drones-for-construction

use of drones in construction

Enhance efficiency, improve safety.

Drones Can Save Tens Of Thousands Of Pounds Per Week 

Drones are becoming a staple tool on construction sites.

In fact, the fastest-growing commercial adopter of drones is the construction industry. And there's many reasons for this.

Drone data can benefit construction firms in multiple ways. It can be collected safely, quickly, and accurately to help companies keep track of their on-site progress, streamline communication and decision-making, spot for errors, build detailed maps and 3D models, and keep on-the-ground staff away from dangerous areas.  

Deploying drones for construction can save hundreds of thousands of pounds during a project life cycle and can be far more efficient than traditional methods - taking a matter of hours to collect data, instead of days, in some cases.

Simply put, drones have become a key part of a workman's toolbox.

As Richard Clement, from Komatsu, says: "Because of drones and their associated software, data can be collected from a site in half an hour, compared to three days using traditional hand-held methods. Drones enable firms to create highly accurate maps and point clouds, discover costly job-site mistakes, and predict schedule delays, saving up to tens of thousands of pounds per week .”

COST SAVINGS

Real-time drone data yielded 75% cost savings for Chasco Constructors on $29m project.
EFFICIENCY GAINS
 
"Using drones, we can take weeks out of the schedule," - Brasfield & Gorrie.
QUALITY DATA
 
One survey showed 56% of people use drones in construction for improved data quality.
REDUCED RISK
 
"Drones help with safety, taking people out of dangerous situations," - Balfour Beatty

Benefits Of Drones In Construction

Drones can be used on construction sites for a range of tasks. These include:

  • Initial Site Survey/Measurements: Evaluate large worksites and provide detailed, precise data for architects and contractors before stepping foot on site. This gives businesses the competitive edge from as early as the bidding process.  
  • Construction Mapping/Modelling: Drone data can be converted into detailed maps and 3D models to help with project tracking and accurate measuring of distances, surfaces, elevations, and volumes.  
  • Progress Monitoring: Access real-time aerial data to understand what is happening on site. This is ideal for progress tracking and spotting mistakes early before they become too costly. 
  • Inspection: Inspect roofs or building façades, and collect a wealth of information with zoom or thermal cameras. Drones remove the danger of manual data collection and are a far more efficient way of collecting this information.
  • Security/Maintenance: Drone imagery can highlight any on-site issues, such as a damaged section of perimeter fence. A drone with a thermal camera can spot issues such as an over-heating tank, which could be missed with the naked eye.
  • Access hard-to-reach areas: Drones remove the need for staff on-the-ground to clamber over potentially dangerous stockpiles, venture into hard-to-reach areas, or clamber up scaffolding. This improves job-site safety. 
"When drones were introduced, we knew right away they would be the perfect tools for our job sites. We could use drones to create orthomosaics and videos for better site planning, management, and monitoring. In large sites, we could easily identify strategic zones such as laydown areas or delivery rows. We could even capture site progress photos for project owners, speeding up the process of getting the spends approved from investors and financial institutions.”

Richard Lopez, Virtual Design and Construction Manager, Hensel Phelps.

optimise project management

Track progress and spot mistakes.

'A Drone Photo Is Potentially Worth Millions Of Dollars'

Drones provide a bird’s-eye view of a construction site, providing full-site awareness through regular shareable site maps.

As Ryan Moret, of McCarthy Building Companies, says: "Drones change the game in communication. A drone photo is worth a thousand words, and potentially millions of dollars."

Having access to overhead views of a site helps teams track site progress over time; ideal for checking timescales and making sure the project hits deadline.    

An overhead view can also be used to spot any mistakes or problems. This means that issues can be identified far quicker than relying on traditional methods and can be acted upon before it is too late - saving time and money. These images can be used in CAD overlays, putting original designs on top to spot for any errors and identify if the project is deviating from initial proposals. 

Aerial data also makes it incredibly simple to communicate across the construction site, keeping staff up to date with the current state of play, and enabling stakeholders to stay in the loop. As an added bonus, staff, decision-makers, and stakeholders can access this information remotely, without having to set foot on site.

