Construction Drone Applications
Drones started as a weapon for the military. Slowly, they found their way into civilian life and now serve various purposes– from delivering packages to recreational use and even as an excellent tool for construction companies. Construction workers and engineers have devised very creative ways to put drones to fair use in construction, and so far, they have been doing wonders. Drones are used on construction sites for many reasons. The key applications of Construction Drones are providing precise data for progress tracking, site planning, quality control, bidding processes, and more.
Read on and determine how such technology creates an impact on the improvement, communication, and management of construction projects.
Table of contents
- Construction Drone Applications
- Volumetric Calculations
- Construction Job Progress Reports
- Photography for Marketing
- Live Virtual Streaming
- Site Logistics
- Laser Scanning
- Thermal Imaging Documentation
- Project Mapping
- Land Surveying
- Final Thoughts
Drones can be used throughout the planning and design phase. Thanks to their high-definition imaging, they can create accurately measured 3D models, digital twins, building information, and real-time modeling. These modeling techniques provide invaluable tools for future planning and decision-making, all from one screen.
Building Information Modeling
Building information modeling (BIM) is a process that allows everyone involved with the construction (architects, real estate developers, plumbers, elections, etc.) detailed information about the project throughout all stages. Drones play a crucial role in gathering this information for this model.
Building Information Modelling is an essential task in construction work. The entire building’s model may be required to develop a roadmap for workers, making it easy with drones’ help. The drone is able to capture accurate positions of the georeferenced data, which can be further used for essential simulations. Those simulations may further help the construction workers in the building process, as they will construct more precisely.
The use of 3D models makes it very feasible for construction workers to keep track of progress. They can compare the new models with the past models to properly comprehend the development and predict the additional time required to construct the building. The models may also be compared to the built blueprints, as it is essential to check if nothing is off proportion and everything is precisely the way it should be.
Using a drone to create a 3D model allows people to virtually view the construction site, pinpoint safety hazards, compare the completed work against the original design documents, and envision what the project will look like once completed.
Digital Twin Model
Drones can also be used to create digital twins. A digital twin is a complex, constantly-updated, virtual model to the actual physical thing or environment. This will help stakeholders or public officials visualize the project site to validate things are up to code, run analysis to predict potential faults, and essentially troubleshoot from afar- ultimately improving customer satisfaction.
Real Time Modeling
Many projects entail creating a frequently updated digital model that recreates the current status of the actual build. This can be not easy to do given how quickly projects progress and the intricacy of measurement needed. However, drones can leverage things like geo-positioning and LiDAR to create accurate, timely models of a project’s progression. This can be valuable for communicating with clients or even within members of the team.
Volumetric calculations are vital, especially at the start of the construction process. They help make accurate models and hire human resources and raw materials and tools accordingly. However, to take accurate calculations, what we need is a plethora of high-resolution images. Drones are equipped with high-end cameras, and this allows for the detailed inspection of the site that is required.
Typical building inspections require workers to put themselves in dangerous situations on rooftops or scaffolding. Drones have high maneuverability allowing them to capture the information needed without putting someone at risk.
Some drones even use lidar (light detection and ranging)- a method for measuring distances by illuminating the target with laser light and measuring the time the light’s reflection takes to return to the sensor. This provides an in-depth inspection measurement and realistic model of the site from every angle.
Visibility of the building’s roof for determining its condition and assessing any defects are necessary for most building surveys. Accessing the roof can be costly and time-consuming as it involves erecting a scaffold and using a ladder or cherry picker. Time, money, and safety risks are reduced with the help of small drones.
Construction Site Inspections
Since it can be dangerous to carry out construction site inspections, recording drone footage in HD can regularly cover larger areas, reduce risk, and save time. This can be done from the safety of the site cabin to be sent to project stakeholders.
Inspection of sites may be required to create 3D models or to look out for any potential hazard. This is also the initial step of planning because, based on drone inspection, does the construction team decides their working procedure and the areas they will set up their working base. This inspection may be required from time to time, so drones must be ready at all times.
