A few weeks ago, in my last blog on 'the future of construction series,' I looked at the ways in which technology has improved safety in construction, including how drones are increasingly playing an important role on some building sites, monitoring workers to ensure everyone is working safely and not behaving in ways prejudicial to safe working practice (i.e. not messing about!). In addition, they are being used for everything from site surveying to inspecting structures to the creation of spectacular promotional videos.
Clearly, one of the advantages of drones is the way they can quickly inspect a site and identify potential hazards. They are also used to photograph the progress of day-to-day work.
More specifically, drones can be fitted with 3D lasers, which are very accurate and also remove the need for a human being to climb half-finished buildings to take measurements. Obviously, any such monitoring work can be done far more quickly by a drone than a human.
When fitted with inspection software, drones can identify potential dangers and hazards. They can also be used for site security, scanning the ground and buildings for anyone who should not be there, thus helping to reduce theft and vandalism.
Other mounted technology can be used to send 3D construction site models to unmanned machinery to plot their courses, to provide progress reports and updates on any planning changes required. In particular, drones can help survey large sites, using cameras and thermal imaging or light detection, thus reducing surveying times.
Perhaps the biggest advantage of drones is that they can be almost everywhere and anywhere. It’s not just about reducing theft and making workers safer; drones can provide a round-the-clock, real-time monitoring system that seriously improves onsite security and safety.
Finally, when people think of drones there is always the thought that they are potentially dangerous, especially near airfields (Gatwick comes to mind for some reason). Drones used by construction companies are small, light and only fly at low altitudes over short distances. Consequently, they can be safely flown on virtually any construction site. If you haven’t yet seen one buzzing around your site, then it’s highly likely you will in the next few years.
Chris Peace, MD, Peace Recruitment