Drone imagery reduces guesswork or misinterpretation, which can lead to costly errors. Having such a great visual representation of a site is invaluable for project management and subcontractors.

Having aerial drone footage is also essential for increasing safety, as colleagues do not need to venture onto a dangerous job site to gain an overview of the project development. 

"When you have this documented site progress, you are able to go back in time and look at what was going on at any point in time. You can say ‘why are we having this issue over here? What pipes did I lay in that trench?' That progress is locked in digitally and you can go backwards and forwards.  No longer do you have to rely on interpreting some notes on a bit of a paper - using the drone data gives you a clear and precise picture.”

Jono Millin, co-founder and CCO, DroneDeploy

enhanced efficiency

Save time and money.

Drones Can Be 8x More Efficient For Inspection

Construction projects can run over-budget and behind schedule. But drones help close that gap.

Drones are far more efficient than traditional methods - saving time, and ultimately money.

Thanks to drone technology, accurate data can be collected in a single flight, shaving many hours off manual on-the-ground methods. And in one single flight, a drone can capture a wealth of information which can be used across a job site and throughout a project life cycle.          

After all, why walk around a job site - which is time-consuming, labour-intensive, and dangerous - collecting various images or multiple data points, when a drone can do it for you in a fraction of the time, and without the added risk?

As Vaiko Veeleid, CEO of Estonian surveying company, Hades Geodeesia, says: "It doesn’t make sense to go outside and walk for four hours and get about 500 points and make calculations. Instead, I can take the drone and fly for a half an hour, process the data, and I get the same or better results than the ordinary way."

Drones can also increase efficiency when it comes to job-site inspection, capturing high-quality aerial imagery, rapidly and safely.

Building inspections often require teams to use manual, rope-access techniques which require walking across rooftops and scaffolding, which is time-consuming, costly, and dangerous.

But drones can be integrated with high-class zoom and thermal cameras which can capture accurate data in a single flight, helping to detect physical, water or electrical damage on roofs and facades. A drone's real-time video transmission also supplies this information on-demand - helping with quicker decision-making, all while staff remain safely on the ground. 

"We saw what was a two-to-three week and several tens of thousands of dollars process become a one-to-four-day process with only a couple of thousands of dollars invested in equipment and software. When you’re looking at a dramatic 75% or greater cost and time improvement, it is really powerful."

Hunter Cole, Innovation and Operational Technology, Brasfield and Gorrie General Contractors

Drones on construction sites Reduce risk

Falling from height is one of the most common causes of death. Drones can prevent this.

Construction Is A Dangerous Industry

Construction sites can be dangerous places and the risks are everywhere. 

Figures released by the HSE showed that 40 construction workers died in 2019-20 - with the fatality rate sitting around four times higher than the all-industry rate.

And the three most common causes were workers falling from height, being struck by a moving vehicle, and being hit by a moving object.

This is why drones are becoming a more and more important tool for construction. By deploying drones on a job site, staff on the ground are removed from potentially dangerous areas. The benefits of using UAS include: 

  • Staff no longer have to climb over stockpiles to collect quantities - a drone will do it for you.
  • Staff do not need to enter certain areas of a job site, risking collisions with vehicles and tackling tough and dangerous terrain - a drone will do it for you.
  • Staff do not need to work at height, climb onto scaffolding, use rope-access methods, or try to access awkward inspection locations - a drone will do it for you. 
  • Staff do not need to be placed at risk when trying to detect hazardous materials - a drone can do it for you. 
  • Staff do not need to risk being hit by falling debris - a drone will collect the data you need for you.
  • Staff do not need to access all parts of a site to lay ground collection points (GCP) for surveying - a drone with PPK/RTK capabilities dramatically reduces the number of GCPs needed. 

When safety is a top priority, using drones should be an essential component of a company's technology strategy to mitigate risk.

As the Center for Disease Control states: "Drones could help reduce construction-related injury and death from falls, toxic chemical exposures, electrical hazards, or traumatic injury from vehicle and equipment collisions.”

