors) available

Building a drone may not be a simple feat but the impact of the drone depends mainly on the equipment on the drone. There are lots of equipment available to make a high-quality drone which includes;

  • Thermal sensors for heat detection
  • Geo-location sensors such as GPS
  • Cameras

With so many choices for the equipment on the drone, carrying out extensive research plays a vital role in ensuring that the best equipment is available on the drone.  

 

Drone Regulatory bodies

There have been rapid changes in commercial drone regulations in different countries. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is responsible for the regulation in the UK while the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is the authority in the US.

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