The use of drones, also known as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), has emerged as a major trend in the construction management industry. Drones use flying platform that’s remotely controlled by a pilot using flight software, onboard sensors, a camera system and GPS. Whether helping to identify potential hazards or easily viewing the variations between as-designed and as-built site plans, having a birds-eye view of a job site adds a ton of value to construction teams.
A Go-To Tool for Construction
When looking at the benefits that UAVs could add to commercial construction, the list just keeps growing as they continue to improve. With the ability to track, map, survey and inspect worksites so efficiently and safely, drones are becoming a go-to tool for the construction industry. Through aerial imagery and data, builders can map projects, report progress updates and gain insights through advanced analytics that allow for better—and faster—decision making. With an overhead view of a jobsite, UAVs can give a deeper insight on progress tracking and help to prevent additional costs or delays by catching problems before becoming a major issue.
Another benefit that UAVs could provide, is the real-time view it can provide to owners. They have the ability to show the owners the project’s progression without them having to be physically on site, and they can capture detailed images in those hard-to-access places. This type of monitoring has become especially important during COVID-19 and the new standard of social distancing and remote work. Communicating with the owners in this detailed way allows them to rest easy knowing that their investment is in the right hands.
Not only do drones assist in owner communication, they can also aid in internal collaboration. Once data has been collected during the flight, the information can be sent to a computer via drone software. This allows all team members, from the engineers to the workers to the owners, to analyze and interpret this data and discuss any changes that may need to be made. By having more eyes on the data, it’s less likely that an issue would fall through the cracks.
The Safety Benefits of Drones in Construction
Speaking of falling, another valuable aspect to using UAVs on the jobsite is personnel safety. Research by Drone Base, a drone pilot network that provides services to construction companies and other industries, reveals drones have increased on-site safety by 55% by making those hard-to-reach measurements on behalf of workers as well as monitoring for falls and accidents. UAV video can also be used to monitor for safety concerns, making sure no structures or equipment are out of place or unstable. This can help in preventing potential injuries. With worker safety being one of the top priorities for most construction companies, this is an immeasurable benefit of installing a drone program at your company.
One more way UAVs could be valuable is in the area of security. According to the website Capterra, on an annual basis, over $300 million worth of construction equipment is stolen from job sites, with less than 25% of it being recovered. If you have a drone, your pilot could simply fly it over the job site to make sure everything is secure and all equipment is accounted for, as well as make sure there are no unauthorized individuals on your site.
Overall, having access to a drone on job sites is certain to have a massive impact on all manner of construction processes. The ROI for a drone program at your company would be instant. With benefits like accident prevention, replacing man power and fast communication to name a few, drones would likely become an invaluable member of your team.