"If you need an asset inspection, then drones can take high-definition photos and can use zoom cameras which show you the condition of a property. This is perfect for roofs and other hard-to-access areas. We supply high-definition photographs or 4K videos of any infrastructure that needs to be checked for damage. By using a drone, you negate the need for elevated work platforms or scaffolding, reducing costs, time and most importantly, risk."

Quinton Quayle, Quayle Industries

digitise your job site 

Turn your drone mapping data into 3D models and 2D maps.

Build Detailed Plans For Actionable Insights

Drones have the distinct advantage of allowing constructors to digitise their job site, providing a range of deliverables that can be used for analysis, evaluation, and decision-making.

Due to the highly detailed and comprehensive survey data collected by drones, surveyors and CAD technicians can be sure they gather all the data in one go without having to return to the construction site to collect additional information - saving time in the process.

In just one flight, a drone can capture a multitude of accurate information, such as crisp and clear visual images, as well as geo-referenced data which can be processed through photogrammetry software. This is useful for:          

  • Building digital terrain and surface models:
  • Conducting mass, distance, and volume calculations;
  • Building information modelling (BIM) and 3D reconstructions
  • 2D maps and orthomosaics
  • CAD overlays - the process of taking a picture of the site in its current form and putting design plans on top 

 

This information provides an excellent overview of a site, as well as a good base for project management, regular coordination, and project reviews.

"The use of drones for construction mapping has a lot of advantages. Their integration changes our workflow and simplifies many operational steps. Conventional surveying methods do deliver 3D models as well, but digital terrain models created from drone data provide a higher point density, and therefore reality is portrayed in much higher detail."

Thomas Gröninger, Head of Business Unit Digital Object Survey and UAV, STRABAG.

Key Deliverables

2D Map/Orthomosaic

A drone can capture hundreds or thousands of digital photos which can be used to produce high-quality 2D orthomosaic maps.

This provides a real-world view, helping rapid decision-making and analysis of how a project is progressing.

These images can also be overlaid on projected designs and on blueprints to serve as a visual communication tool, site documentation, and spot any mistakes.

Each pixel contains 2D geo-information (X, Y) and can directly procure accurate measurements, such as horizontal distances and surfaces.

3D Reconstructions

By utilising drone imagery, construction professionals can build 3D reconstructions of a site, or certain parts of it.

3D models are ideal for job-site inspection and to visualise how buildings or structures will look in the real world. Interactive maps even allow observers to see a 360° view of these reconstructions.

3D models are valuable for visual inspection or for when external stakeholder input or public involvement is essential.

3D data also allows for the creation of Digital Surface Models (DSM), Digital Elevation Models (DEM), or Digital Terrain Models (DTM).

Volume Surveys

Drones can be used to create volumetric models, useful for stockpile measurements, for instance.

Balfour Beatty has used drones for volume calculations of stockpiles and proven how effective UAS can be for this application.

In Balfour Beatty's experience, traditional handheld methods can take a surveyor a day, but a drone can collect this data in 15 minutes and a model can be processed in two hours - resulting in huge efficiency gains.

As well as volume surveys, drone data can be used to measure distances, surfaces, and elevations.

Thermal Imaging Survey

A thermal camera survey can uncover or diagnose issues that haven't yet manifested themselves physically. 

 

Thermal cameras can identify issues such as heat loss; water leaks or moisture ingress; faults with wiring and other electrical components; faults in mechanical components, including overheating;  overall performance and leaks in underfloor heating pipes; and the success of energy efficiency improvements.

 

LiDAR Point Cloud

A LiDAR point cloud can be crucial for construction and infrastructure projects - helping to build 3D models and digital twins which are ideal for BIM applications.

These digital models can be used throughout the life cycle of a scheme, allowing teams to scan for quality assurance, cross-check models and spot errors before they become a problem, conduct stockpile volumes, and monitor the progress of a development.

Visual Imagery

Drones can be used for visual surveys. Top-quality aerial imagery is ideal for inspections, checking for defects, and tracking progress.

