Taking It to the Skies

Drone footage Brightview Columbia

By Project Solutions Manager Ralph Kreider and Project Engineer Carlos Zuluaga

While still an emergent technology, Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), more commonly known as drones, have made their way into the construction industry and are here to stay. Today’s drones pack a big punch, helping our jobsites streamline project documentation, reducing safety and quality control concerns, and increasing stakeholder engagement while demonstrating a high return on investment. To determine if a drone is right for the project, one must first evaluate what types of results will be delivered, the cost of implementation, the right equipment to use, and overall best practices. Many of our projects have decided to fully embrace this technology by purchasing a dedicated drone to be used for generating maps and 3D models, leveraging
data from aerial point clouds, and creating contour maps.

THE BENEFITS

Drones are capable of easily, rapidly, and cost-effectively capturing aerial imagery. To drive greater awareness of this proven technology on Harkins projects, we delve into five benefits of drones:

  • Real-time imaging: A picture is worth a thousand words! Project stakeholders, especially during COVID-19, have been thrilled to see progress photos of their projects. This is a fantastic way to cost-effectively share weekly or monthly progress reports.
  • Overall job perspective: The aerial view gives the team a different, valuable perspective. Our team can view a high-resolution drone map and quickly catch or anticipate any site access issues, potential drainage problems, or threats to health and safety.
  • Progress monitoring: It is challenging to capture photos week after week with the same view, location, or altitude. Drones solve this problem with easy to repeat flights each week so that progress photos and reports always look consistent and capture key information needed.
  • Progress payments: With the ability to track progress on definable features of work such as concrete footings, slab, groundwork, retaining walls, utilities, and framing, our team can quantify work in place for billing.
  • Improved communication: Communication is everything on a jobsite. With so many different types of contractors coming in and out, site condition changes, weather changes, and more, it becomes vital to keep an eye on the big picture.

Drone transition photos

Drones have quickly become a must-have tool in the construction industry. Whether your jobsite already has a drone, or you are just beginning to consider the idea, drones can help increase the efficiency of workflow, increase productivity, and create a more informed, collaborative team experience.

Coping With Material Shortages

Dealing with material shortages during covid-19

By Project Executive Casey Hughes and Vice President of Preconstruction Omar Black

The pandemic has created countless challenges for the construction industry. One of the difficulties affecting contractors across the country is the disruption of the supply chain. The ripple effect of material delays and shortages is impacting projects today and will continue to do so. Upstream supply chain shortages of raw materials, coupled with manufacturers struggling to support factory production rates due to staffing restrictions, have created an all-time low supply of new products. During this material shortage, demand has simultaneously surged. Housing starts continue to trend upwards, low-interest rates have incentivized large purchases, and diminished inventory levels are creating a backlog of orders.

While every day brings a new challenge, trades that are facing the current market shift include:

Dealing with material shortages during covid-19

Harkins is focused on implementing creative solutions to mitigate project impacts in a variety of ways, including:

  • Early Project Involvement: Harkins’ early involvement in the project allows us to obtain materials with long lead times well before they are needed, in lieu of just-in-time contracting. By partnering with the design team, we are able to help specify products and designs that are readily available or work together to find alternative materials to ensure that disruptions are minimized.
  • Advanced Management of Supply Chain: Historically, Harkins has always emphasized effective supply chain management on our projects. In our current environment, this focus has intensified even further. By monitoring our buyout schedules, long lead time logs, material control logs, and 90-day schedules, we have been successful in receiving the necessary materials and products by the scheduled dates.
  • Strong Relationships: Harkins has been leveraging our 55-year history and relationships with our clients, design teams, key trade partners, suppliers, and vendors to ensure that we are receiving the most up-to-date information about materials. This team collaboration is essential to formulating the most appropriate mitigation strategy.
  • Investigating Creative Storage Solutions & Buying Arrangements: Harkins is working with our owners and design teams on accelerated submittals and, in some cases, expedited shipping. Other arrangements, such as buying materials and storing them before they are needed, are also in consideration.

We will continue to monitor the market trends that our industry is facing, and Harkins will adapt accordingly. If you have any questions about how Harkins can help with material concerns, please reach out to Project Executive Casey Hughes at chughes@harkinsbuilders.com.