14 Jun 6 Ways Construction Companies are Using Drone Mapping
It’s frustrating when things don’t go according to plan during a construction project. However, with the growing presence of drones in construction, more and more construction folks are discovering how drone mapping helps ensure projects do go according to plan.
Whether you’re not meeting deadlines, running over budget, or unsure of what truly is happening on the job site, these roadblocks can put you in the hot seat.
Typically, traditional job site mapping methods have lead you down a path of an accepted level of uncertainty and guesswork.
However, with the growing presence of drones in construction, more and more folks are discovering how drone mapping helps project managers, and others alike, lead with confidence and ensure projects do go according to plan.
We confirmed this earlier in the year by attending ConExpo.
Understanding the concept of drones in construction regardless of your acquaintance with the product is a lot to digest. For construction companies, it can do a great deal of things when leveraged to its fullest potential.
Despite your current relationship with a commercial drone and even if it’s being included in your everyday operation, this post is to help you grasp everything it can do behind the scenes.
From being able to obtain super accurate data to weekly project visibility, drone mapping has certainly made a name for itself in the scheme of productivity.
Here are the six ways construction companies are using drone mapping to its fullest potential to optimize construction and/or excavation projects.
Identifying Problems in Real-Time
Job sites are continuously changing, and getting updates on those changes can take weeks using traditional methods since they are slow and costly.
In addition, data analysis is a timely effort.
These individual parts to the process, data gathering, and data analysis, slowly move the process, so when everything’s said and done, old data is what you’re working with.
This can steer you in the wrong direction when making decisions.
Drone mapping provides you the ability to obtain data and information about the job site as you please. Most drone mapping solutions allow you to perform an aerial survey and have the data processed in 12 hours or less.
Whenever a project faces uncertainty, drone mapping gives you the flexibility to cut time gathering data without sacrificing accuracy to make well-informed decisions for the betterment of your team and the project.
Being able to conduct flyovers on the fly is truly a great thing, you’re always identifying potential problems or hazards before they come to fruition, which is a key component to staying on schedule.
Keeping Projects on Schedule
In the construction and excavation business, schedules are everything. Running late is something all construction companies want to avoid at all costs.
It’s a given for any construction company that to ensure trust on the customer’s side and anyone else involved in the project, being on time is super important.
So, let’s break it down a little more.
Renting a single piece of equipment can cost up to $15,000 a day, not including personnel to operate it. So any additional days added to the schedule not set in the budget can make a big dent, not to mention the added fees/penalties for finishing late.
In the scenario above, neither you nor the customer wins.
Fortunately, with the accessibility of a commercial drone, you’re able to stick to a schedule. Initial project planning will become very accurate and invoicing will be appropriate based on resources used to date.
This works out because you’re able to check in to the job site at your convenience with drone mapping.
The trust will be upheld between all parties because the power is yours to decide how frequently you’d like to conduct surveys (aka conducting flights), which makes for smart and insightful decision making.
Additionally, coordinating with subcontractors is simply done because of the solid understanding you’ll have of what’s happening on the job site.
Earthwork Progress Tracking
Understanding why you’re making certain amount headway, and moving a certain amount of earth is important so you know why the status of the project is the status of the project.
This type of project comprehension given by the hardware surveying drone goes beyond simple flights and site renders, because it is able to provide that additional intelligence about vehicular productivity, pinpoint possible bottlenecks, etc.
So, when conducting a regular flight you’ll be able to see where the bottlenecks are and learn why the project may not be on track.
This ability also allows you to get your ducks in a row when it comes to payments, because you’ll know the exact amount of earth being moved to make precise cost per cubic yard calculations. Proving ‘why’ you paid x amount of dollars will also be easily understood, because the confirmation is there from the drone.
Improving Accuracy of Bids
The bidding competition for a construction project is always stiff.
The main goal when placing a bid is optimizing for the best project performance price, that ensures a profit by the end. You never want to overshoot — leading to work that isn’t profitable — or underestimate — leading to a missed opportunity.
In order to ensure the bid is just right, surveying the land you’re working with and processing that data to create an informed decision is a must.
Drones in construction allows for this task to be convenient and fast. The drone is able to map and process data to catch mistakes and keep you in the know about which obstacles you may face during the job.
The procedure of mapping to processing to analyzing can be completed quickly because the quickness of a drone mapping solution.
As a result, this speededness leads to lower costs, and lower costs lead greater profit margins.
It all boils down to doing more with less. Higher profit margins allow you to place and win more contracts and let the glorious cycle of profitable work continue!
Analysis Across Mixed Systems
Integrating a new idea or system into your current operation can cause uncertainty. Thankfully, the data you receive from the drone can be exported into any desired file format.
For example, 3D meshes or contour lines can be converted into other standard mapping formats such as .dxf, .fbx, .ply, .zip, .pdf, .prg, .shp, .shx.
In addition to being able to work with all file types across many devices, you’re also able to integrate old and new data across coordinate systems in order to track job site progress.
Who knew topography analysis could be so simple?
Safety on the Job Site
Most importantly, drones in construction offer a safer job site experience for not only the land surveyor but for all boots on the site.
Performing construction inspections with a drone exempts them from compromising situations they would otherwise be in — like working on unstable surfaces, any construction hazards, etc.
It’s important to understand that drone mapping isn’t taking ‘the job’ of the land surveyor or other individuals on the site, the device just helps them out with speed, accuracy, and of course safety.
In reality, drone mapping and land surveyors make quite the pair.
Lives are always at stake when on the job site, so at the very least the drone ensures a safer environment and protects against potential injuries or fatalities, which is always the most important thing.
The Case for Drones in Construction
From understanding why project bottlenecks are occurring to being able to see those bottlenecks, and detecting before they happen — drone mapping provides the insight traditional methods either simply can’t do or in a much more efficient manner to construction and excavation companies.
Payments, bids, and calculations are also made easier and everyone is staying safe.
To say drone mapping is ‘useful’ to construction is definitely an understatement. The conventional practice is being revolutionized by the drone and as time goes on, we will only see greater things to strengthen the full operation.
Can’t wait to see what that future holds!
Related Content: The Earthmover’s Guide to Saving Time & Money with Drone Mapping