How construction drones can support companies in times of uncertainty

Planning, executing and documenting a construction project is a long, rigorous process, with every detail of the job undergoing heavy scrutiny – accuracy in the construction industry is critical. Even a small oversight can delay a project for days, weeks or even months, bringing with it huge costs and reputational damage.

Despite the risks that poorly planned projects bring, setbacks in the construction industry are commonplace. Project managers are regularly called upon to improvise to overcome these setbacks, and COVID-19 has only increased this need as project resources get impacted and plans change.

Traditionally, these improvisations have been led in part by intuition and gut-feelings – but project managers are increasingly looking at smarter ways to get a competitive edge when adjusting to adverse circumstances. A large part of that edge is provided by drone technology.

Drone data offers a comprehensive, detailed analysis that can help project managers make much more informed decisions – avoiding further setbacks and significantly reducing budget overruns. And in the unexpected event of an emergency or decommissioning, drone software can assist in documenting, as well as recording a site.

Assistance from commercial drones every step of the way

Although a construction project will go through many smaller phases during its lifecycle, they can be broadly split into three main steps – all of which can be assisted by construction drones.

 

Planning

No matter how much planning goes into a construction site, events are bound to crop up that force companies to pivot away from their existing ideas. This could be objects that the human eye can’t see, steep slopes that would make building more challenging, or severe elevation issues that would hamper the process.

By deploying a construction drone solution, such as the DJI Phantom 4 RTK and DJI Terra software, to run detailed surveys and mapping of an area – in both 2D and 3D – project planners can get a much clearer and more accurate picture of the landscape. Drones not only cut down on analysis time, they also ensure planners are able to take all the information into account and better plan costs and timescales. 

 

Building progress

While project managers can fairly easily pivot and improvise during the planning phase, problems during the building phase are much harder to resolve without huge hits on budgets and timescales. 

Construction drones can mitigate the damage by highlighting potential problems sooner.  A great example of this is water damage – one of the most common issues a construction company can face during the building stage.

 

Post-Construction

Problems don’t necessarily end when the construction is over, either. Owners, contractors, subcontractors and architects can kick off several rounds of litigation over any issues that may have arisen during construction, adding further cost. Since the problems that may arise during a project are so varied, project managers have no way of knowing what forms this litigation might take.

Using construction drones throughout the construction process enables project managers to collect plenty of data that may be useful during any follow-up litigation.

In summary, construction drones can help pre-empt problems, catch issues early and build up enough data to help you should post-project issues arise. They can help you and your team to make careful, thoughtful decisions, and save money – something that’s more important than ever as we work through the pandemic.