Drones in Construction: Improving Commercial Inspections and Jobsite Safety with UAVs

Webinar Recap: Drone adoption streamlines inspection workflows for construction and inspection companies

In industries such as construction and inspection, it is not uncommon for workers to face serious injury — or even death — daily. Seeking better ways to inspect jobsites and identify potential hazards before they become dangerous, companies are increasingly turning to drones and drone mapping to improve efficiency and overall safety for workers.

Last week, panelists from DJI, Beck Group, and The Sequel Group discussed how field inspectors are making strides and improving workflows through the use of DroneDeploy during our webinar, Improving Commercial Inspections and Jobsite Safety with Drones.

Missed the webinar? Don’t worry. Watch the entire recording here.

An In-Depth Look at the New Matrice 200 Series from DJI

Joining the webinar from DJI Enterprise was David Benowitz. David introduced DJI’s new Matrice 200 series and compatible line of Zenmuse cameras. He shared the features that make this new line of drone hardware ideal for field inspectors, including the rugged IP43 rating, multiple gimbal mounts, and precision RTK GPS capabilities.

To get the full rundown, watch the recording of the webinar here.

Adopting and Scaling Drones Across Teams

During the webinar, we heard from Grant Hagen, a Virtual Design and Construction Manager at Beck Group. Grant shared his experience leading the charge to bring drones to Beck, and how he has expanded drone operations along the way. “Drone adoption at Beck has started in the last 2–3 years”, said Grant. “I get really excited when technology has a practical use, and I think this is exactly how we got into this space, from a practical side of things.”

Drones have proved their value for the company, and today Grant and his team are operating drones across major jobsites in the US to document and communicate progress, as well as perform aerial inspections.

“We’re using drones on about 10 projects right now, which is exciting”, said Grant. “But I don’t think the goal at the end of the day is the numbers. I think the goal at the end of the day is how the team is utilizing the technology to improve our process.” Drones have made his team more effective and allowed Beck to provide its clients with high-value deliverables including orthomosaic maps, 3D models, and infrared imagery.

“I think the goal at the end of the day is how the team is utilizing this technology to improve our process.” — Grant Hagen, Beck Group

The success Grant and his team has seen so far is just the beginning. He plans to continue scaling operations in the months and years to come, and expects that as drone technology continues to advance, so to will the opportunities for constructions pros. “It’s been a fun process so far and we’re excited to see where it takes off”, says Grant.

To hear more about how Grant has scaled drone ops at Beck, watch the full webinar.

Drone-Generated Imagery is a Game Changer for Site Inspection

The Beck Group has been using drones to conduct aerial inspections since 2014. In that time, drones have made it possible to gather data from areas previously inaccessible — all from the comfort and safety of the ground. From high-rises to hospitals, to college campuses, drones have given Beck the data it needs to accurately and efficiently inspect roofs, building enclosures, and other elevated structure under construction or in need of repair.

Grant shared a case study from a job Beck completed earlier this year using DroneDeploy and thermal imagery on the aging roof of a UT-Dallas campus building. He and his team gathered aerial images with a DJI Inspire 1 equipped with a Zenmuse XT 640 and a 13mm lens. By remotely identifying problem areas, inspectors were able to focus their work and limit on-the-roof time to only those areas of concern. “Rather than searching for a needle in a haystack,” says Grant, “you have a map to tell you right where to look.” This ultimately reduced inspection time, in some cases by as much four hours.

“The work input to value output with drone-based thermal imagery is game changing,” says Grant. “It’s unlike anything else in construction technology right now.”

Grant was then able to upload the thermal JPGs into DroneDeploy and produce a thermal map and 3D model of the building for his clients at UT-Dallas. This gave them a powerful visualization of the damage to the roof, and clearly identified where the repairs needed to be made. “We ran the thermal imaging data with almost every software,” says Grant. “DroneDeploy was the only one that worked.

Learn more by reading the complete case study here.

Improving Safety and Efficiency for Utility Inspections with the Use of Drones

Joining the webinar from The Sequel Group was Chris Bartlett. At Sequel, Chris helps deliver end-to-end data collection, drone services, and project dashboards to utility and municipal clients across the US.

Chris has successfully been inspecting water towers, cell phone towers, and other elevated structures with drones since 2016. “Drones just seemed like a natural extension of the inspections we were doing”, said Chris. Using drones, he can deliver low-altitude, high resolution imagery and maps to clients in a fast, safe, and effective manner.

Traditionally, tower inspections have been a time-intensive and dangerous job for field inspectors like Chris. Scaling hundreds of feet in the air to get a closer look at these structures is not an easy task. Drones bring greater efficiency and improved safety to his team.

“This is a pretty dangerous industry. Drones provide a cost-effective, safer way to perform these inspections on a more frequent basis.” — Chris Bartlett, The Sequel Group

By capturing drone imagery of elevated structures first, his team no longer has to climb every tower. Instead, they send up a drone to grab aerial photos and are only faced with climbing towers when it’s absolutely necessary.

“These are great tools for inspectors, engineering firms, and other industries” says Chris. “The challenge becomes creating actionable insights from all the data being captured. How do you perform an actionable workflow?” Chris explored some of his preferred tools for data collection. His go-to application, Fulcrum, is now available on the DroneDeploy App Market. During the webinar, Chris walked us through his workflow, provided best practices, and shared some of the capabilities of the Fulcrum app. Using DroneDeploy and Fulcrum, Chris is able to quickly collect data and create real-time reports and insights for his clients.

To learn more about the ways drones and data collection tools like Fulcrum are innovating utility inspections, watch the full webinar recording here.

Where to Learn More

Get Started with DroneDeploy

Want to learn how DroneDeploy can help your business? Visit www.dronedeploy.com to start your free trial or request a consultation with one of our team members. The DroneDeploy mobile application is available for free download for both iOS and Android devices.

DroneDeploy's Blog

DroneDeploy is the leading cloud software platform for commercial drones. Learn more at www.dronedeploy.com


Written by

DroneDeploy is the leading cloud software platform for commercial drones.

DroneDeploy's Blog

DroneDeploy is the leading cloud software platform for commercial drones. Learn more at www.dronedeploy.com

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade