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How PCL Construction Uses Drones for QA/QC

Site Scan enables PCL to do more focused, efficient quality control
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About PCL Construction

Established in 1906, PCL Construction is a group of independent construction companies with over 4,400 employees across the United States, Canada, and Australia.

Their Goal

As part of construction of the first-ever Crystal Lagoon project in the United States – a 7.3 acre development just north of Tampa, Florida – PCL Construction in Orlando had a number of challenges to overcome: verifying grade elevations at key stages of the project, better prioritizing QC efforts given the large site size, and easily sharing progress both internally and with external stakeholders. Given the size of the site and the time it would take to frequently survey, PCL looked to drones to capture the lagoon in new ways and drive value on-site.

“This was an unprecedented project, and we looked to drones to help us save time on site and ensure we communicated effectively.”

Bill Bennington, Virtual Construction Manager, PCL Construction

Site Scan as a Solution

PCL went with 3DR and used Site Scan to frequently survey the lagoon, make their QA/QC processes more focused and efficient, and easily share aerial photos and data with their team. Field engineers at PCL earned their Remote Pilot Certification with help from 3DR study materials, and quickly got up and running with drones on the site. They set up highly visible ground control points, inputted them into Site Scan, and ensured accuracy with independent checkpoints.

“What it came down to, for us, was the simplified workflow, the support we received from 3DR, and the scalability of the product. We also liked the integration with Autodesk in cloud processing.”

Bill Bennington, Virtual Construction Manager, PCL Construction

Key Results

Millions of precise points

For a project of this size, it would typically take one week to survey the area, process the data, and create a final deliverable. With a drone to cloud solution, PCL was able to get the same result in just 1.5 days: It took 10 minutes to fly the site, and no longer than a day to export the CAD file, contours, orthoimagery, and point cloud.

More efficient quality control

With a perimeter of 4,382 feet, the lagoon is a large area to cover. PCL continued to go on-site for quality control, but they also used Site Scan to capture high resolution aerial imagery and easily zoom into specific areas. With this one-two combination of drones and on-site surveying, they made their QC process more focused and efficient.

Regular progress updates

Once a field engineer created a flight path for this site, they could easily re-fly the same path and automatically capture scans of the Lagoon as frequently as they wished. This made it easy to collect and share progress updates with their client and other stakeholders.

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