Using a drone to do this is more efficient, cheaper and safer than traditional methods.

Because a drone is a cheap and precise way of collecting visual data, it is possible to carry out regular visual surveys.

Drone Mapping for construction

Help capture accurate data.

How Drone Surveys Can Streamline Workflows On Job Sites

Drone mapping can play an important role on construction sites - helping to collect key data to create maps, models, and visualisations which are crucial for communication, progress tracking, and decision-making.

Surveying drone solutions can produce different degrees of accuracy, depending on the requirements of the project.

In an independent study by DroneDeploy, the DJI Phantom 4 RTK achieved 2cm relative vertical accuracy and 1.20cm relative horizontal accuracy.

An accuracy report with Heliguy client Terra Drone Europe also showed that the DJI Phantom 4 RTK can achieve 3cm-4cm accuracy without needing to lay any ground control points.

RTK Can Reduce The Need For GCPs

When it comes to mapping, accuracy is key. Traditionally, using ground control points has been a primary method to help obtain survey-grade accuracy from drone mapping.

Ground control points – or GCPs as they are known – are marked points on the ground that have a known geographic location.

For aerial survey and mapping applications, GCPs are typically required as they can enhance the positioning and accuracy of the mapping outputs. Indeed, GCPs allow the survey drone to obtain fairly accurate data.

However, taking this approach does have its downsides. This method can be laborious – as it requires laying out and precisely geolocating numerous control points - and can take a large amount of preparation. In some cases, more time is spent laying GCPs than conducting the drone mapping itself.

There is a way to minimise or eliminate the need for GCPs - that is utilising RTK and PPK correctional technologies. And drones such as the DJI Phantom 4 RTK and M210 RTK V2 benefit from this technology to help streamline drone surveying missions.

Taking this approach can eliminate, or certainly reduce, the number of GCPs which are required. RTK or PPK-enabled drone technology can save  75 per cent of time and money spent on drone-mapping set-up, it has been estimated, and can result in centre-metre-accurate data.

Indeed, German company STRABAG found that, by deploying the Phantom 4 RTK, the number of GCPs which needed to be laid per square kilometre was dramatically reduced from 40 to 5 - or zero in some cases.

"The unique selling point of the DJI Phantom 4 RTK is that it is able to record the exact set of coordinates at the moment of the image acquisition using RTK GNSS. This lowers the number of ground control points needed - reducing the amount of time needed to be on-site while maintaining the same level of accuracy."

Terra Drone Europe Phantom 4 RTK Accuracy Report

PPK V RTK - Which Is Best For Drone Mapping Missions

Drone pilots can take advantage of PPK (Post-processed Kinematic) and RTK (real-time kinematic) during surveying and mapping projects. But what is the difference?

  • RTK is a GPS correction-technology technique that provides real-time corrections to location data when the survey drone is capturing photos of a site. Real-time correction is a major industry advantage.
  • PPK is another GPS correction-technology technique that works to correct location data, except in the cloud after the drone data has been captured and uploaded.

In other words, this means that in terms of positional correcting, RTK does this during the flight, while PPK makes the changes afterwards.

RTK has many benefits, such as the pinpoint accuracy of the aircraft during flight, and accurate geotagging of the information the aircraft captures.

However, RTK requires a very specific base station and other pieces of equipment that work together in order to process data in real-time, and signals can be obstructed which results in loss of correction data. This is not an issue with PPK.

PPK also removes the requirement for GCPs saving you further time in the field.

Surveying With And Without RTK

Here is a breakdown of the advantages of utilising a drone with RTK, compared to relying on only ground control points, or flying a UAV without RTK.

Possibly the best combination is deploying a drone with RTK and a small number of strategically-positioned ground control points.

Having flown the DJI Phantom 4 RTK, Terra Drone Europe believes that in some cases, the accuracy that can be achieved without any GCPs is less than 3-4cm, but when in need of greater accuracy, then it is advisable to use a number of ground control points - but it is still a reduction compared to traditional surveying methods.

