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7 main benefits of drones in the AEC sector

7 main benefits of using drones in construction

The benefits of using drones in construction are numerous. Discover now them in this article

Technology plays an increasingly central role not just in everyday activities but also in the construction sector. To be precise, the application of advanced methodologies and tools in the AEC sector, such as Building information modeling and 3D/BIM building design software, perfectly matches with the use of cutting-edge technologies such as drones.

Their use is one of the most recent techniques in the AEC sector which brings many benefits, both to the team and to the final project. In this article, we will analyze together the advantages that drones bring to the construction sector and why it is worth investing in them.

What are the benefits of using drones in construction?

We have seen how drones in construction find various uses and applications and how the future designs an increasing spread of these devices on construction sites. This depends on the wide range of benefits linked to their use.

So let’s see together the 7 main benefits of introducing drones into a construction workflow:

  1. Rapid data acquisition:
    one of the preliminary operations before the start of any construction site and even before design phase begins, is a mapping and examination of the intervention area. Topographical data help at every stage of the construction process. However, traditional methods of data acquisition with the use of land-based machinery imply time-consuming processes which may not be as safe as expected. The use of drones in this phase would mean overcoming all these drawbacks. The topographical mapping made by drones is much faster and does not compromise data integrity.
  2. Less risks for workers:
    in construction sites, it is pretty common to find potentially hazardous areas and situations; if it is possible to prevent workers from having to access them, why not do so? Drones are the right alternative. Their use is a safer and more efficient option for survey and maintenance operations, in which the worker maneuvers the device from a safe place without having to personally access risk areas.
  3. Work Monitoring:
    thanks to the flexible use of drones, it is also possible to monitor the progress of work on site even with very low frequencies,depending on the needs of the workflow. The data acquired can be used to check whether the actual work progress times are following the project Gantt timeline. This very same data can then be shared among the professionals involved in the project, so that communication and collaboration within the team is always guaranteed.
  4. Surveys:
    carrying out surveys by using drones is safer because it also allows access hard to reach places of the site. The drones are equipped with professional cameras capable of capturing high-resolution images and with zoom technology to analyze the acquired images and identify early any problems to be solved.
  5. Security and surveillance:
    using drones to monitor a construction site and its personnel is a relatively new way to improve safety and security. In this sense, drones with infrared cameras are particularly useful because they can detect unusual traces of heat and thus prevent fire from spreading, while drones with high resolution cameras and zoom technology allow you to identify unauthorized personnel on site. This type of drone use is relatively recent and  sees a limit in the battery life that needs some improvement, especially  if you use them on a consistent basis.
  6. Cost savings and improved ROI (Return on Investment):
    it is probably still an expensive step for some companies to invest in this type of technology, but it must be said that in the face of a relatively high initial investment there will be long-term benefits on the so-called ROI – Return On Investment, which far exceed the initial costs. In fact, many of the tasks that can be carried out by drone, require much more time if carried out with land-based technologies and tools and this results in economic loss for the company.
  7. Marketing:
    aerial images and videos captured by drones have a very strong visual and thus advertising impact. Companies can use this material both to share it with their customers and to advertise their business.
The 7 benefits of using drones in the AEC sector

The 7 benefits of using drones in the AEC sector

How do drones return captured data?

To have as complete a view as possible on the world of drones and their use in the construction sector, we cannot but mention the outputs provided by drones, that is how drones return the data they have acquired during the flight.

  • Orthophoto and Orthomosaic: the images provided by drones can be processed at the computer, correcting the distortion and combining them so as to create accurate orthomosaic maps. Each pixel contains 2D geographic information (X, Y) and accurate measurements can be made from the images obtained.
  • Point cloud: In addition to 2D images, drones can also return point clouds where each point contains geospatial (X, Y, Z coordinates) and color information. The point cloud allows you to reconstruct advanced 3D or even BIM models, thanks to a point cloud to bim software.
  • Digital surface models (DSMs) and digital terrain models (DTMs): in DSM and DTM models each pixel contains 2D information (X, Y) and the altitude (Z value) of the highest point for that position. These models can be used, for example, to determine which part of the site could be flooded in the event of water accumulation.
  • Raw images: raw images ,as not yet processed, are very close to reality and offer a very high level of detail that can be useful for site inspections and analysis.

As a conclusion, it seems that the road to follow is quite clear: innovating from the point of view of methodologies and instruments is a necessary step if we want to remain competitive in the world of design. The use of drones, combined with BIM, is certainly one of the necessary updates.

That’s why we recommend that you try the free 3D/BIM building design software. It allows you to transform the point cloud obtained from drone surveys into a BIM model with just a few clicks! This will reduce BIM modeling times dramatically!