The Benefits of Drone Surveying for Construction

The Benefits of Drone Surveying for Construction

March 27, 2024
The Benefits of Drone Surveying for Construction

Increasing technological innovation along with the need for rapid urban planning and development has resulted in a sharp rise in survey drones. In 2023, the global drone surveying market was valued at $1.38 billion. By 2033, that number is predicted to grow to $8.06 billion, with a 19.3% compound annual growth rate between 2023 and 2033. 

In particular, the construction industry is using survey drones — a practice that offers immense benefits.  

What Types of Drones Are Used in Construction Site Surveys? 

There are three types of drones commonly used in construction surveying:

Multirotor drones are commonly used for capturing detailed imagery and high-resolution videos. Fixed-wing drones are well-suited for long-range flights when large areas need to be covered. VTOL drones offer the versatility of multirotor drones and the endurance of fixed-wing drones, making them ideal for complex surveying scenarios. 

What Are the Benefits of Survey Drones in Construction? 

Survey drones have had a tremendous impact on construction sites. In the past, crews were largely reliant upon manual surveying, which was costly, labor-intensive, and error-prone. When mistakes were made, a crew would often have to redo the survey, which put a further strain on resources. 

Drone surveying for construction, however, offers a variety of benefits for project planning, making it an appealing option for many industries. Some examples include real estate development, residential construction, commercial construction, and civil engineering. Here are five of the most notable benefits. 

Cost Reduction

Manual surveying for construction comes with several costs, including:

These are known as hard costs because they are concrete and measurable. Besides that, there are also soft costs, which are indirect and non-physical and can include:

Although it still costs money to operate survey drones, you can expect to pay significantly less because you reduce your need for manpower, travel expenses, equipment, and more. And because surveying drones work faster than manual surveying teams, you can cover more ground and complete a job quicker for additional savings without compromising the accuracy of a survey. The larger the land area being surveyed, the bigger the savings become. 

Error Prevention

Another main reason why contractors prefer survey drones to manual surveying is that drones are better able to perform more accurate measurements of the job site. Modern drones are equipped with advanced sensors and cameras that allow for ultra-precise data collection. In turn, they’re capable of producing highly detailed maps, models, and measurements that aren’t typically possible with manual surveying. 

Not only does this dramatically reduce the potential for errors, but it also makes the surveying process more fast and affordable. If you’ve ever gone through all of the steps of manual site surveying, you know it’s incredibly time-consuming because of the human manpower involved. With drone surveying, on the other hand, you can collect data up to 10 times faster than humans on foot.

Safer Sites

Survey sites always have the potential to create safety hazards, which is something human survey teams need to take into account. For example, steep or uneven terrain can present fall risks. Adverse weather conditions like rain and snow can create slippery surfaces. And there’s always the chance of running into dangerous insects and wildlife. 

Using survey drones is beneficial from a safety standpoint because human contractors don’t have to be placed in potentially hazardous environments. Instead, a drone can capture data by flying overhead and can help construction professionals identify job site hazards while reducing the need for manual inspections in challenging environments. 

More Accurate Estimates 

Accurate estimating is essential in construction, as it allows stakeholders and financial planners to navigate the process effectively with minimal setbacks. Budget planning, risk management, project planning, and scheduling all rely on accurate estimates

Professionals can use survey drones to estimate project costs and timelines more accurately for all four types of estimating

This is done by leveraging key technology that you don’t get with manual surveying. For example, with aerial perspective and high-resolution imaging, drones offer an ultra-detailed view of the construction site in a fraction of the time. Light detection and ranging (LiDAR) sensors provide complex elevation and terrain modeling data. And AI-powered technology features algorithms that allow construction planners to process massive amounts of data far quicker than a human could for a level of unparalleled accuracy. 

Enhanced Sustainability Efforts  

Finally, survey drones can improve sustainability efforts on the job site by allowing contractors to perform more accurate environmental assessments and optimizing takeoff accuracy to minimize material waste. The data from topographical maps, for instance, can make for more efficient site planning to get the most from land use. Material quantification can analyze site-building resources like gravel and stone to optimize usage and ensure materials aren’t wasted. 

Contractors can also harness the data collected by survey drones to generate more accurate material purchasing estimates. That way you can purchase the correct amount of materials without overordering, thereby saving money and minimizing environmental impact. 

Also, survey drones can continually monitor construction sites and provide real-time updates to project managers. In turn, this can reduce delays and ensure resources are properly allocated, further reducing the environmental impact that comes with prolonged construction. 

With so many advantages, it’s easy to see why numerous companies are making the shift from manual surveying to drone surveying for construction. It’s more affordable, more accurate, safer, and more sustainable. Therefore, if you’re exploring different options for construction, drone surveying, and AI-powered construction software deserve serious consideration.

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