by Frederike Berg
Drones in Scaffolding
Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) – better known as drones – can do much more than just be flown through the air by amateur pilots for the fun of it. In fact, there is a lot of potential in these small, flexible devices. Also, for the construction and scaffolding industry. Their aerial vantage point and data collection capabilities open up new possibilities, especially in project planning.
How can drones be used in scaffolding?
The advantages of drones are perfectly clear – they are light, small and, most importantly, they can fly. These characteristics make them extremely flexible and enable a view from completely new angles. Drones can provide us with images, videos and even live broadcasts of areas that would otherwise be difficult or impossible to access. This makes them ideal for a wide range of tasks on the construction site, such as measurements, visual inspections and thermal light scans.
Drones also have decisive advantages for you in scaffolding, especially in project planning: the images from the drone are used to create a 3D model of the building that you want to scaffold – accurate down to the millimetre. With this 3D model you can plan your scaffolding quickly and accurately. You can then also easily share it with your client and colleagues.
What are the advantages of using a drone in scaffolding?
The use of drones brings us a lot closer to more digital work in scaffolding. This has a number of advantages in your daily work:
1. Project planning
Because drones can capture areas down to the centimetre, these can be calculated very quickly. So they take over the surveying process that would otherwise have had to be done by hand. Due to the fast calculation, offers and orders can be created in a time-saving manner. This can significantly reduce the duration of a project. Physical maps that offer full coverage of an area in detail, for example, can also help to reduces errors in your material planning.
2. Savings in costs
Planning errors are easy to make, especially when the project site has a surprise or two in store. Too much or too little scaffolding material is quickly sent to the site, resulting in unnecessary transport costs and delays to the project. This is where drones come in. By giving you a complete and accurate picture of the project site in advance, with all its details and peculiarities, you can more easily avoid planning errors - and ultimately save money.
3. Safety on the construction site
Drones can take over simple measurements and inspections that would otherwise been done by workers e.g. with lift trucks or ladders. Since the introduction of the use of drones on construction sites, companies reported 55% increased safety standards directly related to them. This makes drones a safe and efficient alternative to controls carried out by humans on construction sites.
What features should a drone have?
You'll be spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing your drone. Numerous models are available on the market to buy or rent. If you want to use a drone for scaffolding purposes, it should have some important features to support you efficiently. These are the features you should look out for when choosing a drone for use in scaffolding:
- A 4K camera ensures precise and clear images, which are important to support the accuracy of the 3D models.
- Different flight modes ensure control even in strong winds and the drone can take off and land without losing time.
- A long-lasting battery, preferably a lithium polymer battery. This is important to complete the monitoring process without problems.
- A stabilised camera, so you don't have to worry about blurry films or photos.
- A good GPS module, because GPS and flight altitude are stored in the metadata of the images so that, for example, the height of the building can be easily assigned.
If your drone has all these features, it can reach a speed of 60 km/h and stay in the air for a maximum of 25 minutes on one battery charge. In one day, it can cover around 40 hectares – which is more than 40 soccer fields!
Drones can not only be an efficient work aid, but can also be used to showcase your project in a spectacular way, e.g. for advertising purposes. See an example in the video:
What to keep in mind before using a drone
You're probably now thinking about getting a drone, too. However, in Europe, for example, you need to observe some rules before taking off. Here are four important points that should be considered first:
- All drones with a take-off weight of more than 250 g must have an address plate so that the owner can be quickly identified in case the drone gets damaged.
- You need a pilot's licence or examination certificate approved by the Federal Aviation Office of your country. The licence is then valid throughout Europe.
- Data protection and copyright laws must be observed, otherwise heavy fines may be imposed.
- Inform yourself in advance about no-fly zones like airports, military basis and other protected areas.
Drones offer great potential for digitalisation in scaffolding. With little time required, tasks and processes that would normally take several days or weeks can be completed in just a few hours.
Do you want to read more about digitalization in scaffolding? Click the link to read our latest blog article on the topic.
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