Construction sites have many jobs that can be dangerous if a mistake is made. You can use drones in some cases to replace the need for a person to do a potentially dangerous job. While drones can’t do everything, they can measure large heights or unsteady objects. You can also use them for assessing potential safety concerns in an overview of the site.
Health & Safety Introductions
Health and Safety introductions can be done in real-time and risks can be shown by using a drone. Through this, site managers can induct moving vehicles, cranes, or active excavation areas, to name a few. Each demonstration would specifically outline the risk relevant to that site and, in return, reduce injury or accident risk.
High-up structures include roofs, towers, bridges, and scaffolding. Either the planned or reactive maintenance inspections on these can often result in costly access arrangements and site personnel working at height. Reducing risk and cost, an easier and quicker way of inspections can be made possible with the aid of a drone.
Theft from worksites is a major issue in the construction industry. Every site has hundreds to thousands of pieces of valuable equipment. Drones can be an important tool to help monitor equipment. Drone flyovers can document equipment while also determining if any unauthorized people are on the worksite. It prevents an added bit of security and loss prevention.
Construction sites have loads of moving parts- there’s always hardware, equipment, and many other assets dispersed throughout the site. Drones can reduce the chances of theft and even keep workers safe.
Stationary cameras don’t provide the versatility that aerial drones do. The video or photos are often grainy and only capture certain angles. When you use a drone, you can document all worksite angles in high-resolution images and videos. Allowing you to monitor the site conditions on a day-to-day basis and quickly check for all your assets. It also allows you to survey dangerous areas, keeping your workers safe and reducing the chances of accidents.
Construction Job Progress Reports
Analyze the construction site developments to make sure they are on track with the project timeline. Monthly progress reports can be prepared by taking multiple photographs of various areas of the site. No longer do they need to be on the site daily to take pictures. This allows project stakeholders to have better insights into the project’s progress.
Photography for Marketing
Presenting impressive photographs makes great marketing material. It is essential in promoting the business, especially via social media. This can be done as drones can capture 4K HD photos and videos from different angles, covering the real scale and size of projects.
Live Virtual Streaming
Real-time updates are needed when carrying out high-risk work onsite. The good thing is that Utilizing First Person View (FPV) technology with using VR glasses (optional enhancement), allows a drone camera to stream real-time HD footage to the project stakeholders or project team.
With the ever-changing movements on construction sites, drones can deliver real-time updates of potential issues and risks. This lets key decision-makers to always be informed on the developments.
Accessing a suitable location can be difficult for a surveyor. Through laser scanning from drones, crucial information such as exact detail of topography, cityscapes, and buildings can be captured.
Thermal Imaging Documentation
Engineers and surveyors record aerial thermal imaging to measure potential heat spots and cold spots for identifying and repairing building defects.
When working with larger projects, it is essential to have a good concept of the terrain involved. However, the surveying process can be a bit time-consuming. Drones are increasingly being used to survey a large area in a fraction of the time it would take traditional methods. As drones have developed to provide even more high-resolution photos, the ability to turn these into 3D terrain models and volumetric measures has become a reality.
This is one of the most popular uses of drones in construction. Sending a drone to survey a plot is much quicker than doing it by land- typically, it can happen in a couple of hours or less. Not only is it quicker, but by using a drone, you will also reduce the labor and cost, and capture highly accurate data that’s not subject to human error.
Surveying the land by drones is also an excellent way to help in the bidding process. Spend less time and money gathering information before you put in your best bid.
Technology is rapidly changing the construction industry with drones a prime example of this. They are an effective way to achieve greater efficiency, safety, and cost savings. Understanding the types of drones available and their utility in construction can help companies decide whether to incorporate a drone as a tool for their work. As time passes, more innovation and creativity will be added to drone technology, changing construction companies’ entire working methodology.
Drones are an excellent way to bring in more revenue for your construction business and make your job more efficient. If you’re ready to take your business to the next level and want to purchase a drone, we offer commercial drone financing and leasing options. Please find out more about how to qualify for commercial drone financing & leasing.