 

GCPs Alone

Drone Without RTK

Drone With RTK

RTK Drone + GCPs

Accuracy

High

Low

High

Highest

Speed

Low

High

High

Medium to High

Cost

High

Low

Low

Low

best software solutions

A guide to drone mapping software and drone fleet management platforms.

Sophisticated Packages For Mission Efficiency And Flight Automation

Drone mapping and fleet management software are essential components of any successful UAV surveying program - and HELIGUY.com™ has partnered with some of the industry's leading providers to provide surveyors with the tools to maximise their data and missions. 

Each solution has its own array of features which can benefit the end-user and HELIGUY.com™'s enterprise experts can talk you through the ideal software package and help you unlock the licence for your desired platform. 

Drone Mapping Software

DJI Terra

This software tool from DJI transforms drone data into digital 3D models and maps for easy analysis and decision-making.

Carry out real-time mapping and generate high-quality 2D and 3D reconstructions and measurements, among other things.

An Electricity License is also available, to provide new optimisations for powerline modelling, helping enterprise users create detailed 3D reconstructions of thin powerlines.

Pix4D

Pix4D has been designed to allow professionals to generate high-quality 2D and 3D data through the use of aerial imagery. 

The photogrammetry aspect of the software uses the images captured by UAVs to generate results ranging from point clouds to digital surface and terrain models, orthomosaics to textured models.

Select the perfect flight plan for your project and monitor the image acquisition in real-time.

DroneDeploy

DroneDeploy is a comprehensive mapping tool with a range of features is maximise drone surveying missions.

Automate maps and photo flights for DJI drones using DroneDeploy’s mobile app; create accurate, high-resolution maps, reports and 3D models, as well as real-time 2D live maps for immediate analysis.

Enable teams with unlimited cloud image processing and single-click collaboration, export and integration options.

Agisoft Metashape

Perform photogrammetric processing of digital images and generates 3D spatial data to be used in GIS applications.

The Standard Edition enables uses to conduct panorama stitching, 3D model generation/texturing, dense point cloud generation, and photogrammetric triangulation. 

A Professional package is also available, with extended features such as 4D modelling, access to Python script to allow for processing workflows customisation, and to export georeferenced orthomasic data.

 

Trimble VRS

Trimble VRS gives you instant access to RTK positioning services using a network of permanent, continuously operating reference stations.

Trimble VRS' reliable network ensures you have uninterrupted connectivity, so you don't have to worry about dropped signals.

Trimble VRS is easy to use (just connect, correct, and measure), enables instant initialisation (full accuracy instantly under optimal conditions), and is a high-accuracy tool (better than 2cm accuracy for jobs that require the highest level of precision positioning).

AirMap JobSight

The AirMap platform delivers a secure, reliable, and accurate digital twin of the airspace.

AirMap’s airspace automation technology delivers a common, real-time operational picture of low-altitude airspace to all stakeholders, while AirMap’s flight automation technology enables enterprise operators to integrate drones into their operations. 

Other highlights include AirMap’s dataflow engine which automates the entire life cycle of drone sensor data. 

Drone Fleet Management Platforms

Commercial Drone Operations - Simplified

DJI FlightHub: Manage your entire drone operation using DJI FlightHub, including the Enterprise edition. If you're operating multiple drones and pilots, while juggling multiple operations, DJI FlightHub will give you a live, complete picture of your entire drone program. Highlights include real-time communication with pilots during live operations; easy flight log recording and management; manage equipment, pilots and individual flights across your whole organization; and simple to use mission planning tools to increase efficiency.

DJI GS Pro: Enhance your drone operations with DJI Ground Station Pro (DJI GS Pro), an iPad app.  GS Pro allows you to conduct automated flight missions, manage flight data on the cloud, and collaborate across projects to efficiently run your drone program. GS Pro allows you to back-up flight data in the cloud; coordinate teams and designate roles for mission simplicity and clarity; and generate efficient flight paths and upload collected data into reconstruction software to generate 3D maps.

