How PCL Construction Uses Drones for QA/QC

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

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The Project

The Project

A 7.3 Crystal Lagoon swimming pool near Tampa, Florida

The Need

The Need

PCL needed a fast and accurate surveying solution

The Solution

The Solution

Site Scan reduced PCL's survey time from 1.5 days to 10 minutes

The Results

The Results

1000s of points captured to create a rich cut-and-fill analysis, and detailed maps and photos for tracking and sharing progress on site


Founded in 1906, PCL Construction is a leader in construction services across the United States, Canada, and Australia.


Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Products Used
  • 3DR Site Scan
  • 3DR Drone with Sony R10C Camera
  • DJI Phantom 4 Pro

PCL Construction has always looked for ways to engineer more value and efficiency in their projects

The company started looking into drones in 2016. Today, they have a fleet of drones across dozens of offices, and superintendents are using the data on a daily basis to plan, report progress, and more.

PCL Construction is a group of independent construction companies with over 4,400 employees across the United States, Canada, and Australia. Since 1906 they have helped project owners to construct the physical world around us. Their philosophy is “Build it Right, Build it Once”, with a goal of providing Excellence, Leadership, and Unsurpassed value on every project.

PCL Orlando was contracted to build the first-ever Crystal Lagoon project in the United States – a 7.3 acre swimming pool just north of Tampa, Florida. The size of the site and time pressure to complete the project provided unique challenges. As a result, PCL couldn’t rely on the traditional surveying methods they had used on other projects.

PCL needed a solution that could quickly survey the large site, Verifying grade elevations at key stages of the project, provide vetter prioritization of QC efforts, and allow for easily sharing progress reports with internal and external stakeholders. PCL looked at evaluating a drone surveying solution



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

Bill BenningtonVirtual Construction Manager, PCL Construction

Site Scan as a Solution

PCL chose 3DR’s Site Scan as their drone solution. Site Scan allowed PCL to frequently survey the lagoon, make their QA/QC processes more focused and efficient, and easily share aerial photos and data with their team.

Thanks to Site Scan’s simplified surveying workflow, Autodesk software integrations, and dedicated customer support resources, PCL was able to quickly implement use of Site Scan to help manage the Crystal Lagoon project.

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.

PCL survey results

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.

"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 BenningtonVirtual Construction Manager, PCL Construction


Today, PCL uses Site Scan across dozens of projects in throughout the United States and Canada. Site Scan has helped PCL to manage projects over their lifetimes across different sites and regional offices in a single secure and scalable database. Their goal of providing unsurpassed value to their project owners is now simpler to achieve with cutting edge reality capture and BIM management practices with Site Scan.

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