Structural Drone Services

Why do you require Drones that can undertake Structural Assessment?

Firstly, the important thing to consider is the health and Safety implications of the task at hand.

We first employed drone services to inspect the structural column and anchorage systems of a Pedestrain bridge in Western Australia.

There we significant health and safety implications for the structural assessment:-

The structural assessment was at height,

Access was over water

The continued use of the bridge by pedestrians during the investigation had to be maintained.

Some structural elements are hard to reach.  Access may be difficult and perhaps the degree of corrosion is not understood.  May be there is a requirement to require a drone to assess a structural element that has started to fail or is undergoing a degree of corrosion.  Or perhaps has corroded to a significant degree.  May the structural deterioration of the building require mapping for future benchmarking.

Drones can aid in this process of undertaking visual inspection  of structural members record the current state of the condition of the structure, utilising raw imaging of the video, and permanently stored for future reference.

Even construction works can be monitored and measure, for potential liability later in the project.  It could protect against liability or could aid the process for claims against a contractor.  We all want trust on site

How can drone aid in the structural process.

If you require a structural assessment of structural elements which are at height, in a confined space or even underwater, then usual several things happen:-

  • A full Health and Safety assessment has to be undertaken on the risk and dangers at hand during the works;
  • Competent and trained personnel have to be employed who can under take th structural assessment at heights or in the confined space;
  • It can be quite costly to employ a structural engineering steeplejack that can undertake the assessment;
  • It may require that assessment may only enable a person not competent in structural engineering going up to te structure or working in confined space. This can limit the degree of observations on the structure.
  • A drone would provide access ithin confined spaces and at heights without the need for full health and safet equipment.
    • Yes, the structural engineer has to be competent to attend mine sites etc, but minimising working at heights and confined spaces can aid the review process;
    • Certainly as a preliminary assessment, a Drone inspection is ideal to validate whether additional and perhaps visual inspection at height is required;
    • The one big advantage of drone assessment is that the photos and video are in high def 4k. They will be a permenant record on the current state of the condition of the structural element.
    • The use of video technology by drone can be utilised as a benchmark of project.

Other uses of Drone services may include the following;

Providing structural drone services to record the construction of the project, focusing on the structural elements.

The drone service can be utilised for assessing the structural and construction performance of contractors on site and ensuring that due diligence is undertaken.  It records the construction works going forward to aid as a record of competence on the contractor or sub-contractor.

These videos can be reviewed by the project management team for construction issues or even health and safety issues

We believe structural drone services can be employed on site providing the site managers and project managers the ability to review construction progress is undertaken in a safe manner and competent manner.  It would aid the management on site of activities on site.

Specific flyby of the drone could entail the following:-

  • Close-up of structural connections,
  • Close up of reinforcement arrangements and condition on site;
  • Close up of form work systems;
  • Close up of earthworks, foundations and other construction works.


Author: Nic
Dr Nicholas Mills is the Structural Director of NRM Consultants. Founded in Mandurah WA in 2017, he will continue to provide expert engineering advice and excellent structural service to their clients and whatever project they undertake.

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