Soarizon: This integrated software package enables operators to plan, fly, analyse, and track their drone missions anywhere in the world - increasing the ease and effectiveness of commercial UAV programs.  This secure and efficient ecosystem provides operators with advanced mission planning, airspace data and 3D visualisation, risk assessment tools, NOTAMs, and mapping capabilities - all in one place.

construction drones

Best drones for construction.

Harness The Power And Versatility Of DJI Drones

As the world's leading drone manufacturer, DJI has numerous commercial drones which are ideally suited to the construction industry.

The Phantom 4 RTK, for example, is a next-generation aerial mapping tool capable of capturing survey-grade data and reducing the number of ground control points needed, helping to streamline missions. 

Other popular enterprise tools include the Matrice range of drones, including the M300 RTK, the M200 Series V2, and the M600 Pro. All of the drones in the Matrice family are rugged and heavy-duty commercial platforms which can be integrated with thermal, zoom, and visual cameras, as well as third-party sensors, such as LiDAR, oblique, or HazMat payload, to increase mission versatility and efficiency. Matrice drones such as the M300 RTK and M210 V2 RTK are RTK-enabled.            

For a lower entry-level to construction drones, the Mavic 2 Series (such as the Mavic 2 Pro, Mavic 2 Zoom, Mavic 2 Enterprise, and Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual) are lightweight and quickly deployable and are perfect for smaller budgets.     

The Phantom 4 Pro V2.0 is described by DJI as 'a complete aerial imaging solution, designed for the professional creator'. While its target audience is content creatives, the Phantom 4 Pro V2.0 could be deployed on construction sites if visual imagery is all that is required, thanks to its ability to capture 20MP stills and its mechanical shutter.

DJI drones, such as the ones listed above, have enhanced flight safety features and obstacle avoidance features to greater enhance safety while deploying in and around a construction site.

M300 RTK

  • Up to 55 minutes of flight time.
  • An IP45 weather-resistance rating.
  • Carry up to three payloads at once.
  • H20T camera, built for the M300 RTK, is a multi-sensor solution, with thermal, zoom, wide, and laser rangefinder capabilities.
  • Enhanced safety features and flight redundancy.

M210 Series V2

  • Rugged and robust with an IP43 weather-resistance rating.
  • Carry dual payloads to increase mission efficiency.
  • Compatible with a range of cameras, including third-party options.
  • 34 minute maximum flight time.
  • The M210 Series also has an RTK version available.

Mavic 2 Series

  • Mavic 2 Enterprise: 12MP camera with dynamic zoom (2x Optical 3x Digital Zoom).
  • Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual (pictured): Thermal and standard RGB sensors.
  • Mavic 2 Enterprise Series comes with three accessories, including bright spotlight and beacon.
  • Mavic 2 Pro can capture 20MP imagery, while Mavic 2 Zoom has a 4x zoom, including 2x optical zoom. 

M600 Pro

  • Heavy-lift drone, with a 6kg maximum payload capacity, ideal for industrial applications. 
  • Up to 35 minutes of flight time.
  • Lightbridge 2 HD transmission system.
  • A3 Pro Flight Controller has triple modular redundancy and diagnostic algorithms.
  • Charge six batteries simultaneously.

Phantom 4 RTK

  • Dedicated and compact low-altitude drone-mapping solution.
  • 1”CMOS sensor, capture 20MP images.
  • Achieve 1cm+1ppm RTK Horizontal Positioning Accuracy, and 1.5cm+1ppm RTK Vertical Positioning Accuracy.
  • RTK module for real-time, CM-level positioning data for absolute accuracy on image metadata.

Phantom 4 Pro V2.0

  • 1-inch CMOS sensor that can shoot 4K/60fps videos and 20MP photos.
  • OcuSync 2.0 HD transmission system ensures stable connectivity and reliability.
  • Five directions of obstacle sensing.
  • Mechanical shutter.
  • Up to 30 minutes flight time

drones on construction sites - case studies

How drones are benefiting construction.

