Drones in Construction: Jobsites of the Future
You’ve seen them everywhere. Drones are the toy (and sometimes high-tech gadget) that everyone wants to get their hands on. Whether simply flown around a room or used to film at a unique aerial perspective, the possible applications of using drone technology are vast.
Shiny new technology and construction are not two concepts that are frequently married. However, drones provide opportunities that were previously unheard of in the construction industry. Technology provided by drones include inventory oversight and advanced project planning. There are quite a few ideas of how a drone can be used to improve any contracting firm’s operations.
Drones in Topographical Mapping
Consulting topographical maps is a must when planning out large-scale construction projects. Use of these maps prevents costly blunders involving designs ill-suited for a terrain. However, these maps are expensive and take a lot of time to produce. Because of this, topographical maps may not always be completely up-to-date at the start of a job.
Drones contain the potential to remedy this problem. Due to their ability to map vast quantities of land in a short amount of time and ease of use, the time it would take to draft a map of a site’s topography would be cut down exponentially. Topographical maps could be quickly compiled before planning a project. This would ensure accuracy at the time of a project’s initiation. As any contracting business knows, being concise helps crews keep to the schedule and helps costs stay on-budget.
It’s a problem every project manager has faced: a slip in memory of what equipment is at each jobsite. This task is simple when only one site is involved but becomes increasingly complex as the project list grows. There are usually a ton of lengthy spreadsheets involved and fleet management can quickly turn into Excel hell (unless you’re lucky enough to have access to rental management technology).
With a drone, that same manager can do a fly over and quickly assess if equipment is where it needs to be. They can also quickly recognize if a piece of equipment is still on-site that should be terminated. This can prevent expensive accidental extension charges.
Another issue that frequently arises is when equipment malfunctions. The recording functionality of some drones could be used to remotely assess what issues are taking place. This would allow visual representation, preventing miscommunication that can take place when equipment errors are explained solely over the phone. The recorded data could easily be sent to repair technicians at equipment rental companies for quicker and more accurate diagnostics even before they make it to the work site.
Increasing Visibility for Clients
Another enticing feature of using drones during a job is the ongoing visibility it can give clients. This can be especially helpful with clientele that cannot make it to the site. An expansive aerial view can also give a customer a larger-scale grasp of what stage the work is at. Footage from a camera drone will be an impressive tool in helping clients to feel assured that their spend is being utilized efficiently.
Drone Use in Security and Safety
If you’ve ever had a piece of equipment stolen from a site, you’re well aware of how devastating it can be. Depending on the size and how new the unit is, having a boom lift or excavator stolen can leave you out tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. Equipment security is thus a very important component of managing a job.
A drone operator could quickly see if a piece of equipment is in a secure enough location. Also, the camera could be utilized to see if someone is on a site that simply shouldn’t be. This will prevent damage or theft long before it has a chance to occur.
While the exact scope of how large of a roles drones will play in the construction industry is still in its developing stages, they definitely have the ability to revolutionize many aspects of the sector. As long as the technology is able to make it through federal aviation and zoning hurdles, it is safe to say that the drone is here to stay.