Automating Facility Inspection with Drones
Kagan Pittman posted on June 30, 2017 | 6324 views

Building inspection can be a long and costly process, and can even be potentially hazardous in older buildings. Wouldn’t it be great if this process could be automated?

Oh wait, AkitaBox and PrecisionHawk already did this.

The latest in building inspection is brought to you by drone technology, flying around your facility using sensors and software to perform automatic visual assessment of the external areas of a site and other hard-to-reach places.

“Building inspection software can gather HVAC, grounds, building envelope and other asset information from drones into a report faster than an in-person inspection,” said Josh Lowe, CCO at AkitaBox.

AkitaBox combines their building management software with drone technology from PrecisionHawk to create a “Smart Package” to save humans the trouble of manually assessing the outside of a building complex.

The combo solution can be used to generate a 3D point cloud, 2D orthographic views and 3D mesh data models for analysis and long-term planning.

“As drone data capture becomes more readily available to businesses, we believe that there are massive opportunities to improve and simplify the facility management workflow and show a clear differentiation from legacy systems that aren’t adaptive,” said Jeff Freund, VP of construction at PrecisionHawk.

Aerial imagery can also be used to record how heavy equipment, temporary structures and other assets are stored and maintained on-site, for insurance regulation requirements. Daily flights can audit site conditions, identify hazards, improve logistic planning and map assets in real-time.

The idea of using drones for these activities isn’t new, however, as drones have already been used to inspect solar farms, regulate gas pipelines, capture site data for site surveying and construction, as well as bridge inspections.

Using drones for building inspection and maintenance presents unique challenges in generating BIM records.

A long list of standards from ASTM International’s E3036 Guide for Notating Façade Conditions in the Field is specifically written for outlining what is and isn’t acceptable when documenting conditions in existing buildings. You can continue reading with us to learn more about that here.

For more information about facility inspection with drones, visit the AkitaBox and PrecisionHawk websites.

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