Though once viewed by many as a consumer novelty, drones have become an increasingly promising technology with widespread applications. The construction industry, for example, has seen a 239% increase in drone use year over year – the most of any other commercial sector.
The reasons for the rise of drones in construction is clear. Their large-scale aerial vantage point and ability to survey sites while collecting lots of data make them valuable tools that offer many benefits.
Today, drones have revolutionized how developers track the lifecycle of construction projects. And the same imagery and videos used to scope projects, track progress, and provide real-time updates can also help improve safety on work sites, according to a recent article from For Construction Pros. How? Here are a few ways:
- Remote Site Inspections. Site inspections typically require surveyors to physically walk around construction sites, which can be a difficult, dangerous, and time-consuming task, especially for large or unusually situated projects. By using drones, surveyors can obtain real-time images of a worksite faster and without the need to walk an entire area. This can substantially decrease risks to surveyors posed by dangerous conditions and heavy equipment in use, and help them more easily locate major hazards like cranes and heavy machinery to reduce risks to workers.
- Tracking Site Progress. Drone technology is particularly promising when it comes to monitoring work progress. Not only do drones relieve managers from having to physically monitor sites, they can also provide highly detailed imagery and real-time videos that can be used to generate 3D models of sites. This information can be evaluated in comparison to initial plans and tracked across specific dates to help projects stay on schedule and to identify any deviations that may pose dangers, including those involving materials, supply loads, and commercial vehicles.
- Inspections & Repairs. Drones can be used to perform proactive investigations and identify potential problems or repairs that inspectors may not always be able to identify from the ground. For example, concrete contractors use drones to inspect roads, bridges, and other large infrastructure for signs of cracks and deterioration, which takes far less time and man-power than manual inspections and allows for needed repairs to be promptly performed.
- Theft Deterrence. Theft on construction sites adds up to more than $1 billion in losses every year. Through the use of drone surveillance, contractors can effectively monitor materials and equipment 24/7 and in areas where traditional security cameras can’t access. Drones can also be equipped with motion sensors, night vision, and other technology to deter theft, prevent tampering, and keep sites safe for workers.
- Material Monitoring. Drones are also great for monitoring materials and calculating stockpile volumes and assets. Some drones and corresponding software can generate 3-D images of materials and automatically determine when it’s time to re-order materials. This not only eliminates the need to send workers out to manually measure materials, which can be dangerous but also helps projects stay on track by ensuring materials are consumed at the right pace.
As a firm that’s fought for construction accident victims since 1983, The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C., has seen many changes and advancements in the construction industry – not all of which have been good or successful in creating safer worksites. But given promising findings from contractors who’ve implemented drone technology on their projects, we look forward to following the use of drones on construction sites and how they can be safely implemented to reduce injury risks.