Making Drones and Aerial Mapping Work for Construction

You’ve heard it, seen it, and probably have even flown one: drones are all the buzz now in the building and construction industries. First introduced as military combat machines, drones have since been adapted to a wide range of uses in a variety of activities—and for the construction industry specifically, commercial drones are poised to be an efficient solution to one of the industry’s most challenging issues: waste.

In America alone, the amount of building-related waste is estimated to be more than $160 billion, reports Fortune, and solving this kind of inefficiency is one of the reasons why more and more construction companies are turning to drones.

How would these efficiencies and savings be realized? Well, to start, drones are cheaper to fly, faster than many current surveying methods, and therefore can be used to collect data more frequently, which ultimately provides more timely and accurate site information. Furthermore, tools like Site Scan from 3DR now allow professionals in the field and the office to use site data to construct 3D models, take measurements, build georeferenced maps of the job site, and upload their information to the Autodesk cloud for use in any Autodesk software.

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Site Scan for Surveying and Jobs

From a human resource perspective, drones are also beneficial in that they can make jobs safer for human workers. For example, Thornton Tomasetti uses drones to assess buildings where it is not safe for their human engineers to investigate. Inspecting tall structures are also a danger to field professionals, and being able to keep your inspectors on the ground can mitigate risks and cut costs.

While 88% of contractors were reported to be aware of drones, ConstructionPro Network found that only 30% have hands-on experience. So how can construction teams start their drone adoption? ENR recently published a great article highlighting what you need to consider before buying a drone for construction, which highlights factors such as:

  • How price varies based on drone size and equipment
  • Certification and training required to operate a drone
  • Insurance and liability policy considerations

If you are interested in learning more about drones for engineering pre-planning, schedule a free Discovery Call with our team.

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What do you think is the greatest value drones bring to construction projects? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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