Achieve construction sustainability objectives by embracing drone technology

Following the commitments made at the recent COP26 there is pressure on every sector today to step up to new sustainability objectives. Technology has the power to make meeting these objectives simpler, and faster, and drone technology in particular has a lot of potential. Construction is already leading the way when it comes to working with drones and this technology has a lot to contribute to the evolution of the industry. Forecasts indicate that drone technology will uplift GDP across manufacturing and construction by more than £8billion by 2030. These are some of the ways in which it will improve how we meet construction sustainability objectives too.

  • Using drones to transport cargo. Green aerial technologies that can be used to move materials from depot to site can make a big difference to emissions reductions. There are already drone programmes in play helping to achieve this. Dock to Dock, for example, is the result of a joint government and industry programme, and looked at how drones could transport up to 500kg of materials between locations.
  • Capturing data to improve the construction of sustainable buildings. Drones have a lot more reach than any land-based technology, which means they have huge potential when it comes to capturing vital data for use in energy-efficient buildings. For example, they can be used to capture comprehensive thermal data that can be fed into solving building issues and defects and putting measures in place to avoid energy wastage.
  • During the planning stage. It’s possible to start working on sustainability objectives from the earliest stages of the construction process, including bidding and planning. Here, drones can be used to carry out in-depth aerial surveys, to reduce the need for physical site visits and to provide more information about how to work with the biodiversity and geographic features of a landscape.
  • Accurate site monitoring. The high definition images from drones can be used to monitor progress on site in real time, whether that relates to security or erection sequences. Regular site monitoring provides insight into the way a site is being run – whether it is meeting sustainability objectives – and where there are opportunities for improvement. The data can also show why projects are meeting issues with delays etc. Better informed decision-making leads to more efficient operations, which help avoid many of the obstacles to improved sustainability, such as wastage and resource depletion.
  • Ongoing data input. The entire process of using data to help better meet sustainable targets can be automated with the use of drone technology. Automated drones are used to carry out daily inspections and capture real time data that is then analysed by AI or visualisation software, creating insights that can be continually reused throughout the lifecycle of a project.

The use of drone technology is just one way in which the construction sector is already responding to its biggest environmental challenges. Embracing technology in this way will give organisations across the industry the opportunity to meet environmental objectives and create a more sustainable future for all.

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