Balfour Beatty Deploys Drones On Motorway Scheme

Balfour Beatty utilised drones - including the DJI Phantom 4 RTK - during a £212million Smart Motorway upgrade on the M6.

The international infrastructure group used UAS for quicker stockpile measurements, informative aerial progress reports, and accessing hard-to-reach areas.

Using drones helped the company enhance safety, increase efficiency, gather data faster, improve asset productivity and gain high-accuracy results.

Drones have shown their worth when it comes to measuring stockpile volumes; not only do they help with efficiency, but they also improve safety.

"The drones are a great time saver. Take the recycling compound for example. If we were to measure stockpiles with traditional survey tools, it would take a lot longer to measure the site and gather the data, whereas drones enable the team to do fairly rapid measurements of different types of materials and earthworks.”

Craig Matthews, Principal UAS Manager for Balfour Beatty

Drones = 75% Cost Savings For Chasco Constructors

Texas-based Chasco Constructors used drones to help manage the construction of a major development at the Public Safety Training Center, in Round Rock, Texas. This included a 65,000-square-foot main structure and 10 additional support buildings. 

Using drone technology, the company managed to streamline its workflow, finish the project ahead of schedule, and achieve 75% cost savings. 

Chasco Constructors used drones to:

  • Monitor the progress of the work, including monitoring subcontractors, tracking materials and equipment and measuring stockpile volumes;
  • Capture and analyse much more granular site detail than a ground-based survey team could collect;
  • Free-up the surveyors to focus more on what they do best, such as high-precision layout, bluetops and cut sheets for utilities;
  • Collect regular aerial imagery to make high-resolution maps and 3D models of the site. Not only was this good to check site progress, but this data allowed the city council of Round Rock to provide greater transparency to tax-payers on money well spent;
  • Allowed managers to keep a watchful eye on both their own work teams and subcontractors;
  • Identified a potential issue related to excavation for a roadway. This eliminated the mobilisation costs that would have otherwise been required to complete additional site work.

Drones have proved so useful to Chasco, that the company is now using them to help monitor more than 35 job sites throughout Texas.

When I put together our proposal for a drone solution I looked at how much it was costing us for certain types of surveys with traditional survey crew and then tried to calculate how much savings I could have by using a drone - and it paid for itself several times over. What would have taken surveyors about eight hours took me about two hours with the drone, because you can cover a lot of area quickly with the drone. You also have the cost savings of paying one person instead of a three-man crew.

Michael Lambert, VDC Manager, Chasco Constructors

'Drones Are Very Efficient Tools For Construction' 

STRABAG is using the DJI Phantom 4 RTK on a construction project to widen Germany’s A3 highway near the city of Würzburg.

The team has been deploying drones to efficiently survey the site - enabling them to plan and track progress accurately.

The improvements are being implemented across multiple kilometres of the highway, over complex terrain with steep slopes and numerous bends. Using drones help to reach these areas, quickly and safely.

Thomas Gröninger, at STRABAG, says: "Drones are proving to be very efficient tools in the construction industry and I am convinced that they will be integrated more and more in construction processes on the international stage."

The company has benefited from the DJI Phantom 4 RTK for numerous reasons. These include:

  • Reduction in ground control points: Previously, the team had the lengthy task of setting out up to 40 GCPs per square kilometre. Thanks to the Phantom 4 RTK, this is reduced to only 3-5 (or even zero in same cases) per square kilometre - saving at least 75% in GCP set-up time.   
  • More efficient: With a flight time of up to 30 minutes, the surveying team has used the Phantom 4 RTK  to capture a large amount of data in just one flight. The drone can also fly at a consistent height across complex terrain for repeatable results.
  • Multiple Insights: Thanks to the data collected by the drone, the team has been able to conduct volume calculations, build terrain models, and monitor project progress. It has meant that they can receive the necessary models and information according to their project requirements.
“STRABAG seeks to expand drone usage for construction projects globally. The DJI Phantom 4 RTK is an easy-to-use and versatile drone with integrated RTK network functionalities. This combination will allow STRABAG to equip more teams with drones to make construction surveying workflows quicker and more efficient The DJI Phantom 4 RTK is an essential addition to the tool box of the surveyor and will take a major role in the process of digitalising the construction industry.”

