How drones are saving millions for construction companies

The construction industry might be slow to adopt new technologies, but it's certainly getting more and more comfortable with drones.
8 October 2018

Drones are making big leaps in the world of construction. Source: Shutterstock

In the construction industry, technology has the power to disrupt existing workflows and transform traditional processes — however, most businesses aren’t interested.

Using 3D printing, for example, is great and theoretically speaking, can make the property quite strong. However, it might be a difficult idea to sell to customers who might choose not to invest in the development altogether, thinking that traditional materials can yield better results.

The same is the case with robots, especially those used for development. They’re quite easy to deploy and might help construction speed up as they’re able to work longer hours or without breaks and will make fewer mistakes — but customers might find it hard to believe that they’re getting the same or better quality in less than half the time.

Drones, however, in the construction industry, have managed to make quite a lot of progress. Especially because they play the role of a surveillance tool instead of providing or supporting any part of the development or build process — which doesn’t make customers uncomfortable while still allows the business to benefit greatly.

According to an organization providing drones to construction companies, drone use on the job site has skyrocketed. In the last year, demand has surged 239 percent — and experts believe that the numbers will grow in leaps and bounds as the industry gets more and more comfortable with the idea.

Another study revealed that using drones resulted in 5x to 20x cost savings, 55 percent increased safety, 61 percent more accurate measurements, 65 percent improved communication and collaboration, and 52 percent reduced time to data insights.

“We saw what was a 2–3 week and several tens of thousands of dollars process become a 1 to 4 day process with only a couple of thousands of dollars invested in equipment and software. When you’re looking at dramatic 75 percent or greater cost and time improvement, it’s really powerful,” said Hunter Cole, Brasfield and Gorrie General Contractors.

Here are the top 3 ways in which drones can help construction companies:

# 1 | Surveying land and property

Whether before, during, or after construction projects, civil engineers need to survey the land and the property that is being built for various reports and compliance checks.

Using manual labor for this can be quite time-consuming. Further, it is here that several errors and challenges can creep in.

However, surveying the land and property using a drone can be quite quick and allow the creation of tamper-proof documentary evidence.

# 2 | Improvement to infrastructure

When civil engineers are called in to improve the infrastructure of a certain property, they need to survey the property several times. That’s where drones can help — quickly and at a much lower cost.

Further, when infrastructure companies look at large projects that are floated by government organizations or public institutions, using drones to survey and understand the complexities beforehand can provide intelligence that can help create and submit the most competitive bid.

# 3 | Audit and inspection

Drones are quite unique in their ability to provide aerial support — with or without human intervention. Dones can be operated by humans when they need to help with audits — where a qualified inspector or professional can survey the land or property as per guidelines, standards, or requirements set out by a governing body.

However, they can be run autonomously on a specific path in order to make sure that the property or land in question isn’t being tampered with and that the project progressing to scope and specification.

Although a simple idea, using drones for audit and inspection can save hundreds of thousands for the construction industry, especially in phase audits and works certification costs.