When it comes to jobsite tech, one of the most promising innovations may be over our heads. In recent years, unmanned aerial drones (UAVs) have become increasingly common on construction sites of every type, giving rise to faster, more accurate, and efficient projects.
“Drones aren’t science fiction anymore,” says Marco Ferrazzo, Manager with Artistic Skylights. “Even in our field, drones have unlocked advantages that we didn’t have access to ten years ago.”
As their name suggests, UAVs are aerial vehicles that can fly by themselves via sophisticated artificial intelligence (AI), or more commonly be controlled remotely by a human on the ground. Over the years, they have been adopted across numerous industries for numerous purposes, and have become popular among hobbyists.
What do unmanned aerial drones bring to construction? Here are some examples:
- Aerial imaging: Most drones are equipped with high-definition cameras that can capture aerial images and/or videos and either record them for future viewing or stream them live to nearby devices. This gives project stakeholders a “birds-eye” view of their site, and greatly assists with taking measurements, topographical mapping, assessing project risks, and other surveying functions.
- Security: UAVs can be coded to scout jobsites autonomously. As such, they can patrol after hours for thieves and trespassers, monitor onsite traffic, or keep an eye out for suspicious activity during work hours.
- Health and safety: Drones can actively monitor sites for health and safety risks, as well as ensure tasks are being performed in accordance to company protocols and industry regulations. The intent is not to create a “Big Brother” environment, but to help supervisors spot and correct unsafe activities before they result in accidents.
- Social media: With the introduction of more affordable drone equipment and the increase in online social media marketing, it has become remarkably easy to showcase your work in ways never once attainable by small to medium sized endeavours. Industries such as roofing, landscaping, real estate, and quite frankly any exterior related work is now revealing their product and services to the world in a fashion that really provides the whole picture feel to potential customers.
- Client communication: Just as drone footage can provide real-time visibility for construction crews, images and videos from drones can also be shared with project owners and stakeholders to keep them in the loop.
Whether scouting the site or showcasing your newest project, UAVs are fast proving their value on the job. And with the cost of ownership outweighed by the long-term return on investment, many crews are adding UAVs to the team.
Marco Ferrazzo is a manager with Artistic Skylights.