Rework has always been a major challenge for construction companies. On a large project, even the most minor mistake can have a snowball effect and lead to significant delays down the line. And the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the impact of rework by creating labor shortages, driving up material costs, and extending supply chain delays.
Rework is both time-consuming and costly. A study by Navigant Construction Forum found that the median cost of rework is roughly 4-6% of the total project cost – and it’s worth noting that’s only the direct cost of reported rework. The researchers estimated that the actual cost could be closer to 9%. Fortunately, robotics technology holds the answer.
The benefits of ground robots in construction
In recent years, many construction companies have turned to drones to improve the visibility of construction sites, monitor quality and progress, and identify potential errors. But the technology has limitations. While drones quickly document sites from above and scan building facades, workers still need to record building interiors with a camera or smartphone manually. Some construction sites also face airspace permission or regulatory challenges when operating drones.
That’s why ground robots are a game-changing technology. Robots like Spot from Boston Dynamics are designed to work effectively in environments usually reserved for humans, like construction sites. Spot can walk through buildings and corridors, step over rubble or tools, and even climb flights of stairs. It’s physically capable of carrying heavy, high-definition cameras and scanners and entering areas that drones cannot, and it doesn’t require airspace permission to operate.
Send ground robots on autonomous missions
The new DroneDeploy Ground Robotics solution uses robots like Spot to mitigate many of the problems that typically lead to rework in construction: poor communication between different teams and contractors, incomplete site documentation, and discrepancies between as-built and designs.
With DroneDeploy, ground robots can be directly teleoperated on a job site using buttons or a gamepad controller. But even more exciting is the capability to send ground robots on autonomous missions. This has immense potential in terms of efficiency, time, and cost savings.
For example, if you need to document visual progress on a job site at the end of every workday, use DroneDeploy to design and schedule a robot mission in advance. The robot will capture a visual record of progress on every building floor, keeping an eye on your project even when employees cannot. The robot automatically uploads this data to DroneDeploy for your project management team to review.
This saves your workers from the time-consuming, repetitive task of manually scanning or photographing the job site each day. It provides your entire project management team with a single source of truth they can access from anywhere. And because the imagery is taken from the exact same route every time, data is repeatable, and changes are clearly tracked over time.
The ability to automate data capture with ground robots is especially valuable on large and complex construction projects. An immense amount of work can happen in one day, and visual records of sites become outdated quickly.
Use ground robot data to reduce rework
Once your ground robot has uploaded its data to DroneDeploy, you can create a 360 Walkthrough. This is a powerful way to view your entire job site, floor by floor. Simply generate a link to share this data with employees, stakeholders, or clients online, giving them a virtual tour of the job site from their screens.
If you notice problems within the walkthrough – such as debris, safety hazards, faulty pipes, or loose wires – you can tag and annotate these issues within DroneDeploy and share them with contractors. They will know what needs fixing without exchanging emails or sifting through photos – saving time and helping to keep work on track. This transparent allocation of tasks also improves accountability.
DroneDeploy allows all employees to collaborate on these issues in real-time in a cloud environment. Our platform offers a single source of truth for all parties, so as-built progress can be constantly reviewed and tracked against the design model contributing to the BIM lifecycle. We also offer integration with common construction management software such as Procore or BIM 360.
With the power of visual communication and software integrations, errors and inefficiencies are identified early on before they have the chance to snowball – significantly reducing the likelihood of rework, scheduling delays, and budget overruns.
To learn more about the power of ground robots and automated data capture on job sites, read our eBook: How Robotic Automation is Transforming the Construction Industry. Or contact us for more information.