Errors in drawings and installations not only cause frustration, but can also lead to contractors losing valuable time and substantial amounts of money on projects. With the use of drones and those associated technologies, Zwick Construction has found that risks have been largely mitigated on projects that have taken advantage of the resource.
Our VDC Manager explained, “Drones are a great way to limit risk on a jobsite. A cellphone camera can only capture so much, where a drone takes hundreds of pictures, making it easier to have a better understanding of what is going on in the job.”
This overall view of the site allows the team to have more accurate quality assurance and quality control throughout all phases of construction. Rather than walking around the site with the traditional notebook and pencil, Bowen and his team are able to quickly overlay the drawings atop the drone images to see where any inconsistencies lie. The practice saves the project team both time and money.
Drones are able to collect useful data through various measures. Specifically, the drone teams have been using them for vertical façade flights, topography take-offs, cut and fill analyses, and 360 walkthroughs that integrate with their construction software, in addition to typical flights.
Throughout the years that we have had drone pilots, numerous issues have been avoided on several sites. For example, the project team on a Salt Lake City, UT, project was able to use drone footage to foresee problems in coming months: The BIM team learned that the trusses were off by around eight inches. At this point, the framers had already begun sheathing the floor above, but because of this quick realization, the problem was fixed in a matter of hours, rather than in a few months when the framers had finished the upper floors.
“Drones are useful because it gives project teams the ability to do QA/QC for their jobsite on an overall, large scale. It allows them to effectively document and mitigate risk early on.”
While working on another project in Taylorsville, UT, a Salt Lake City Superintendent learned through a drone flight that the recently-completed excavation wasn’t large enough to pour concrete over in the coming weeks. Months later, he noticed through drone flights that the concrete columns were placed incorrectly.
The efficiencies of drone usage are far-reaching, and every project could benefit from these drone flights.