How to monitor site progress remotely

When captured, processed and visualised correctly drone survey data makes it easier than ever to effectively track and communicate progress on your construction site.

Why progress tracking and communication matters

A report from BRE found that defects in the UK construction industry cost at least £20 billion to repair or rebuild every year.

The report outlined that delays and rework are happening for a variety of reasons such as insufficient and outdated information being passed on, and failed communication. These errors are costing the global construction industry billions. As one of the least digitised industries, the adoption of innovative software and technology is key in relation to boosting productivity and improving efficiency, especially as construction projects are becoming increasingly complex and expensive.

Construction projects running over budget have become so common in the industry that they’re basically expected. McKinsey estimated in 2016 that large construction projects are typically completed 80 per cent over budget and 20 per cent over-scheduled.

With the help of new data capture technologies and the development of visualisation platforms, project managers can do their job with higher efficiency.

How to track and communicate site progress with drone data

Given the size of many project areas and the rapid development of construction sites, it can take teams months to digitise a large site manually, by which point the data goes out of date. As a result, this data is unreliable for decision-makers.

Capturing site data using a drone allows teams to speed up the data capture process by days and in many cases even months. After being processed, drone data can be delivered in a matter of days to ensure your project stays on track – saving time and resources. Compared to traditional, manual collection methods, drones are able to capture data quicker, safer and more cost-efficiently. They also offer a good balance between accuracy, efficiency, and safety while still producing diverse, versatile datasets.

Here are 3 ways drone data improves site progress tracking and communication:

  1. Put simply, surveying a project site using drones is fast. The initial data capture can take anywhere from a number of minutes to hours, and can be delivered to your team in a matter of days. This means you can access up to date, accurate data more frequently. Regular scans can be delivered to enable your team to discuss plans, track progress and identify issues much closer to real-time than through slower, traditional methods.
  2. Due to the dangers presented by live highways, railways or runways, traditional methods of monitoring progress often require the implementation of traffic management systems and road closures. This creates thousands of pounds of added costs and is disruptive to the public. By utilising drones, data can be safely captured remotely – without putting boots on the ground in a hostile environment.
  3. Visualisations derived from drone data allow anyone in your team to work with a visual and intuitive 3D representation of your project. Share snapshots of your site with stakeholders and clients to seamlessly communicate progress on a project’s status. Visualised on online platforms, like Sensat’s, enables vital collaboration and information exchange where traditional systems have been stretched.

Sensat, on behalf of MSVF, have been utilising drones to carry out fortnightly site surveys on the Barking Riverside project since January. The digital model is being supplemented with regular progress monitoring and up to date topographical information for assessing earthworks.

“In this unprecedented time, we need to create a level of certainty about our project’s programme. Sensat’s data hosted in Sensat’s visualisation platform will allow us to create a single source of truth over the next period of time to help us assure the project’s programme when we begin again.”

Jim Bushell, Survey and Monitoring Manager, MSVF

The data has been served to the whole project via Sensat’s software, and has been enabling them to take more accurate and regular earthworks quantities – both reducing risk and improving cash flow. They have also been using the data to enhance communication both internally with the project teams and externally with their client Transport for London. There are now upwards of 170 users accessing up to date site information remotely, via Sensat.

Read the full project case study here.

Sensat prides itself on being industry leaders in drone data, quality and accuracy. Through the use of drones, we are able to collect and visualise up-to-date and highly accurate data that is valuable throughout the different design and construction stages of any infrastructure project.

To see Sensat’s drone data quality for yourself, request sample data at Alternatively, check out our survey data guide to discover when and why to use drone data for your project.

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