A drone program is a terrific investment for construction companies right now. They can be used through the entire construction lifecycle, from feasibility and bidding to handover and maintenance. Here’s how.
Feasibility and Bidding
Drones can be equipped with cameras, geo-location sensors, infrared sensors, and more. The data can then be imported into survey software to create 3D models of existing conditions. This helps with determining feasibility, understanding constructability, and helping owners visualize what the project will look like in the end. It can also be used to identify areas of risk.
Design and Pre-Construction
Drone surveys help inject real-world conditions into design and constructability conversations. The ability to easily capture site information also improves the rate at which the design can be iterated on.
During the construction phase, drones have many current and potential uses. They help to track and communicate progress, track and manage materials and assets, reduce theft, improve owner visibility, increase safety, and provide valuable information for improving design changes. They also create a valuable documentation trail in case of problems.
Handover and Maintenance
Drone imagery and video of the final product can create customer delight during handover. This data also has a practical value in property management and maintenance, providing owners and managers with visual data regarding the as-built condition of the building. Additionally, drones equipped with thermal imaging capability can detect heat leaks in a building envelope or along a long run of underground utility piping.
Here are ten ways drones can improve inefficiencies and margins on your construction site:
- Win more business. Drone photography can be an important sales tool. Your improved surveying and planning capabilities will also set you apart from the competition.
- Improve owner’s visibility. Use drone photography to help owners visualize the final project, and see how the project is progressing while under construction.
- Iterate faster during the bid phase. Drone surveys can help you put the virtual design in the context of real conditions and thus better engage the entire team.
- Instill client confidence. All of the above benefits help you build client confidence.
- Improve asset and material management. Drones equipped with streaming video capability can help you monitor the job site for suspicious activity, and identify theft as it’s happening. Plus, your teams can easily monitor locations and quantities of assets and materials at a glance, to ensure it will be there when you need it.
- Improve invoicing accuracy. Drones enable you to monitor work completion more effectively, and bill accordingly.
- Improve quality. Drones vastly increase your ability to complete quality inspections in large and hard to reach areas in an efficient manner.
- Minimize rework. Increasing the number of inspections you make enables you to catch more mistakes before they become a bigger problem, thus reducing the amount of rework needed.
- Improve safety. Perform inspections in dangerous areas without putting anyone at risk. Drones also allow you to identify and mitigate potential hazards before they cause harm.
- Mitigate litigation. Drones can increase site documentation to reduce the likelihood of litigation, and increase your defensibility.