Interrelated UAS-BIM System


Application of an interrelated UAS – BIM system for construction progress monitoring, inspection and project management

By Shahab Moeini, Azzeddine Oudjehane, Tareq Baker, Wade Hawkins

Southern Alberta Institute of Technology

Calgary, Alberta, Canada



Construction progress monitoring and constant comparison between “AS Planned” and the actual state of the project “as-built” is a critical task for construction project managers to keep projects on track. Currently, progress and inspection reports are based on manual input and observation of each and every phase of the construction projects. Such processes are costly and time consuming.

Unlike the traditional method for project control, integrating advanced technologies such Building Information Modeling (BIM), Unmanned Autonomous Systems (UAS) and real-time cloud based data modeling and analysis, enable real time project control, monitoring and inspection,

Advanced BIM encompasses project As-Planned information such as design, specification, cost, and schedule which enables CPMs to have an accurate comparison between as As-Planned and the UAS based As-Built states of the project. This paper describes

  • The current state for building information modelling and unmanned aerial system in construction projects
  • A strategy for the application and integration of BIM and UAS throughout progress monitoring of the construction of a recreational facility.
  • The challenges and opportunities for full automation and data analytics towards real time project control and monitoring of Construction projects.


In the knowledge era and time of Artificial Intelligence (AI) the world is changing much faster than ever before. In a time of disruptive technologies, and rapid social, political and environmental changes, it is the moral obligation of each and every industry to transform (WEF, 2016). While this transformation will have positive impacts on construction cost, schedule, productivity, efficiency and environmental, the construction industry has remains one of the least efficient industries with an unimpressive track record in the world.

Even though other industry sectors have embraced fundamental changes over the last few decades, and have gained the benefits of advanced technological achievements, process and product innovations, the construction sector has been hesitant to fully embrace the latest technological opportunities, which has thus far resulted in stagnation of productivity in major global construction projects.

Technological advancement and market maturity of digitalization such as 3D scanning and virtual reality, in addition to Building Information Modelling (BIM), Unmanned Aerial and Ground systems (UAS and UGS), autonomous machineries and equipment and advanced building materials has provided a potential for fundamental changes to boost construction sector productivity and efficiency. While new technologies and innovation have emerged to some extent on the enterprise or company level, the rate of innovation and overall productivity in construction sector has remained nearly flat for the last 50 years (Beck, 2016).

According the World Economic Forum report in 2016, the unimpressive record of the construction industry is mainly caused by:

  • Lack of innovation and delayed adaptation
  • Informal process or insufficient rigour and consistency in process execution
  • Insufficient knowledge transfer from project to project
  • Weak project monitoring
  • Little collaboration with supplier
  • Conservative company culture
  • Little cross functional cooperation
  • Shortage of young talent and people development

Despite all the above mentioned issues and dominant conservative culture in construction sectors, few construction companies have adopted a progressive and innovative approach to pioneer the integration of advanced technologies such as BIM and UAS. This research and its outcomes herein have been the result of a collaborative approach between progressive construction industry partner/owners and academic Scholars/practitioners to: a) study the integration of the advanced BIM UAV based data into the progress reporting, technical inspection and safety analysis of the construction sites, b) demonstrate the advantages of implementing of the integrated strategy and c) identify the technical barrier to advanced technologies such as UAS in the construction sector.


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Editor’s note: Second Editions are previously published papers that have continued relevance in today’s project management world, or which were originally published in conference proceedings or in a language other than English. Original publication acknowledged; authors retain copyright. This paper was originally presented at the 4th Annual University of Maryland PM Symposium in May 2017. It is republished here with the permission of the authors and conference organizers.

About the Authors

Shahab Moeini

Alberta, Canada


Shahab Moeini
is currently completing a doctorate degree in Business Administration with a focus on organizational management with the University of Liverpool in the UK. He holds a Master of Science in Geospatial Science from the University of Salzburg and a Bachelor of Science in Natural Resource Engineering (Water Resources) from the Azad University in Iran.

Shahab started his professional career as an emergency construction manager and worked six years as a manager in charge of rehabilitation and reconstruction of municipal infrastructure after natural disasters or conflicts. He then worked 10 years as a water resources and soil engineer in water infrastructure project management before joining international organizations as a water and habitat engineer, leading projects in conflict and post-conflict zones throughout Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. In addition to his work as an instructor, Shahab is also the director of a Canadian-based consulting firm, providing project management and strategic advice to international organizations.


Dr. Azzeddine Oudjehane

Southern Alberta Institute of Technology
Calgary, Alberta, Canada


Dr. Azzeddine Oudjehane
joined SAIT to teach in and the BSc Construction Project Management in 2012 and develop applied and scholarly research opportunities meeting the needs of the construction industry in Alberta. With over 20 years of experience leading multi-disciplinary projects in R&D, business innovation and market development and performance evaluation, Dr. Oudjehane working with various stakeholders from government and industry. He is also Principal of AZZO Consulting. He holds graduate degrees in both Applied Science and Business Administration.

With over 50 publications and presentations at international conferences, Dr. Oudjehane serves in various journal review committees and has chaired sessions at conferences. In 2014, Azzeddine was elected to the Board of Directors of the Alberta Chapter for Canada Green Building Council, where he leads the Green School Initiative. Over the past year, he has given talks and presentations on sustainability and innovation in construction project management.


Dr. Tariq Baker

Alberta, Canada


Tareq Baker
holds a PhD in Environmental Design from the University of Calgary and a Master of Building Science from the University of Southern California. During his PhD, his research evaluated the performance of the mechanical system in a LEED Platinum building, while his master’s degree research focused on developing software for visualizing building performance data.

Dr. Baker’s has worked as an architectural engineer, project manager, mechanical engineer design assistant, building information modelling (BIM) specialist and building energy simulation researcher. Through his work and research experience, Tareq developed a strong passion for green building technologies, construction project management and BIM. His current research focuses mainly on the use of BIM in construction project management and the integration of BIM in evaluating building performance.


Wade Hawkins

Alberta, Canada


Wade Hawkins
holds a Geographic Information System Professional (GISP) designation from the GIS Certification Institute (GISCI) and received his Bachelor of Science (Geography) and Certificate in Geographic Information Systems and Remote Sensing from the University of Winnipeg.

Wade is a faculty member in the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) Bachelor of Applied Technology Geographic Information Systems (BGIS) program. He has been responsible for teaching and curricula development. He has taught introductory and advanced courses in Geomatics technology such as Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS), Remote Sensing, Programming and Project Management. In addition, he manages over 50 student capstone projects per year, is responsible for ongoing curriculum development and program renewal, manages software licensing and server infrastructure, and participates in Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) research activities.