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Drone Impact on the Construction Industry: A Statistical Round-Up

The construction industry is undergoing an overhaul of efficiency and cost savings that has peaked over the last decade. Much of this growth can be attributed to the wide adoption of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) as a foundational construction tool.

Drones for aerial construction imagery serve many obvious purposes for construction and development professionals, like those associated with mapping and surveying. These tasks, which used to cost construction companies huge amounts of time and money, are now well-facilitated by companies implementing drones.

But there are other less commonly known drone uses in the construction industry that are beginning to produce some pretty inarguable statistics in favor of the ROI on UAVs. The numbers that pack the most punch, however, have to do with the rapid increase in drone use in and of itself, and the drivers behind that increase: most notably, improved safety standards and a general uptick in efficiencies on jobsites.

The Competition

If you are a construction professional considering the upside of drone usage, a good place to start is with the competition.

Construction reigns supreme in drone adoption showing increases in usage of 239% over the last year. Only mining is close to that kind of widespread industry change with a 198% increase.

Perhaps the reason for this dramatic increase is that construction professionals are beginning to connect the dots. According to Ryan Moret, a construction worker turned drone pilot, “The cost of the tool is low enough the quality of the data we’re receiving is just intrinsically valuable when we see it.”

Moret’s company, McCarthy Building Companies is firmly planted on the Forbes’ list of America’s Largest Private Companies with $3.5 Billion in revenue.

Safety

Regardless of the kind of work you do, increased safety is always a good reason to get behind a new technology. This is especially true in work that is potentially dangerous by its very nature, like construction.

We combed through a lot of data in preparation for this article, but this stat continues to shock: of the 991 workplace fatalities that took place in the U.S. in 2016, 21% happened in construction.

How can drones help? Namely, applying drones allows construction managers to take workers out of harm’s way and limit dangerous manned operations to only what is absolutely necessary.

Construction companies surveyed over the past year reported 55% increased safety standards directly related to drones applied in this way. An ancillary benefit is the cost savings as following drone implementation, construction companies have reported decreases in workmen compensation paid to workers who’ve been hurt on sites.

Waste

One of the lesser known drone uses in construction with the biggest upside is in waste monitoring, or what is referred to as stockpile measurement in the industry.

This is essentially the process by which companies take inventory on material; an often time-consuming and inaccurate process. When stockpile measurement is done especially ineffectively, companies produce a ton of waste.

According to the American Institute of Architects, building-related waste makes up anywhere from 25%-40% of America’s solid waste stream.

If you consider this percentage against the total U.S. construction spending ($1.13 trillion), it equates to more than $160 billion in waste. Using drones to combat this has led to 61% increase in measurement accuracy.

Time is another element of construction that is often squandered. When construction companies in America look at the scope of work over a calendar year, they report being behind schedule by 20 months on average.

The reasons for this are many:

  • Inefficient processes like manned surveys of land and stockpiles.
  • Long wait times for data analysis.
  • Delayed communication (or inaccurate communication) of data, which then creates lags in a job’s timeline as inaccuracies must be adjusted.

Direct intervention can be applied to each of the above cases using drones. When equipped with drones, construction companies and developers reported a 65% overall improvement to communication and collaboration and 53% reduced time to data insights.


Ready to bring drones to your worksites nationwide, with no hassle and reliable service? Get started with DroneBase today.

Tags: AEC Construction Customers
Christopher Grillo
Christopher Grillo

Christopher Grillo is a freelance writer and marketing consultant from New Haven, CT. He works mainly with companies in tech, real estate, and construction and development. Chris is a regular contributor to Futurism.com, Futurism Products, Contractor Culture and serves as a digital marketing consultant Fosdick Fulfillment Inc. a full service third party fulfillment center headquartered in Connecticut. He is the graduate of the University of New Haven, where he played strong safety for the Chargers’ football team, and of Southern Connecticut State University’s MFA program.

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