The construction industry has not been the same since the introduction of drones. The presence of drones has led to considerable and lasting changes in the operations of the construction industry. This article highlights the most prominent ways drones have changed the industry and the effects of these changes on the present and the future.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are increasingly becoming better alternatives to traditional land-surveillance methods. Stakeholders in the construction industry now prefer to refer to the classic “bird’s-eye view” as “drone’s-eye-view” due to the growing acceptance of these machines. Drones are more efficient machines – they minimize labour and speeds things up while delivering consistent and accurate surveys. Asides from preventing the possible human errors associated with surveys, drones also capture the required data faster compared to other traditional capturing techniques.
The superior endurance and intelligence of drones on job sites have been repeatedly proven. These clever machines can collect and report data, speeding things up for everyone. Consequently, there is hardly a need for manual labour. Drones are expected to handle even more important tasks that are part of large projects in the coming years. At the current rates, drones might just be strategically drafted into skyscraper constructions to reduce time and cut costs. Contractors who use drones for their tasks will be better positioned to make ambitious bids and get the job done more quickly.
Management and Communication
Despite having one of the most advanced technologies in the world, there appears not to be an end in sight for the evolution of drone technologies. The current drone technologies make connectivity and communication on the job as seamless as possible. Hence, the machines are used as an avenue to ensure constant contact at worksites. There are drones with mounted cameras, capable of delivering real-time footage for communication and surveillance purposes. Such capabilities make it easier for companies to monitor employees and workers. It also means investors and supervisors are better positioned to see what is happening. Drones provide real-time data faster than other alternatives, making it possible to manage workflow for 24 hours within a day. All of these have had considerable positive impacts on all types of construction processes.
Drones have helped to increase the overall security efficiency. These machines are used in maintaining a safe space for employees, protecting the job site from external elements, and in performing other security routines. These capabilities have contributed to the increasing implementation of drones as a security apparatus in the construction industry.
Real-time and Accurate Surveillance
The mobility of drones is an excellent and useful feature for surveillance. These machines can be everywhere at the same time. Hence, they come in handy as an excellent real-time and always-on monitoring system. Several construction companies currently rely on drones to minimize theft, protect their workers, and improve onsite security and safety. Although the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) expects owners of drones to register their machines, it does not apply to drones that fall under the ‘Open Category,’ i.e., surveillance drones that weigh less than 25g and fly below the 400 ft threshold. If a company has to use a drone that weighs more or has to fly higher, then the approval of the CAA must be secured. Since surveillance drones fall under the Open Category, they can be used anywhere or for any reason whatsoever, including safely surveying dangerous locations, minimizing workplace hazards, and making the job site safer. However, pilots must ensure general safety measures while using their drones for surveillance.
Inspection and Transportation
Worksites that use drones for job site inspection report fewer dangers and safety issues compared to worksites that rely on traditional inspection methods. Drones are also better transporters of goods aerially, which makes it possible to execute challenging inspections and monitor the entry and exit of materials in and out of the job site. This system of inspection is cheaper, faster, and more efficient. The small sizes and advanced manoeuvrability of these machines make them better options than traditional vehicles. Another point worthy of note is that drones are beyond traffic laws, allowing them to execute deliveries way faster while using a fraction of the resources.
Our discussion so far has shown that drones have had significant effects on the construction industry. With more durable and sophisticated models coming out, it remains to be seen how much more tremendous and positive changes these sizable machines can bring to the construction industry.
Article by Howarth Litchfield Architects North East UK