2019 has proven over and over that technology is king of nearly every industry, including project management. Many managers may find themselves resistant to the idea of taking the tech leap into some of the newest resources available, often because they just don’t know what to expect. But a smart project manager also knows the value of flexibility and trying new methods – and with technology rapidly becoming the norm instead of the exception, it’s important to know about these trends before you decide whether they will work for your next project.
Drones are a good example of more recent technology that has rapidly established a foothold in the construction industry. As with all technology, there are pros and cons to using drones in your project. And, as with all technology, it’s important to know how it can impact every aspect of your build.
How can drones improve your project?
If technology is king, then information is its second-in-command. Having the right info in a timely manner is crucial to keeping your project on track and on budget [LINK TO BUDGET ARTICLE]. But acquiring all the information you need and communicating it out to your team [LINK TO COMMUNICATION 101 ARTICLE] can take time, which in turn eats up costs that you don’t want to waste. This is where incorporating drones can give you vital information that can make or break your project.
Drones can be equipped with a variety of sensors, cameras, and a myriad of other resources that can help you plan ahead for challenges as well as make important decision upfront before you even sign a contract. For instance, geo-location sensors can give you information about the physical terrain for your project, and warn you about any unforeseen circumstances that could be costly if not accounted for in the early planning stages. The high-resolution images captured by the drone will give you the ability to map every square foot of the property you plan to use for your build. Having these details so readily available is an incredible advantage to your project’s success.
Along the same lines, these sensors and camera can also keep you and your team up to date on how the project is progressing. You can use the information from the drones to keep everyone in the loop, from your construction management company to the city in which you’re building. This not only saves time on communicating with your team, but it also improves your ability to keep everyone safe in hazardous conditions. Instead of sending a team out to gauge the safety of a site after a dangerous storm has passed, you can use a drone to give you that same information without endangering any members of your team.
What should I be cautious of when using drones?
No technology is perfect – and drones are not a replacement for the common sense and experience that you and your team members bring to the table. An all-too-common mistake when using technology is that there is no backup plan in place if the technology becomes damaged or destroyed. Drones are no exception to this rule, so it is important that you and your team do not trade your expertise in this industry for total reliance on any technology.
Before you decide to implement the use of drones into your project, make sure your team members understand what kind of information the drones will send you, and how they access it. Information is useless if no one knows it exists. If training is required to access the data or even to interpret it, be sure to provide it to your team (and take it yourself) before you begin receiving info from your build site. Check in with your team to make sure they are able to get the info they need and that nothing is missing from the data.
Technology isn’t going away – and many project managers are seeing just how far it can take their team on the road to success. Find out which technology suits your project, and prepare to jump in with both feet.
About Impact Construction Management
Headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, Impact Construction Management is a full-service construction management firm. Founded by Louis Buonaiuto and Richard Bowlin, Impact Construction Management has been managing construction projects for clients throughout the Midwest and South for over 10 years. From our very first project to today, our focus has been on delivering the results our clients want by providing responsive service, up-front pricing and the highest-quality workmanship.