On today’s construction sites alone, lack of project data costs businesses more than $177B annually. Having site data that’s as up-to-date as possible means spotting problems before they become expensive and preventing rework. It means tighter planning and budgeting. It means better contractor management.
It’s pretty straightforward, but when you have an open stream of communication between teams on site and back at the head office, everyone is more aware of what’s going on. But how to you make that transparency easy and scalable?
Progress reporting the traditional way
Historically, collaboration on worksites has centered on two methods: drawings and physical inspections. While both methods are “tried and true,” the obvious pitfalls are as old as the methods themselves.
One of the major problems with using drawings is the difficulty of communicating the context between your actual, real-world site and a set of drawings. As one of Propeller’s customers, Robert Usher, a project manager at Boral, recently put it, “Most people on site don’t understand drawings. . . . Using Propeller I can show new contractors around key areas.”
Management and version control usually lies with a small design or engineering team. Usually most of the site-based workforce doesn’t have access to the expensive software necessary to stay in the know about changing designs.
Typically, you’d also be visually inspecting work. Whether it’s a during mobilization, daily briefings, or as part of QA checks, observing work (or areas of planned work) is the foundation of site-based communication. The reason is simple—it works. Nothing beats the directness of insitu viewing.
This is expensive, however. Having personnel on site to inspect before, during, and after site work requires resources. It can also sometimes can bear an unacceptable safety risk depending on the nature of the job, as with deep excavations around blasting or nearby hazardous materials.
For your nonsite-based workforce, including outside stakeholders, getting to site is often not possible. The photos and drawings they have to work with are a poor substitute for in-person visits and they lose a lot of context in translation.
Collaboration challenges span the entire life of any project, from liaising with consultants and mobilizing contractors to monitoring progress and production and QA. At each stage, ensuring the right parties have the information to understand a project’s needs and complete their work on time, on budget, and to specification is critical to good decision making and success.
Drone data makes reporting and collaborating on your construction site easy
Things change rapidly on construction sites, and making decisions on data weeks or months old can be an exercise in frustration. Because drone surveying takes significantly less time—both in collecting data and processing it—you can have updated information on your site much more frequently. This alone improves reporting and collaboration because you’re seeing things much closer to real time.
Using 3D data captured by drone, anyone can produce a model that’s visually recognizable and can therefore be used for easy communication by anyone on- or off-site. You can have a visual conversation with your team with relevant data and reports.
In Propeller, adding designs—linework or design surfaces—allows you to visually monitor and track progress towards that final design. Because the model is 3D and uses up-to-date photographs, it’s easy to recognize how the design relates to the current state of your site.
For off-site users, like contractors, designers, or head office personnel, using a 3D site model provides a realistic alternative to costly in-person visits. An accurate and up-to-date model, rich with context provided by notes and shared files, enables off-site users to move around freely, getting a whole-of-site perspective on how things work.
Further, because you’re using data that’s cloud based, you don’t need to worry about versioning issues because everyone is working from a single source of truth. When you’re working cloud-based software, you don’t need to worry about complicated installs or expensive computer hardware. With just an email address you can assign permission levels to your 3D site survey for anyone in your organization, from team member to supervisor.
Want to learn more about construction site reporting with drone data? Check out our new ebook Improve Construction Site Reporting With Drone Surveying.