Beyond the Build

Construction Trends

Drones in Construction

There is absolutely no substitute for consistent aerial views of a construction site, especially when they are 20 to 30 acres, as is frequently the case for us. While drones are often used for the cool images of vertical construction and marketing, we have found they bring good value as we piece together site progress on a weekly basis.

This past winter, we had a project that some referred to as “a large civil project.” I called it “working around a rock quarry with a few sinkholes thrown in.” Our weekly drone photography helped us monitor progress and call a spade a spade when there was conversation regarding progress or questions about who did what and when. As the old saying goes, “A picture is worth a thousand words.”

Beyond our weekly updates, our drones allow us to develop 3D mapping. We can plan better for staging areas and the movement of construction equipment. The drones working the site are programmed to follow the same precise pattern every week, capturing images from the same points of view, and thus creating a visual the civil progress stitched together. Our safety director uses the footage to analyze different security and safety hazards not normally seen by boots on the ground, covering a much wider area.

Last week, I was in a conference discussing the “go vs. no-go” on technology decisions. Many like to be on the cutting edge, but to me, the edge we are on now with the drones feels right.

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Merrill Stewart Jr.

Merrill Stewart is Founder and CEO of The Stewart/Perry Company, a commercial building contractor based in Birmingham.