Using UAVs in construction: 7 benefits transforming the industry
In recent years, the use of UAVs in construction has become increasingly popular. Large construction companies are turning to the capabilities of drones to optimize design, monitor workflows, identify issues, and speed up their resolution.
The data obtained with the help of unmanned aerial vehicles makes a significant contribution to the construction process, especially on complex and large-scale projects. Here's how using UAVs allows construction companies to save money and improve the quality of work.
According to DroneDeploy, the use of drones in construction is growing by 239% year on year, which is higher than in any other commercial sector.
UAVs on construction sites can be used at all stages of construction work:
Design and pre-design studies:
- Aerial and lidar surveys for the preparation of a construction project
- Search for the optimal construction site
- Creation of digital terrain and relief models
- Forecasting and modeling of natural impacts
- Creation of information models of the construction object
- Marketing and visualization of projects
- Construction site control, photo and video recording
- Assessment of the degree of readiness of objects
- Integrity control, glazing installation, heat leakage monitoring
- Aerial photography of the finished object, visualization of the progress and course of construction work
- Tracking the construction process, determining the volume of embankments and the weight of bulk materials on the construction site
- Analysis of the need for and planning of repair work
Safety and accident prevention:
- Construction safety
- Monitoring the performance of hazardous work
- Inspection of high-rise facilities
- Assistance in the liquidation of accidents
- Inspection and assistance in repairing damage
Benefits of using UAVs in construction
The use of UAVs allows the construction industry to gain a wide range of benefits, from ensuring site safety to remote monitoring.
As the industry is constantly evolving and construction projects become more complex, the use of drones in construction will continue to grow rapidly in the coming years. In the future, UAV technology can completely change the life cycle of construction projects. Photos, videos, and 3D models of construction sites created on their basis allow us to determine the scale of construction, track the progress of work, and update information in real time.
Another big advantage of UAVs is the speed with which they can inspect sites and objects on them. This is especially true for the construction of linear facilities such as roads, railways, pipelines, bridges, and other utility networks. Drones do not require the use of bulky measuring equipment and fixation in space, and are capable of conducting surveys by moving along any given trajectory, moving away and approaching the object as needed. In one hour, such a device can cover up to 70 km of survey routes, which significantly saves resources during construction.
Here are some of the main features of UAVs that allow construction companies to increase efficiency, reduce costs, and optimize workflow.
1. Improved planning and risk analysis
With the help of aerial photography and a wide range of data obtained from UAVs, construction companies can identify risk factors and improve planning, especially when developing complex and large-scale construction projects. For example, by installing additional equipment on drones, such as a thermal imaging camera, they can examine areas for structural integrity or heat leaks.
3D models of structures created on the basis of data collected by UAVs allow identifying possible problems and design errors at the stage of preparation for construction, as well as ensuring accurate transfer of project details and its implementation in the building. Early detection of potential financial risks will help avoid cost overruns, save time, and keep the construction schedule and budget on track.
2. Remote monitoring of construction works
To get an overall picture of the construction and provide clients with an idea of the project's progress, UAVs can shoot impressive bird's-eye videos. Creating such videos will allow stakeholders to be confident that their funds are being used effectively. They can also be used by project managers and other key operational personnel of the construction company to assess construction progress and compare it with the planned schedule.
3. Improving construction safety
With the ability to take aerial photos from tens and hundreds of meters with a 360° view, the team can identify potential risks on the construction site and take action to prevent them from becoming a safety hazard for workers or damaging power lines, neighboring buildings, etc. Also, thanks to drone inspections, construction workers don't have to take risks to inspect equipment or areas at height - UAVs can provide high-quality photos and videos in real time and from different angles, without putting people at risk of injury in dangerous conditions.
4. Inspection of equipment and structures
Drones can also be used for routine maintenance of large-scale structures such as bridges, towers, roofs, and scaffolding. A task that would require an entire team of engineers, a drone operator and a GIS specialist can accomplish in a few hours.
5. Standardized data collection and comprehensive analysis
Conducting a series of repeated UAV missions on a construction site allows you to create a consistent set of data week after week. Automating this process with specialized software will allow employees to spend no more than 20-30 minutes collecting data during a normal working day and integrate it into workflows to manage risks and optimize construction.
6. Performing measurements
With the help of analysis tools, the data obtained from drones can be used to measure volume and area. For example, to calculate the volume of the topsoil, determine the parameters of objects for unimpeded access of vehicles, and plan the placement of equipment on the construction site to make it more orderly. Also, from the air, you can determine the amount of materials already used and required to complete the work, for example, how many square meters of tiles have been laid and how many cubes of concrete remain to be poured, etc.
Also, by building a point cloud and performing calculations based on it, UAVs can determine the volume of embankments and the weight of bulk materials (crushed stone, sand, etc.). Provided that bulk raw materials and other products are fully visible from the air, drones can be used to determine the volume, weight, and quantity of materials on a construction site with great accuracy. We wrote about how Culver Aviation calculates the volume of bulk products here.
7. New marketing and advertising opportunities
UAVs open up a whole new range of opportunities for construction companies to market themselves. Photos and videos taken from a height add volume and movement to advertising content, while shots of the team working on the construction site and demonstrations of the progress and final result help to impress potential customers and investors.
Despite the fact that the construction industry is only just beginning to actively use UAVs, their impact is completely changing the approach to project implementation. The information collected by drones, combined with the ability to interpret and analyze data, makes construction more certain and predictable, and its management more efficient and rational.
The capabilities of UAVs can reduce time, money and resources, reduce risks and increase safety, as well as improve work efficiency and communication between different services, making their use appropriate at different stages of the construction life cycle.
Need UAV assistance on your construction projects? Cooperate with Culver Aviation! Call 0 800 351 709 or write to email@example.com.