When it comes to a construction project, there are few things that are as important as safety and efficiency. And often, these factors are inter-related. When you don’t have efficient processes, it can be difficult to maintain the safety of your project — and a lack of safety will quickly kill any efficiency that you’ve achieved. This guest blog post by Dustin Price at Landpoint will look at how lidar inspections can improve construction safety and efficiency.
There are ways that you can improve construction project safety without a significant investment of time or money. LiDAR inspections are a cost-effective and complete way of improving construction projects.
Here’s how it can help.
The Benefits of LiDAR Inspections for Construction Projects
LiDAR is a method of mapping terrain using laser technology that is very effectively used via drone. Drones equipped with LiDAR cameras fly over a site, low to the ground, and map the terrain — even cutting through things like brush and shallow water. Once the data has been collected, it can then be analyzed to produce a full 3D model of the current terrain.
LiDAR can benefit construction projects in the following ways:
- Delivering accurate surveys quickly at the beginning of the project.
- Providing information for simulation and analysis when developing the project.
- Identifying maintenance and repair requirements on the project as needed.
Drones are a fast, accurate method of quickly surveying a site, and consequently, they can be used throughout the entire project. Though LiDAR technology can be used on helicopters and planes, drones don’t need to be manned and are therefore safer – and a drone can fly into areas that a helicopter or plane cannot.
Let’s explore more about what makes LiDAR and construction such a great match.
Delivering Accurate Surveys at the Beginning of the Project
At the beginning of a construction project, it’s necessary to take a survey. LiDAR inspections can survey the terrain that the project is going to be built on, in order to determine how the land needs to be altered and leveled. The more accurate this survey is, the more accurate the future plans for the project will be.
LiDAR gives more accurate reads than traditional photogrammetric technology. Photogrammetric technology produces scans by taking a multitude of photographs and using an algorithm to stitch them together, while LiDAR takes precise laser point-cloud measurements of the ground. So, while photogrammetric imaging is sufficient for some purposes, it isn’t nearly as accurate as LiDAR.
Providing Simulation and Analysis for Project Development
Once LiDAR data has been collected, it can be used to create a 3D projection of the surrounding territory. This 3D information is so accurate that it can be used to create realistic simulations of the new construction project in the existing terrain. The project can be tested for things such as how sunlight reflects off of it to determine things like window size and shape. Different materials can be loaded into the simulation and costed, to improve the accuracy of the product estimates.
With new intelligent modeling services, LiDAR is the first step towards modeling and simulating a construction project in entirety. Since key stakeholders are able to view the project in place, they are able to get a better idea of how the project is going to look in real life. In fact, they can even walk through a project in 3D simulations or “virtual reality” setups.
This greatly reduces the chances that the project may need to be reworked later on, which is far more expensive than making changes before things are (sometimes literally) set in stone. It also improves the chances of the key stakeholders being pleased with the end result. So this is an important example of how LiDAR inspections can make construction projects more efficient, and more likely to be finished before the deadline.
Maintaining and Repairing Equipment on the Project
Once the construction project is in full swing, regular LiDAR inspections can be used to ensure that the project is still on target. LiDAR scans can compare the current job position with the projected job progress, to determine whether the project is progressing as it should be, and whether there could be potential issues arising.
During construction, LiDAR scans can also be used to identify safety issues, and will thereby improve construction safety. LiDAR scans are inherently safer than manual inspections, as they don’t require inspectors to walk the site. Instead, even dangerous, high-risk areas can be scanned via LiDAR for any potential problems.
Many construction companies have difficulty getting their sites regularly inspected, specifically because it does take a long time to walk the work site, and because there are areas that are dangerous. LiDAR inspections can cut down on these concerns.
These are only some of the ways that LiDAR and UAVs are being used together to improve the safety and efficiency of construction projects. LiDAR is a technology that is constantly improving, and construction companies are finding unique ways to use UAVs (and the IoT) all the time. By leveraging resources such as LiDAR and UAVs, construction companies can more consistently come in under budget and avoid high risk issues.
Dustin Price is a licensed land surveyor and the Operations Manager at Landpoint. He leads the company’s technical approach to delivering professional surveying services by providing tailored solutions using UAV technology.
Operations Manager – Landpoint
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