According to Construction Dive, the global construction industry is expected to exceed $10 trillion in revenue by the year 2020. The problem is that the industry as a whole is only able to maintain profit margins below one percent. If construction companies are going to remain competitive, then they need technology that will reduce the cost of operations and allow for more accurate results. That technology comes in the form of drones, and it will have a huge impact on the construction industry in 2017.
Drones have been used in the construction industry in recent years for processes such as building information modeling (BIM) which is capturing information and allowing project managers to see how a project is progressing. But thanks to the continuing advances in drone technology, it is expected that 2017 will see drones become standard equipment for projects of all sizes and for construction companies all over the world.
One fascinating way in which new technologies are being merged is with the use of virtual reality. A drone is sent to a construction site to capture a 3D image of the site and the surrounding area prior to construction and that information is mingled in with the 3D image of the final project created by the CAD software. The end result allows project managers to tour the finished building and associated grounds before they are even built. This allows architects and project managers to see issues before they are even created, and can save a lot of money on the building process.
All of this sounds almost space age, but the CAD 3D modeling of an upcoming project is already a reality. Towards the end of 2016, drone manufacturers and software developers were putting the finishing touches on being able to integrate drone data into the CAD 3D model to get an accurate look at a building before the ground has even been broken.
In order for drone technology to save construction companies money, the technology has to allow construction companies to be able to cut back on the manpower needed to run a project. With drones, construction companies have voiced concerns that having a team of drone experts on every job site could become very expensive. The drone industry has responded with pre-flight programming.
A project manager in Atlanta could choose an area where drone flights will be needed each day for a project in Milwaukee and program the drone to follow a certain path and gather certain data. On the Milwaukee job site, one worker can place the drone in a launching position and press a single button on a mobile app to get the drone to do its appointed rounds. This feature alone can save construction companies a significant amount of money on utilizing drones to save money in other parts of the project.
Perhaps the most significant area drones are being used right now in the construction industry is in excavation. In 2017, expect to see drones flying over construction sites during the excavation process for two primary reasons. The first reason for drones over excavation sites is to show the project manager the progress being made each day by the excavation company. This allows the project manager to get a more accurate picture of how long excavation will really take.
The other reason drones are so popular in the excavation business is because they allow excavation companies to monitor daily excavation volume using various types of equipment and methods. In 2017, excavation companies will start to be able to become much more accurate in their pricing, and they will be able to more accurately estimate work volume to increase revenue.
The software being used by drones is constantly evolving, and it is expected that by 2017 construction companies will be able to see exactly where real project results are deviating from the project plans and get the work back on track. This process will save construction companies a lot of time and money that would normally have to be made up with change orders. Instead of stopping projects to get change orders for projects that have gone off course, project managers can now see the issues as they develop and make the necessary corrections quickly.
Physical Project Evaluation
The future of drones is in higher definition cameras and improved sensors to get drones to go exactly where construction companies need them to go. With these improved abilities, drones will be able to capture much more accurate images and create 3D models that show the real status of a project. When this technology is mixed with 3D printing, it takes everything to a new level.
The mixing of 3D modeling and 3D printing means that project managers will be able to create a real-time physical representation of their projects to spot errors and recommend corrections. These types of 3D printed models can also be sent to project investors to show that the company is on track with its schedule and budget. The ability to do physical project evaluation on an ongoing project has never been available before, but it will become commonplace by 2017.
Less Of A Novelty
The construction industry is still in the initial stages of integrating drones into the regular workflow of a project. One of the biggest hurdles to smoothing out the integration process is the lack of the proper technology upgrades and software required to do exactly what the industry needs drones to do. In 2017, the construction industry and drone manufacturers have indicated that there will be a focused and collaborative effort by both to refine drone features and create software that construction companies can use to improve efficiency.
The future is now in the construction industry and drones look to be the new equipment of choice for 2017. If you want to stay updated on the development of drones in the construction industry, then start a course with PDH Contractors. You will find that PDH Contractors has the current information you need to stay in tune with changes in the construction industry, and the educational resources you need to keep all of your certifications and licenses current.