Construction is an industry, often fraught with delays and inefficiency in operations caused by breakdowns in communication, scheduling errors, safety issues and supply chain faults. Historically the construction industry has been slow to adapt to new and emerging technologies. Often lagging behind and stuck in the ways of the past, when a new solution could easily be implemented to improve efficiency or safety on a site. Drone Technologies represent a new opportunity for construction site managers to save money and time by streamlining their construction site workflow.
#1 Worker Safety
An obvious improvement arising from the use of drones on construction sites is the removal of workers from potential hazardous environments or situations. Drone pilots are able to assess and document the current state of a construction site, without the need for shutdowns or hindering plant or personnel operations.
Not only do drones remove workers from these environments, but they also provide a unique perspective on construction sites. Allowing site managers to identify potential hazards and implement mitigation procedures before they become a threat to the safety of workers and operations.
#2 Rapid Site Surveys
Drone based surveying techniques offer a safer and faster alternative to traditional terrestrial surveying techniques and can be utilized on construction sites of any size. Ina traditional survey, a surveyor climbs up and down a stockpile to take points, risking their own safety and halting operations in this region. A drone pilot can set up in one safe location and in many cases capture the images required to survey the entire site, without affecting any works.
The most common outputs from a drone based photogrammetric survey used on construction sites are:
Think of this as a high resolution, up to date google earth image of your construction site. Something that shows you exactly where plant and equipment are and at what stage development has reached at the time of capture. An orthomosaic differs from an image in that it has been “orthorectified” meaning that it can be used to accurately measure distances and areas.
Image 1: Orthomosaic of a construction project in Brisbane, Australia
Volumetric Measurement Outputs:
Construction site managers can easily access up to date volumetric data, by using a combination of a point cloud for site orientation feature location, overlaid on a digital terrain model (DTM) for elevation profiles.
Accuracies for the survey outputs are dependent on equipment, flight altitude and ground control points (GCPs) however, 5cm X,Y,Z accuracies are generally achievable on most construction sites.
Image 2: Digital Surface Model of a construction project in Brisbane, Australia.
If you’re interested in learning more about how photogrammetry works, check out this article:
#3 Streamline Communication
How many times has a contractor not arrived at the correct time, an order been placed for the wrong quantity or a basic email becomes a massive chain, simply because of a breakdown in communication? Integrating a regular drone based capture into your construction site workflow can greatly assist in reducing the uncertainty in project team discussion. For example:
A recent photographic or video capture can easily be marked up to indicate the exact location or current progress of a specific region on the site. An orthomosaic can be used by site managers to plan out space to allocate to specific contractors and an up to date 3D model of a site stockpile can notify supervisors of the current state of their fill supply.
#4 Cost effective marketing solution
In Australia it’s almost unheard of to see any high quality commercial or residential property listing that doesn’t incorporate drone photography or video in their listing. Gone are the days where marketing managers had to hire manned aircraft to showcase their large-scale construction projects. Drones offer the ability for construction marketers to capture the attention of current and future investors. Regular drone photography and video capture of construction sites is a great tool for improving relationships with stakeholders and showcasing current projects to future clients.
For more information on how Drone Technologies can assist in improving the safety and efficiency of your construction project, feel free to contact us at:
0458 662 207