10 Ways to Use Drones in Construction

1. Building Surveys

Building surveyors will know that most building surveys require visibility of the buildings roof to identify its condition and assess any defects.

In most instances getting access to a roof can be tricky and often involves the erection of a scaffold, use of a cherry picker or ladders.

Using a small drone to perform the survey can save time, money and reduce health and safety risks involved with surveying a roof and other tricky areas.

2. Construction Site Inspections 

Carrying out site inspections on a busy construction site can dangerous and complicated at times.

The ability for a drone to carry out a visual inspection of high-risk areas can save time and reduce H&S risks. Drone footage can be recorded from the safety of the site cabin and then sent to project stakeholders in HD.

3. Health and Safety Inductions

Site inductions can often be a tedious exercise. Often involving a premeditated talk in the site cabin or a pre-recorded induction video…

Using a drone to fly over a site can show new site operatives H&S risks in real-time. Enabling site managers to demonstrate moving vehicles, moving cranes, or active excavation areas etc.

4. Maintenance Inspections

Carrying out planned or reactive maintenance inspections of high-up structures such as bridges, towers, roofs and scaffolding, can often involve costly access arrangements, and site personnel working at height.

Drones can provide a quicker and easier way of carrying out the inspections, feeding back HD real-time footage to the engineer or surveyor from the ground.

5. Project Progress Reports

Construction progress reports are often prepared monthly to record site progress against the project programme. These reports include the surveyor or CA taking multiple photographs of various parts of the site.

A regular drone flight can be a speedy way to record and visualise project progress. Through a series of aerial shots and HD video project stake holders can gain a better insight into the progress that has been made without actually being on-site.

6. Promotional Photography

Impressive photography is becoming more and more important in the way construction organisations promote their business, especially as the use of social media is becoming more important as a work tool.

The ability to capture impressive 4K HD video and photos from unique angles can provide an interesting insight into a project or building, making it great for marketing material.

In particular, this could be a great tool for estate agents looking to demonstrate impressive shots of a property or building they are looking to sell!

7. Live feed/ virtual walk around

When carrying out high risk work on-site it may be necessary for certain professionals to gain real-time updates on what is happening.

Utilising First Person View (FPV) technology, a drone camera can stream HD footage to the project team or project stakeholders in real-time. This experience could also be enhanced by the use of VR glasses.

8. Site logistics

Construction sites are ever evolving and the movements on-site don’t always stick to programme.

Drones can provide a real-time update of what is going on around the site. Carrying out a speedy flight around the site can give a good overview of potential issues to be aware of. For instance moving vehicles, machinery or cranes etc.

9. Point cloud/ laser scanning

Often for a surveyor it can be hard to gain access to a suitable location to laser scan high up areas of a building, meaning the point cloud is returned missing vital information.

Laser scanning from drones has become a recognised method of capturing the exact detail of topography, buildings and cityscapes and can provide the missing piece to point cloud scan for input into Building Information Models (BIM).

10. Thermal Imaging recording

Similar to laser scanning, drones can be used to take aerial thermal imaging recordings which can be used to assess potential cold spots in buildings or even heat spots in areas holding electrical components.

This can give engineers and surveyors essential information when trying to identify and rectify building defects.

Originaly posted in Construct Digital and written by Martin Watson


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