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Drone trial begins for Abu Dhabi engineering inspections

Abu Dhabi City Municipality is testing how drones can help to improve the quality and efficiency of construction monitoring and inspection

Abu Dhabi City Municipality has launched a programme to test how drones can contribute to construction site monitoring and inspection [representational image].
Abu Dhabi City Municipality has launched a programme to test how drones can contribute to construction site monitoring and inspection [representational image].

Drones are being trialled for engineering inspection at construction sites in Abu Dhabi.

Part of Abu Dhabi City Municipality’s (ADM) policy to “encourage the use of modern communication” tools to implement construction, the initiative involves drones being fitted with cameras to inspect building work in the UAE capital.

ADM is using the trial to evaluate aspects related to drone use – such as the item’s registration and its specifications, security permit procedures, and identifying areas where drones can be flown.

The operation also factors in the “geographical environs” of ADM, as well as a drone’s ability to withstand harsh climatic conditions, plus its distance and altitude. Quality assurance standards are also being identified through the programme, and linking a drone and ADM’s operation room are also being studied.

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These insights will be examined, and the programme’s feasibility will be assessed, to launch the technology’s final and practical phase.

HE Saif Bader Al Qubaisi, general manager of ADM, launched the trial phase of the project, aimed at capitalising on the technology to deliver various service operations and making further efficiency improvements.

The trial phase’s launch is to ensure that all work implemented with drones complies to applicable local standards, as well as ADM’s licensing conditions, Eng Mohammed Omar Basaleeb, director of building permits at ADM, said.

He added: “The use of this innovative technology in remote monitoring and inspecting construction sites enables engineers and staff to continuously monitor all developments at construction sites. They can receive live and integrated panoramic images of all construction phases through the tech.

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“The system enables the generation of accurate engineering reports in cooperation with the engineers of [ADM’s] Building Permits Division, which is concerned with the monitoring and inspection of construction sites, to ensure that they are compliant with all the stipulations of construction.”

Drone-based inspection can shorten task times for engineers, allowing them to coordinate with site contractors to examine, view, and inspect a project’s component. Basaleeb said the drone platform would also offer a “full description” of the situation, and help to document each project phase in “live video clips”, helping to improve construction quality.

He added: “The technology also contributes to achieving sustainability standards through saving fuel consumption, [which is done] by reducing the movement of vehicles of engineers and engineering inspectors, [thus] reducing carbon emissions and protecting the environment.”

The trial run’s completion will be followed by ADM’s review of how the technology’s scope can be widened for all of the agency’s projects. Basaleeb said ADM would coordinate with the drone technology team to deliver training courses that would qualify engineers for drone use. Inspection and engineering monitoring would be the first part of this operation.

“The scope of using drones will be broadened to improve other services,” Basaleeb added, according to an ADM statement.

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Construction Week - Issue 746
Jul 20, 2019