How to Use Drones in Construction

How to Use Drones in Construction

Construction Management - Benefits from Using Drones

Construction management using drones for 3D modelling, digital elevation modelling, orthomosaics, and project monitoring are now readily accessible to construction professionals who want to work smarter. The integration of 3D construction site models into various building information management (BIM) software suites like Autodesk Revit and Navisworks can act as a second set of eyes for clash detection/plan to actual verification. This is just one benefit of drones used in construction.

drones in constructionAlso, regular project tracking via drone imagery combined with visual design and construction methodologies adds great value to project quality control. The more information you have to make decisions, the better those decisions will be, and better decisions mean lower project costs and on-schedule delivery.

Also, documented visual records offer a burden of proof for construction managers in settling disputes related to delays, change orders, reworking, etc.

It’s all about data!  For example, 3D construction site models represent a snapshot in time allowing project managers a new perspective but also the option to integrate this data into existing software to iterate design plan changes in real-time. It’s possible to track project changes and more easily and predict design change outcomes that can prevent costly oversights.

Construction management using drones offers a significant advantage and brings an aerial perspective into site inspection, design and the planning phase of project implementation.

Using drones for construction site work saves time and money by providing project managers with another tool to make credible, timely decisions. Drones can be used to speed up surveying tasks, earthworks, cut and fill analysis, elevation profiles, sections and so much more. The exports from modern drone programs mesh seamlessly with AutoCAD Civil 3D.

Recon Aerial’s drone-based planning/development workflow includes autonomous drone flights > AutoCAD exports > GIS planning/development deliverable and we include the AutoCAD project files for further qualification by our client’s engineering team. Typically we provide drone flights and initial exports within 2-5 days depending on the complexity of the construction project.

drone construction workflow diagram

Creating 3D Models - Using Drones in Construction

How does it work? In this case, the bridge and surround scene is an interpolation from 1189 images aligned into a 3D .obj file and texturized. The models shown here are VERY low-resolution disseminated versions of the originals.

In general terms, this is dynamic imaging data that can be manipulated to view construction sites, bridges, buildings or any scene/area of interest from any angle, but it's more.

The geo-referenced 3D tie points (sparse scene structure point cloud data) can be integrated as .obj/mtl files into programs like Autodesk Recap, Revit, Navisworks, Infraworks, and others allows for advanced manipulation, measurement, inspection, confirmation, collaboration, planning, and design.

3D Modeling in Construction for
Preconstruction Planning

Modeling existing structures using aerial imagery and drones offers construction companies advantages and can accelerate project planning.

Integrating point clouds and aerial imagery into Autodesk, Navisworks, for example, allows a holistic review integrated models and data with stakeholders during preconstruction to better manage project outcomes.

The ability to assess existing conditions and scope projects correctly through the use of sophisticated model integration levels expectations among stakeholders, allow project managers to better assess cost and potential impedances and provides for a more accurate better time to completion estimates.

Marketing for Growth & Position
in Construction

Why use video to market yourself within the construction industry? Because few are doing this and you will set yourself apart, better secure your position and grow! Local construction industries are tight-knit communities, expertise is often held by relatively few individuals or companies and in this way work often finds you. This is great when things are hopping, but what happens when things slow down?

Marketing is not about getting the next job it’s about growth and position. When things slow down and market share is restricted having an established presence can keep you near the top of the people’s minds for upcoming work.

Great aerial imaging using drone media in construction is only part of the solution but it’s a highly effective way to make your presence known and to keep your name front and center with your clients.

drone project monitoring in construction

Images sell. Your marketing efforts will improve immensely when you add aerial photos to your website, social media accounts and brochures. Perhaps the most important is to show weekly or monthly progress updates to owners. Owners are normally very impressed by images based updates since they can see first hand what’s going. Aerial images make it easier to collaborate with all stakeholders and tackle specific issues because it’s easy to see what’s happening in an image or video without being on-site.

We have barely scratched the surface of what is possible using drones in construction, so please get in touch with us we would love to hear your ideas and work with you to innovate! Costs are exceptionally reasonable, please get in touch for a quote, normally we can provide this and answer all questions over the phone in just a few minutes.