There are many ways to achieve construction job savings via the use of a drone on a construction site. From a survey to a virtual tour, the possibilities are only limited by the imagination. However, there are other limitations, including technical issues for some applications and even new regulations about drones.
In any case, there are people developing analytics software and improvements on regular drones to take advantage of the most recent advances at the construction site. Here are the construction job savings so far, which are expected continued grow with technology advancements.
Survey Construction Job Savings
There are clear and visible construction job savings while performing the site survey at the construction site. A 22% direct reduction to the costs is straightforward, but there are more benefits to it than just a cost reduction. The site survey is done 12 times faster than it was before. With the increased efficiency, it is possible to increase the frequency and therefore prevent and assess the construction site better than before.
Another example is the survey performed for a new hospital in Apopka, Florida. They used commercial drones to take pictures of the 61 acres around the proposed hospital build site. The examination resulted in around a thousand shots, which were then input to ensure the design would fit the actual conditions of the land. This documentation saved valuable time with much more information gathered in the same amount of time than with the traditional methods. The additional information also improves the design verification by overlaying CAD drawings as the project progresses.
Thus this will lead to a more accurate design and overall project build, reducing uncertainty which can overflow any budget and timeline. But Furthermore, the construction job savings summed 65% of the budget for other similar surveys.
Studying the construction site was done before with employees walking around the area. Such practices posed a security risk, which was avoided with drones surveying the site. The evidence was harder to process, and the analysis took much more time. Drones are always recording evidence, and that can be handled easier and referred to any a future date.
More improvements are expected soon, particularly in the video analytics area, in which plug-ins are developed to compare real progress with the construction plans.
It is estimated an average construction job savings of 15% wastage on materials due to wrong deliveries based on the inaccurate material inventories. Purchase and synchronization to the real progress at the construction site are not accurate due to lack of coordination. Drones can fill the gap by improving supervision and therefore reducing the 15% gap. In the United States alone, that means $160 billion in construction job savings.
That was just the general approach. A real life example was the tactic used by Whitaker Contracting1, who used drones to picture the stockpile at the construction sites. They inspected stockpiles faster, which quickly lead to a correct second order. After the job was over, they calculated a 22% reduction in costs due to the digital measurements of stockpiles. That is just an example of how prominent a well-applied drone technique can help to improve costs.
Video analytics currently developed are becoming more accurate every day to calculate material volumes. That can lead to precision to go even further plus increased construction job savings.
Saving Lives at the Construction Site
One of the priceless advantages of using drones is the possibility to save lives at the construction site. Safety is achieved in 2 ways: with less staff onsite, eliminating potential risks to their lives, and with security inspections.
The less staff whom come for tours and observe virtually have a higher chance of not getting injured. Visitors to the construction site are usually not aware of the risks of development. Although they have protective equipment, they are not fully trained, and many accidents come from their ignorance and neglect. Besides, some other activities like surveys and security assessments are done by drones instead of humans, reducing the head count at risk in the middle of the construction project.
Drones are also used to perform various safety inspections. First of all, they are much more efficient than any human playing the same sort of control by foot. Drones also pose the ability to reach places where people cannot easily go. They can travel a harsh environment and even uneven ground with dangerous equipment around. It is easier to report irregularities quickly, therefore making the construction site a more secure place.
Benefits are tied to Real Time Information
Some contractors think drones are not yet helping make their job easier. However, that is because they are not getting real time information. At some construction sites, they would hire a third party contractor to take aerial photos via airplanes or helicopters. It took too long to deliver, and by the time they received the pictures, they just served to feed the historical record of the construction site.
The new approach is to have a drone on site. That gives supervisors a better view of the site, observing and correcting problems in hours vs. weeks or months. The availability of a drone lets builders use it extensively and take advantage of everything a drone has to offer, saving materials, time and improving safety, all huge construction job savings.
There are plenty of saving opportunities in the construction field. It is one of the industries with the most waste, and there is the chance to save money in many ways. From wasted materials to improved quality and inspections, drones will continue to reduce costs and increase efficiency at the construction sites.
1. Kespry drones transforms worker life at Whitaker Contracting