Elevating your project with autonomous facade inspections

October 3, 2023
Conner Jones

Innovations in construction and reality capture technology have made the challenge of facade inspections safer, cheaper and far more efficient than ever before. Traditionally, these inspections rely on swing stages and manual labor, exposing workers to significant risks, extending inspection times and increasing overall costs. Advances in technology have introduced innovative solutions through drones and reality capture software, transforming how these inspections are performed.

In this blog, we’ll highlight the value of automated facade inspections and show you ways you can deploy this technology on your next project. Let’s get into it.

The problem with traditional inspections

The conventional method of using swing stages and manual labor for facade inspections has been a staple in the construction industry for years. Inspectors, dangling from suspended platforms often several stories high, would carry out visual examinations to spot any defects in building exteriors throughout a project lifecycle. 

This manual process is fraught with safety concerns. From equipment malfunctions to human errors, the possibilities of accidents are numerous. Additionally, the nature of these inspections often leads to longer project timelines, higher costs, and substantial labor requirements making them time and resource-intensive.

A new way to perform facade inspections

Now, with drones and reality capture software, facade inspections can be performed far safer, cheaper and faster than traditional methods.  Drones, equipped with high-resolution cameras, can capture detailed images of building exteriors effortlessly, accessing hard-to-reach areas and ensuring comprehensive inspections. Tools like DroneDeploy have further augmented this capability, allowing for drones to be programmed for autonomous inspection missions. 

Instead of mounting swing stages and organizing several days or weeks of labor, you can now complete the job in as little as a few hours with a single drone pilot. For instance, if you needed to inspect the facade of a multi-story apartment building, you could have a single pilot or a team of pilots perform automated drone flights around the structure. Throughout the automated flight, the drones would capture high-res photos and videos of the building. These captures can then be uploaded into a platform like DroneDeploy to create reference assets such as an orthomosaic map, 3D models or a detailed point-cloud. 

This level of automation and efficiency  minimizes the need for human labor and can ensure consistent data capture throughout the life cycle of a project. These captures can then be uploaded into a reality capture program for cross-team collaboration and digital project documentation.There is a significant safety advantage as well, as the deployment of drones keeps builders on the ground and away from hazardous conditions.  

Reality capture technology is changing the nature of inspections by translating real-time site conditions into actionable data. This technology allows for efficient checks on installation and work quality at key exterior milestones, enabling teams to perform site inspections on a daily or even hourly basis.

Automated facade inspections in action

What kind of returns can you expect from automating your facade inspections? The results may certainly vary depending on your project, but there is a high potential of ROI when you introduce drones, reality capture and automation to your workflows. 

For instance, when a series of hurricanes hit Lake Charles, Louisiana and damaged the L’Auberge Casino Resort, Turner Construction Company initially expected to spend weeks conducting inspection and making repairs. But with facade inspections powered by drones and automation,  a job that would’ve taken weeks took as little as six hours. These expedited inspections ended up reducing job costs by an estimated $25,000.

Read that full story here!

Facade inspections in DroneDeploy

Transform your project workflow with reality capture

Drones and reality capture not only offer safer alternatives but also significantly enhance efficiency and accuracy in facade. As the construction industry continues to embrace automation, the value of these  tools is undeniable.

Want to learn more about reality capture in construction? Check out our Reality Capture Playbook which will give you a full breakdown of how to use tools like drones, robots and reality capture software across your entire project lifecycle. 

Read the playbook here!

About the Author

Conner Jones
Conner Jones
Content Marketing Manager

Conner Jones currently manages content marketing at DroneDeploy. Conner helps tell the DroneDeploy story across a wide array of social and web channels, showcasing the power of drones and reality capture in a diverse range of industries.

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