Advances in technology are abundant in this day and age. Although, in general, the construction industry is resistant to change, there are companies that are on the cutting edge of new advances and quickly proving that integrating new tech has many benefits that lead to cost savings and time efficiencies.
by Otto DeVries
Being involved with logistics and supply of building materials through the Caribbean I can foresee the tremendous impact BIM and Drone Technology are going to have on the construction of large Hotel Resorts.
Drones & Material Management Oversight
Obviously building on the Islands means that virtually all material has to be shipped in, causing a huge logistics hurdle. With the advance of BIM, which is used to build the entire project in Virtual Reality first, all the materials required to complete each part of the structure are known.
For example, aggregate to mix the concrete is in some cases shipped to the Islands and stored on site. Obviously, if the aggregate runs out, construction stops. Drones measure the amount of aggregate used and compare it to the BIM model, ensuring enough material is available. At the same time delivery of the aggregates can be adjusted so there is ‘Just enough’ material stored for smooth construction and optimization of storage area.
Advances in Technology
The latest model Drones are mounted with specialized cameras, which provide earth-movers an unprecedented look at grading efficiency and the contractors’ real-time feedback of the site preparation.
In addition, mounted laser measuring equipment and RF sensors provide inventory feedback so adjustments to the delivery schedule can be made accordingly. Using drones for situational awareness, team members can review progress without having to be physically in high-risk areas, which adds to the safety on site.
Using drones for situational awareness, team members can review progress without having to physically be present in high-risk areas adding to the safety on the work-site.
Drone software integrates with BIM systems such as Autodesk Revit and Trimble Vico providing analytics and feedback on Design vs. Build, and monitors compliance with construction standards and tolerances.
Benefits of using these integrated technologies are efficiency, better control of logistics, careful monitoring of storage and inventories on site. Many pre-fabricated components and construction systems provide sound proofing, fire proofing, structural superiority for earthquakes and hurricanes, and a natural form of insulation, reducing energy costs and the carbon footprint of the project and development.
Drones are continuously improving integration of software, thermal imaging, laser measurement scanners and sensors, and are all steps in the right direction. As these advances continue size barriers and constraints will be broken to make single drone provide more and more information with one flight.
Otto is a native of Antigua, holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering and a Masters in Engineering Management. He currently works with Hassell Free Building Supplies & Exports on procurement, shipping and logistics in the Caribbean and works with design-build consultants VERTIKAAL to support the Caribbean hotel construction trade.