Thomas Gröninger, Head of Business Unit Digital Object Survey and UAV, STRABAG. 

HOW HELIGUY.COM™ can support your drone program

Speak to our experts.

One Stop Shop Drone Supply And Support

As one of the world's leading drone suppliers, HELIGUY.com™ has a track record of supporting major clients who are using unmanned aircraft for construction. These clients include Balfour Beatty, Costain, AECOM, and Babcock International.

We have a dedicated enterprise team, including a GIS specialist, Ben Sangster), who helps surveyors maximise their drone programs, utilise collected data and increase return on investment.

Ben provides comprehensive workflow support to our commercial clients, with a focus on spatial mapping, photogrammetry, surveying, and LiDAR, and offers specialist and dedicated advice on the best industry-hardware and software.

As a true one-stop-shop, HELIGUY.com™ can support every step of your commercial drone program, with an expert drone training team, in-house DJI™-trained technicians for repairs and custom projects, innovative finance solutions to enable successful adoption and scaling, and a range of hardware-supply options, including rental.

With warehouse facilities in Dallas, Texas, USA, and the United Kingdom, HELIGUY.com™ is able to supply drone pilots and support UAS projects around the world.

Arrange a Meeting

Arrange a Meeting with HELIGUY.com™

Book a meeting to discuss your projects requirements, schedule product demonstrations and get your questions answered.

Ben Sangster

GIS, Surveying

Matty Cairns

Public Safety, Media

Ruairi Hardman

Counter UAS, Infrastructure, Construction

Ben Shirley

OSC, Waivers, Training

Jack Bishop

Technical Support, Repairs

Ross Embleton

Custom Integration

drones for construction - what training do you need?      

Become an accredited drone pilot.

Drone training is an important aspect of a commercial drone operation.

Becoming an accredited drone pilot shows that you and your team have the skills and proficiency to operate UAS safely and effectively on your construction site. 

HELIGUY.com™'s expert training team can help commercial drone pilots obtain the necessary permissions to empower them to deploy unamnned aircraft for construction jobs. 

The type of training needed depends on whether you are wanting to conduct missions in the UK or USA.

Drone Training - UK

If you want to operate drones for construction in the UK, you will need to sit either an A2 CofC or a GVC course. 

Candidates can sit either of these courses now, online through Heliguy Blackbox. 

Up until the end of December, current holders of a PfCO can continue to operate under the terms of these standard permissions.

Drone Training - USA

In the U.S., commercial operators need to obtain a Part 107 drone license.

One of the key things is passing the FAA Part 107 Test, known as the Aeronautical Knowledge Test. Operators need to be at least 16 years old to do this.

After passing the test, commercial drone pilots need to apply for and obtain a Remote Pilot Certificate and then follow certain rules.

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs For Drones In Construction

What are the benefits of using drones for construction?

Drones have many advantages to users in the construction industry. They increase efficiency and enhance safety, all while collecting accurate data. Construction teams can use this data for a range of purposes, including project updates, spotting for errors, and streamlined communication and decision-making.

How accurate is drone mapping in construction?

Surveying drone solutions can produce different degrees of accuracy, depending on the requirements of the project. In an independent study by DroneDeploy, the DJI Phantom 4 RTK achieved 2cm relative vertical accuracy and 1.20cm relative horizontal accuracy. An accuracy report with Heliguy client Terra Drone Europe also showed that the DJI Phantom 4 RTK can achieve 3cm-4cm accuracies without needing to lay any ground control points.

What is the best drone for construction?

This depends on your requirements, but DJI has a comprehensive selection to choose from. The DJI Phantom 4 RTK is a compact and complete low-altitude mapping solution, while drones in the Matrice range offer a rugged and versatile solution, giving operators the choice to integrate different payloads, including zoom and thermal cameras. For a more lightweight solution, drones in the Mavic 2 Series provide a range of options. 

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