Home » Balfour Beatty Vinci puts Esri drone software to work on HS2

Balfour Beatty Vinci puts Esri drone software to work on HS2

by Sion Geschwindt
Balfour Beatty Vinci puts Esri drone software to work on HS2

Esri UK today announced that Balfour Beatty VINCI (BBV) has deployed its Site Scan for ArcGIS drone software on the 90km Midlands section of HS2 – the UK’s largest infrastructure project.

The software is being used to carry out drone site surveys, manage aggregate stockpiles, and monitor construction progress.

The Midland section of HS2 spans from Long Itchington Wood tunnel in the south to the West Coast Main Line tie-in near Lichfield in the north, with a major junction into Curzon Street Station in central Birmingham.

The new software was rolled out across the BBV business to almost 400 users in autumn 2021, including 13 drone pilots.

Dan Fawcett, innovation director at Balfour Beatty VINCI, explained: “We needed the right software to manage an increasingly complex and varied use of drones and meet the needs of multiple teams, from logistics to site managers to engineers.

“New digitised workflows are rapidly replacing traditional, physical working practices and introducing new levels of efficiency, accuracy and safety. On major projects such as HS2, the ROI achieved is significant.”

Faster and more efficient drone surveys are already saving around £20,000 a year on monthly construction progress surveys on a single site, says Esri.

Another benefit of deployment has been the removal of 800 ‘working at risk’ days and a cost saving of £30,000 per year from monitoring aggregate stockpiles, using a single drone operator to carry out 3D volumetric measurements in 20 minutes.

Previously, contractors would take a full day to physically measure stockpiles and calculate transport requirements, often working in steep and difficult environments.

Other applications of the new software include helping to show compliance with design tolerances in built structures against BIM and CAD models, speeding-up design cycles, particularly in earthworks and excavations design and monitoring the installation of utilities. 

Image: A drone’s perspective of the Long Itchington Wood tunnel site (credit: BBV)

Read next: AI Clearing: Unlocking real value from drone data

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