The construction industry has existed in one form or another for as long as man has walked the earth. Thanks to advances in modern technology things like bridges, buildings, canals, parks and more can be built faster than ever.
Many construction companies are catching on to the fact that drones, also known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), can play a pivotal and extremely helpful role in the construction industry.
There are seven specific ways that drones are commonly used in construction projects.
Below we’ve outlined each of these methods and elaborated on how they benefit clients, construction companies, workers and the general public.
1 Land Surveying
Until just a few years ago, land surveying was a complicated and expensive part of construction. Expensive equipment had to be leased and multiple contractors had to trek into what was often uncharted territory. While there is still no substitute for boots on the ground in some circumstances, drone innovation has made land surveys much more cost-effective and efficient.
Drones not only allow you to get a general idea about property; they can provide you with much-needed details regarding the landscape and surrounding areas. This cuts down on equipment and manpower costs, and it offers contractors the ability to make well-informed estimates and decisions prior to accepting contracts or breaking ground.
2 Marketing & Promotion
For a construction project to be successful it needs to have clients. Savvy construction companies use drones to film aerial shots of the area prior to development. Along with scale models and 3D renderings of the finished product, sky-high shots of the area from multiple angles help potential clients visualize the transformation of the barren land.
If you want to stand out to potential clients and help them see how their ideas can become reality, you should seriously consider adding drone photography and videos to your arsenal of sales tools. This strategy can also be used to convince communities and task forces of the viability of your project.
3 Safety & Insurance
Insurance costs for construction projects are at an all-time high, and one way you can protect and improve your safety record is through the use of drones. Is a worker on-site without the proper safety equipment? Is a column out of alignment? Is the excavation being done improperly or not thoroughly? Use a drone to find out before anyone else, and remedy the issue before it becomes a larger liability.
Aside from using drones to prevent serious injuries or death to your coworkers or the end users of the construction, you might also be eligible for a discount on your insurance if you use UAVs to patrol the site in an effort to find and fix potential problems.
4 Showing Job Progress to Clients
Clients fund construction projects, but they can also impede progress by incessantly showing up on-site with shiny boots and ill-fitting hard hats. To appease clients and to prevent them from interfering with ongoing work, use a drone to film the site regularly.
If the client is constantly receiving videos and images of the progress being made, you’ll be able to spend more time on the actual work than you would if you were forced to babysit the financiers. Drones are also a helpful way to provide updates to clients who are unable to visit the area. It’s advisable to only film areas that are making good progress, unless the client stipulates otherwise.
5 Monitoring Multiple Job Sites
Successful contractors are rarely able to remain on-site throughout the duration of a construction project. They rely on information from foremen and inspectors to provide them with regular updates. That system works to some degree, but thanks to drones there is now another way to monitor multiple job sites without having to travel excessively.
A drone operator can provide you with clear views of specific aspects of the site as well as general aerial shots. You can do this with or without the knowledge of on-site subordinates, thus allowing you to see exactly what has been done and what needs to be done.
Large-scale contractors use UAVs for this purpose on a daily basis to make sure things are running smoothly, safely, and on schedule.
6 Construction Inspection
Inspections are a major part of construction. Not only are there federal, state and local codes that must be strictly adhered to, but clients and public interest groups often play a major role in construction project inspections. If you want to avoid needless distractions and potential delays, use a drone equipped with a camera/video recording device to inspect every nook and cranny of the site.
You can deploy a drone to show you what things look like on the roof of a skyscraper under construction or to give you an idea of how a tunnel is progression. Bridges between large chasms are prime locations to take advantage of drones. You can even use a drone to hover around the perimeter of a site to show you how closely the actual site resembles the model and/or blueprints.
Realistically, no matter what sort of project is underway, inspections can be made safer, faster and easier through drone use.
7 Monitoring Workers
You want to keep your workers safe and productive, but hiring an extra group of supervisors is cost-prohibitive. What can you do to ensure employees are “working hard” and not “hardly working?” Drones can patrol the area to keep an eye on everyone in general or to conduct surveillance on a specific person or group who might not be following protocol.
Today’s drones are non-invasive and in many instances the workers may not even be aware that they are under surveillance. This is ideal because as the old saying goes, “character is who you are when no one is watching.” Whether you want to take preventative measures to make sure the job is being done right and safely, or you need to verify the actions of someone in particular, today’s camera-equipped drones can be your strongest ally.
Clearly, drones are improving the construction industry in multiple ways. We should only expect UAV technology to improve with time, thus making construction projects safer and more affordable for everyone involved. If you work in the construction or drone industries and have a personal experience to relate regarding how UAVs have helped you, we’d love to hear from you.
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