Growing number of construction firms in GCC use drones

  • The UAE’s construction sector is now gearing up to continue projects as the country restores its economic operations
  • As the UAE and the wider region reopen economic activities, more companies are turning to drones as they provide a cost-effective, safer, and time-saving alternative
  • CEO of leading drone company outlines key game-changer applications of drone technology in construction

An increasing number of construction firms and real estate developers in the GCC who are turning to drones’ technology as they get their operations back on track while safeguarding the health and safety of their workers.

This is according to Falcon Eye Drones (FEDS), the Middle East’s leading provider of Drone Technology, Data Technology, and Digital Transformation. The company has recently closed a strategic investment with Aerodyne Group, creating the largest drone service company in the world.

Rabih Bou Rashid, CEO of FEDS said, “As the UAE and the wider region reopen their  economic activities under the new normal, players in the construction industry would like to get their projects up to speed with as much as savings they can. Cashflow is crucial in today’s times, hence, more and more companies are turning to drones as they provide a cost-effective, safer and time-saving alternative to the conventional construction process.”

Bou Rashid noted that drones continue to prove their value in the sector, helping construction companies increase their reporting turnaround by 25 per cent and cut down site time wastage by 18.4 per cent as they conduct activities at a more accurate and stauncher pace than manual labor.

This, he added, is especially evident in the UAE—which is globally renowned as one of the leaders in construction.

“The UAE’s construction sector is now gearing up to continue projects as the country begins restoring its economic operations. Companies are also exploring game-changing solutions to break ground in the ‘new normal’ while being mindful of workers’ health and safety,” he said.

“However, this is harder to achieve when you use the traditional construction process. Having said that, we have noted a dramatic increase of enquiries and orders with regard to the drone services that FEDS can offer to get them going again,” said Bou Rashid.

He said that using drones in the sector prevents costly mistakes as they allow managers to identify challenges in the pre-construction stage, spot mistakes, and measure progress during construction. Drones also improve safety in a sector that poses a high risk for fall, the number one cause of work-related fatalities for construction workers.

Bou Rashid highlighted the primary areas in which drones will be utilised by the construction sector during the new normal:

Progress monitoring

Bou Rashid noted that progress monitoring through drones which can cut project value costs by up to 11.8 per cent and can decrease the time spent to compile the snag list (or inventory of tasks by contractor) by 32 per cent—eliminating the unnecessary cost of regular manual supervision.

In addition, Bou Rashid said that since drones can conduct repeat flights to consistently monitor the construction progress and status, the possibility of doing manual rework decreases by 25 per cent. This helps site supervisors save five hours a week on unnecessary meetings, boosting productivity amongst workers as they can focus on other aspects of the project.

He also emphasised that the drones’ aerial view maps allow managers to sit down and easily determine potential problems early on before they get costly.

Bou Rashid explained that the drones’ high-resolution and accurate data of the construction site overview help contractors spot errors on a regular basis—helping them act on it ahead of time and in turn, save the company from unnecessary expenses.

“Drones can help quickly identify potential problems in each phase, allowing managers to plan solutions ahead to prevent unnecessary back jobs that can dent a project’s schedule and budget. in addition, aside from the built-in data they have taken, drones can also overlay the blueprint of the construction to help contractors identify any deviations. Spotting a potential barrier to finish a project on time will save construction firms extra costs, time and effort,” said the FEDS CEO.

Aside from mitigating the risk of COVID-19 infection thanks to less human contact, drones can help companies conduct a dangerous phase in progress monitoring—site inspections.

Drones keep construction workers and personnel from the dangers of surveying complex and hazardous sites, such as towering roofs, colossal bridges, and skyscrapers.

Since drones can hover even around remote and risky spots to gather clips of the construction site, explained Bou Rashid, companies and contractors can now view the footages from the safety of their office.

“Drones offer a safe alternative to what is considered to be one of the most critical phases of construction. The task that usually takes days to complete can now be accomplished in a matter of minutes, depending on the requirement, and provide more precise inspection data,” the FEDS CEO underscored.

Site mapping

The process of mapping wide construction spaces used to be a long and rigorous process. However, Bou Rashid said that with drones, contractors can produce a speedier workflow with less effort needed.

Drones, he stressed, can finish the task accurately as well as send up-to-date data straight into a computer for fast-track analysis. They can also map sites faster than land survey and produce dataeven for large-scale projects—more precise than a satellite.

“It used to be that mapping a wide construction site involves hiring a helicopter to fly over the areas just to capture images. Now, drones can get more accurate images in a shorter period and at more affordable costs,” he said.