Drones are now being used to supervise construction projects in the US. This is one of many new applications of technology on sites.
A new stadium for the Sacramento Kings in California is being monitored by drones and software that can automatically identify slow progress. Image In Flight, a drone-operating company, is recording the video of the project. The software was developed by researchers in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Illinois.
Once a day, several drones collect video footage. The technology can be used to identify groups working together. The drones can identify workers slacking, and together with the software are used as a productivity measuring tool.
That footage is converted into a model of the site and compared to the BIM model. The software compares it to the construction plans, as well as the programme showing when each section should be completed. This is a useful tool for project managers, as it shows when a project is behind schedule. The technology gives almost instant aerial images, and the software provides a more holistic overview of works, which can show how a potential slowdown could affect the overall project. This software is also being applied in a high-rise project in Arizona.
Technology is now used to monitor workers in a variety of fields. The nature of drone monitoring might cause future complaints from construction workers’ unions.
The US is not the only country using drone technology on site. Drones have been used on the Aspern Vienna Urban Lakeside project, Austria to monitor progress. The past year has seen an increase in the use of drones on sites in the UK. It will be interesting to see how Building Information Modelling and drone technology can be used together in construction in the near future.