Drones are a powerful tool to help contractors, surveyors, and other professionals get amazing still images and videos to document their site. This is an excellent use-case, and customers love it! However, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Another deliverable that I am seeing more and more customers receive is a 3D drone model. Using software or web applications like ContextCapture, Pix4D, DroneDeploy, or others allows you to take 2D images and create a 3D, digital twin of the project. Building the model is easy to do, especially if you have a little guidance from a qualified source. Here are five ways to wow your clients with a 3D digital twin of their site
1. 2D Aerial Images Aren’t Enough
It’s been common practice to provide owners aerial images of their project since the 90s. Monthly progress photos continue today and are still great to provide. However, leading contractors are providing their customers with 3D models as well. Providing a digital twin of the site every week is a great way of keeping your owner current on job progress. It’s also a way to support them with their internal monthly progress reports.
2. Give Them the Tools to Show Off Your Work
Everyone has a boss. Give your customer the tools to show off your quality work to their supervisors, their customers, significant other, and friends. Many of these various stakeholders don’t visit the site often. This is an excellent way of keeping them in the loop on how the job is progressing. I have found that the best way to get repeat business is by making your customer look good to their boss.
3. 2D Overlays on 3D Models
A great way to show you’re owner that you are building exactly what’s on the plans is with overlays. PDF files of the plans can easily be layered on top of the model. Having the dark lines of a spread footing lay perfectly over the image of the excavation screams, “these guys know what they're doing.” The overlays let you prove you’re giving them what they paid for.
4. Document the Building for the Future
Show your owner that you’re thinking beyond today and have their long-term success in mind. With a few ground control points, a 3D model with sub-inch accuracy is easy to create. Sending the drone up before the underground utilities are buried, siding is hung, or roofing laid, is a great way to document the building condition while it’s constructed. That model will be a great tool when you build their next job.
5. Quantities Take-Offs with Confidence
Billing can be painful if contractors need to prove exactly how much work they are entitled to. A digital twin makes it easy to take-off area, volume, and material quantities, so owners feel comfortable that they are only paying for the work completed. If it improves cash flow, this tool will quickly pay for itself.