Balfour Vinci JV uses Esri UK’s drone management to save money and de-risk work on HS2

A drone image of the Long Itchington Wood Tunnel site on the HS2 project
The Balfour Beatty Vinci joint venture (BBV) on the Midlands section of HS2 is saving money and has removed 800 working-at-risk days after rolling out Esri UK’s Site Scan for ArcGIS drone flight management and image processing software.

BBV is saving around £20,000 a year on monthly construction progress surveys thanks to faster and more efficient drone surveys (taking the place of physical surveys and the subsequent updating of CAD models) with 2D and 3D outputs.

Furthermore, 800 working-at-risk days have been removed and a cost saving of £30,000 a year has been generated 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 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.

Cloud-based flight management

Site Scan for ArcGIS is Esri’s cloud-based drone flight management and image processing software, offering flight planning, hardware management, scalable image processing and unlimited data storage, plus integration with BBV’s Esri enterprise GIS system.

The new software was rolled out across the BBV business to almost 400 users in autumn 2021, including 13 drone pilots. Super-user training for Site Scan is being provided by Esri UK partner Heliguy.

Dan Fawcett, innovation director at BBV, said: “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.”

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