5 Ways Drones in Construction Can Improve Your Projects Now

No longer a futuristic vision, drones are now common on construction sites. Today, the business case for using drones in construction is clearer than it was even two years ago, and companies are already benefiting from their many uses. Here are 5 ways drones can improve your next construction project.

 

1: Prevent Costly Mistakes

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Drones can be equipped with cameras, geo-location sensors, infrared sensors, and more to capture precise details about the environmental and physical site prior to and during construction. The high-resolution images captured by a drone are then turned into accurate 2D orthophotos and 3D models, creating a rich digital representation of your jobsite. Then, drone data platforms like 3DR Site Scan make it easy to overlay design files onto drone maps, enabling you to  pinpoint constructability challenges in pre-construction spot mistakes, and measure progress during construction.

 

2: Provide Better Project Updates

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Owners and other stakeholders understandably demand progress updates on a regular basis. This can be a pain for you, if you have to walk the site or send someone to take photos. Drones can make this aspect of the job both a painless experience for you, and a better experience for them.

When it comes to project updates, “drones can provide instant ROI,” says Josh Cheney, Industry Manager of Construction Technology at Autodesk. “Drones can be operated autonomously, on your own schedule.” Scheduling a regular flyover is simple and inexpensive, and provides rich data to share with project owners.

 

3: Improve Safety

The leading cause of private sector worker fatalities on the construction site is falls, representing nearly 39% of all deaths. Drones can be used to keep workers’ feet planted firmly on the ground when they might otherwise have to climb to take manual measurements or engage in other activities that can be replaced with a drone.

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4: Improve Collaboration

“Collaboration is key,” says Nico Bonnafoux, Senior Customer Success Architect at 3DR. “You save money if you get everyone moving in a unified direction.” Drones improve collaboration by collecting data on-site and distributing it through a platform like BIM 360. Virtual design teams, engineers, superintendents, owners, and contractors can then access aerial views and related data from their iPads and other devices. This enables everyone to see where things were yesterday, compare progress over time, and catch any discrepancies before they become serious problems.

“Collaboration is key. You save money if you get everyone moving in a unified direction.”

Nico Bonnafoux, Senior Customer Success Architect, 3DR

5: Mitigate Risk

Contractors carry significant risk on every project. From being overbilled on one side, to being underpaid on the other, to mistakes, rework, missed deadlines, and legal challenges, few industries provide as many opportunities to lose money.

Data from drones can help mitigate many of these risks by identifying problems before they arise, providing accurate data regarding disputes, and documenting the process against legal challenges.

 “For example,” says Bonnafoux, “one of our customers used their drone data to help win a dispute with a subcontractor who was significantly overcharging them. By having accurate daily site documentation, our customer quickly resolved the dispute and saved over $100,000 without having to go to court.”

Once a vision of the future, drones are here now, and their use in construction industry is only going to grow. 

 



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