How Drone Technology is Addressing Common Productivity Challenges in Modern Day Construction

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How Drone Technology is Addressing Common Productivity Challenges in Modern Day Construction

The construction industry has grown significantly in recent years with several new technologies being adopted to improve efficiency. Yet 90% of all construction projects around the world are either completed late or run over budget. Sometimes both.
feds-drones-in-construction
“90% of all construction projects around the world are either completed late or over budget. Sometimes both.”
The majority of these setbacks in the construction process are caused by rework. Luckily, drones help address these common challenges. They offer unparalleled visibility into projects during construction thus eliminating the need for rework. However, most construction companies still prefer investing in labourers as opposed to new technology because of the fear that it will be difficult to downscale operations. In this article, we delve deeper into the use and benefits of drones in the construction industry, and how they can be used to address construction companies’ biggest fears.
 

Reducing Cost By Avoiding Rework & Improving Collaboration

Companies that have turned to drones were able to save time and cost in their construction projects by avoiding rework, inefficient collaboration and accidents. 
 
Infographic on How Drones Save Time and MoneyAssumptions or errors made at any point in the construction phase can be costly. After all, rework is the biggest culprit for hampering productivity on a construction site. Any wrong measurement made in any phase of the project will result in rework; delaying the whole project and increasing the overall construction cost. So, how can drones help?
 
1. Drones offer unparalleled visibility. A drone can record high-resolution images of up to 0.5 cm / pixel with a high accuracy of up to 1cm. The collected site data is then processed into 2D orthophoto images, point clouds and 3D reality capture, providing visibility and clarity from above compared to the limited view from the ground. Comparatively, manually surveying 5km2 would take approximately two months, and by the time an engineer receives the data, mistakes are often magnified.
 
2. Volumetric measurements. Drone data from a 1km2 area produces over 44 million ground control point clouds compared to a few hundred or thousand by terrestrial surveying, thus providing more accurate volume measurements than the traditional method. With terrestrial surveying, you’ll be relying on a massive amount of interpolation between points to calculate large areas, which can be avoided with drones. Frequently collected data can be used to keep track of materials and ensure stockpiles are replenished, thereby avoiding further delays.
 
3. Team collaboration. Investors and key stakeholders can benefit from the comprehensive data that drones acquire, without the need for physical meetings or site visits. Team collaboration is further enhanced by frequent, detailed progress reports and a better quality feed in terms of 2D and 3D maps, topographic and volumetric data, and time comparisons. The reports can later be used by other collaborators, including architects and designers who can make use of the data during the later stages of construction to save time and improve efficiency.
 
On average, a 5-12% rework cost can be avoided on a project that utilises drone technology. Survey time is significantly reduced, accurate data is captured and monitored, with near real-time visibility for all involved. The site data has a multitude of applications across teams and even industries, further increasing project productivity and measurably reducing overall construction costs.

Monitor and Carry Out Inspections in High Risk Environments

Accidents are common in construction projects and the importance of running a safe construction site cannot be understated. On-site hazards and materials can be aerially identified and monitored by using drones to regularly survey the site, lowering the chance of accidents occurring. Industry reports show an increased safety as a result of implementing drones on their sites.
 

The Fear of Downscaling

“The direct costs of rework alone often tally to 5% of the total construction costs.”
Construction companies are concerned about adopting new technologies because downscaling (in a situation like COVID19) is much easier when manual labour is employed. However the cost of avoiding new technologies such as drones can be substantial. These costs emerge in the form of rework and a lack of visibility on construction site progress. In a study done measuring the impact of rework on construction cost performance, they found that: “The direct costs alone often tally to 5% of the total construction costs.”
 
Companies like FEDS which provide Drones as a Service (DaaS) directly address these concerns, as construction companies can now access third party drone services to achieve the same benefits without the risks associated with scaling. This new flexibility gives construction companies the best of both worlds, by helping them avoid rework and the costs associated, as well as enabling them to scale operations according to the market.
 

There’s No Doubt that Advanced Technology is the Way Forward

Drones, whilst cutting edge, are becoming more commonplace on construction sites as the industry catches up with their multitude of benefits and applications. The utility of drones is unparalleled not only because they can cover more area faster than the traditional method, but also because of the increased scope of visibility and enhanced remote collaboration they provide. The fear construction companies have around downscaling is now mute with the advent of DaaS providers like FEDS.
 
As a result, the use of drones in the construction industry is set to grow exponentially in the coming years, and those who fail to evolve will be left behind. The use of advanced technology is the way forward for more timely, efficient and productive projects.
 
If you are exploring the possibility of using drones in your next project, please contact us to find out how FEDS can help you. 
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