As one of Australia’s oldest construction companies, Hansen Yuncken is consistently at the forefront of change and innovation in the building industry. After adding DroneDeploy to its technology suite in 2019, the company has gone above and beyond in delivering maximum value-add to its clients and partners. And with this kind of high-level visibility, it should come as no surprise that the technology quickly spread organisation-wide.
Today, Hansen Yuncken utilises DroneDeploy software on a remarkable 20 projects, communicating day-to-day activities, changing design plans, and regular site progress to a variety of subcontractors, owners, and other stakeholders. To best articulate the impact of drone data on company processes, Tom Cumming, Senior Project Manager, says, “Working with real-time data is effective, and allows us to do more than just indicative planning.”
Performing Rework at a Moment’s Notice
Tom worked closely on the organisation’s Shepparton College project, a sprawling, detailed education building designed to hold over 2,700 students. This first-of-its-kind feat was the combination of three high schools in one, and the largest school the Victorian government had ever undertaken. Understandably, this was a heavily supervised, high-stakes project — which meant that Tom both managed and directed a twenty-one-person team of fellow project managers, site coordinators, and administrative staff. With that many eyes on the project, shifting client requests and varying design plans were the norm.
Similarly, tackling unplanned demand was something Dan Smith, BIM and VDC Manager, knew well. To address the concerns of both internal and external stakeholders, the Hansen Yuncken project team used an integrated communication approach — at the Meadowbank site, DroneDeploy was used twice a week to enable a near-live indicator of progress. At monthly meetings, this data provided a visual understanding of work done, and could then be leveraged for further reports. In fact, this process was so successful that on other projects, clients have requested Hansen Yuncken include this in all project reporting.
In this way, the Hansen Yuncken team finds a host of applications for drone technology, both on and off-site. Whether altering the build as it’s being constructed, using aerial imagery for subcontractor validation, or leveraging data pre- and post-concrete pour, each decision is documented, and able to be reviewed at any time. As a pseudo-risk mitigation tool, drone imagery is utilised for safety planning, stockpile estimation, and point cloud creation.
Driving Accountability Throughout the Construction Lifecycle
All of this became especially useful amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Because stakeholders couldn’t travel, DroneDeploy developed into an essential mechanism for communicating near-daily site progress. As all client meetings were once 100% on-site, maintaining project closeness was a priority for Tom and his team. When Hansen Yuncken’s clients decided that they wanted to change the functionality of the first floor’s design, Tom’s team quickly pivoted per their request, entirely remotely. This comprehensive drone imagery assisted stakeholders not only when team members had to change work, but also by showing them cross-functional subcontractor progress. When owners first came back onto the site post-lockdown, they were already familiar with the project, including its status. After all, for the past four months, they’d received consistent feedback from both Tom and his team.
Stakeholders enjoyed seeing live imagery in weekly meetings and the status of their project, particularly through panoramas.”
Tom Cumming, Senior Project Manager, Hansen Yuncken
Vanja Krumpacnik, Construction Manager, added that even post-pandemic, numerous supply chain issues and QAing difficulties were tackled with regular updates pushed through DroneDeploy. “Stakeholders always have the necessary information at their fingertips, even when they aren’t on-site,” he explained.
Expediting Project Timelines With Ease
Employing drones across a variety of teams has helped Hansen Yuncken regularly “beat” project timelines. Tom believes that this is likely due to minute planning efficiencies streamlined by the tool, including travel and on-site inspections. Hansen Yuncken intends to utilise drone technology in all of its new projects, and reap the benefits of automating long-held, laborious construction processes. In the future, Tom hopes to use DroneDeploy for highly architectural inspections and facade scans, but for now, the ability to document site data in minutes remains the most valuable asset to his team.