Can the Use of Drones Result in Cost Savings for Your Construction Company?


By Mark DiPietrantonio

Studies focusing on construction efficiency have documented 25% to 50% waste in coordinating labor and managing, moving, and installing materials (Tulacz and Armistead, 2007).  In addition, in 2007 the Federal Facilities Council (FFC) estimated that $4 billion to $12 billion of transactional costs are incurred each year to resolve disputes and claims associated with construction projects.

Given the amount of money at stake, it’s apparent why the construction industry is investing in technology to curb costs and improve construction techniques.  In fact, the construction industry has emerged as a key driver of the commercial drone industry, which some analysts believe could exceed $5 billion by 2020.

For builders, the case for this new technology is straightforward.  Drones are cheaper to fly than manned aircraft and faster than human surveyors.  In addition, they collect data far more frequently, letting construction workers track a site’s progress with far greater accuracy.

With the correct software, builders can turn sensor data into 3D structural models, topographical maps and volumetric measurements (useful for monitoring stockpiles of costly resources like sand and gravel). Collectively, that intelligence allows construction companies to more efficiently deploy resources around a job site, minimize potential issues, trim costs and limit delays.

Manufacturers claim that their drones can fly a 150-acre site in less than 30 minutes and measure any distance or volume in less than 1 minute.  Given this efficiency, drones can provide contractors with the most up-to-date reporting so that site progress is more efficiently tracked, resources managed, downtime reduced, and projects are more often kept on schedule and under budget.

If you have any questions relative to the use of technology in the construction industry, do not hesitate to contact a member of the Schneider Downs Construction Industry Group or read similar articles on the Our Thoughts On blog.

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