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The Use of Drones on Commercial Construction Projects

A drone monitors a construction site

Construction & Mining

The Use of Drones on Commercial Construction Projects

Nowadays, there are many complex construction projects which undergo a lot of phases during their project management, job site operations as well as the actual phase of construction. And while there are many traditional ways to observe these processes, companies must adapt to new and improved approaches that will expedite their project delivery and keep their projects above the needed standards.

Along with this, the entire construction industry is aiming at a higher level. Skyscrapers are expected to be taller and buildings are expected to be greener and more efficient. In cases like these, the need for unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) surveillance is more than just needed. In fact, the use of drone technology on commercial construction projects goes in line with the needs and requirements of this industry.

Drone Technology and Construction: The Missing Link

In a paper, an author and student at the California Polytechnic State University named Andrew Lin explores the possibilities of this technology – and its potential use in construction projects.

As the author notes, the nature of the construction industry and its mean and methods have not see much change or development compared to other industries (such as medicine and manufacturing) and many construction processes require manpower and workers getting on their hands and knees to accomplish.

Luckily, there are still aspects in construction in which technology can marginally replace human labor through mechanization. In this manner, many construction processes require projects involving manpower and workers getting on their hands and needs to accomplish.

The use of drone technology can drastically improve the mechanization, since there are many aspects in construction in which (this) technology can marginally replace the human labor while increasing the productivity and safety.

Percentage of professional usage in various industries (Patterson, 2016)

Percentage of professional usage in various industries (Patterson, 2016)

The Impact of Drone Technology on Construction Projects

In the following sections, the author of this paper focuses on the impact on drone technology, evaluating the history of documentation of construction projects – especially at the time during which it was virtually impossible.

– Aerial view of construction site taken by drone

– Aerial view of construction site taken by drone

According to the author, digital photography was the first step in this transformation, where builders were able to quickly document the progress on a project and convey to the owner what was being completed on a daily basis.

In his own words, Lin explains:

“One of the most prominent applications of drones in construction has been site surveillance, which includes tasks ranging from aerial photography to inspections and tracking (Higgins, 2017). Due to its small size and maneuverability, drones are able to quickly fly to a distant location which would typically take a person much longer to do. In addition, drones take away the safety risk of sending a person into a hazardous location. Rather than having a person climb up several stories to make an inspection, a drone can be flown to that location and send back footage and photographs of the desired inspection location. This process saves precious time and also provides builders with the critical information they are looking for without putting somebody’s safety at risk.”

A Methodology Based on Points and Backed up with an Interview

Throughout the paper, Lin proposes a specific methodology which focuses on presenting an overall understanding of the drone technology, conveying specific uses of it in commercial construction companies, analyzing their benefits and exploring the room for improvement of drone technology. As a final point, he also mentions the importance of feasibility of setting industry setting standard of drone usage in commercial construction projects in the future.

Lin also uses information from case studies and an interview with Jeff Hadley of Robbins/Reed, a construction company owner which discussed the potential benefits of drones with him.

From the findings, it is easy to see that both the interviewer and the speaker are geared towards adoption of drone technology in construction, especially the latter, who already implemented a form of this technology in their business.

Analyzing the Final Data

In the end of the paper, the author analyzes the positive aspects of drones in construction, as well as the negative ones and the room for improvement. To conclude things, Lin is stating that “as human society continues to evolve and develop, our technology advances along with us” which is why drones are the next step that is more than needed in the construction industry.

Citation: Lin, Andrew. (2018). Use of Drone Technology on Commercial Construction Projects. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/328495573_Use_of_Drone_Technology_on_Commercial_Construction_Projects

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