- May 21, 2019
As drone technology gains more traction in the construction industry, Gilbane has prioritized the implementation of these Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) into our daily operations. Drones can help project teams track progress and improve quality in a massively reduced time frame than prior methods.
The big benefit of using drones is the speed with which they capture data. The drone can capture an area of 10 acres in about 20 minutes with an image resolution of 1 inch/pixel. A typical survey would take much longer to cover the same area and come nowhere near that level of detail.
Another benefit of drone usage is improved safety. By using the drone, our Virtual Design & Construction team can access areas for both inspection and documentation that would otherwise be dangerous and/or impossible to access.
With the expanded innovation that drones offer, Gilbane recognizes the benefits of having licensed drone pilots on staff. A licensed drone pilot offers not only the training, skills and experience to fly safely, but is also covered by insurance for drone flights. The process for getting a drone license includes studying for and passing the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) exam. Knowledge is tested in the following areas:
- Regulations relating to privileges, limitations and flight operation
- Airspace classification, operating requirements and flight restrictions
- Aviation weather sources and effects of weather on small unmanned aircraft
- Small unmanned aircraft loading and performance
- Emergency procedures
- Crew resource management
- Radio communication procedures
- Determining the performance of small unmanned aircraft
- Physiological effects of drugs and alcohol
- Aeronautical decision-making and judgment
- Airport operations
- Maintenance and preflight inspection procedures
Currently, Gilbane has over ten licensed and insured drone pilots, with more on the way. With the ability to highlight the progression of site activities through high-quality visual aids, successfully track progress against the schedule, and validate multi-million dollar progress payments, the use of drones in the construction industry is continuing to flourish.
Case Study: A Gilbane VDC team member recently flew a drone around a 6-story hospital building to capture all elevations and surfaces of the building’s exterior. In about 15 minutes, they captured more than 100 photos from all different altitudes of the building. These photos were then loaded into a software program that processes the images and creates a 3D point-cloud model. This model was then integrated with the architectural design model revealing a deviation of only a few inches. This service greatly benefits our customers with a less time-consuming data capturing process than previously available, allowing our teams to quickly validate design decisions and plan adjacent to existing conditions at a level of detail higher than ever before.