Case study: drone data supports faster and safer jetty repair

The challenge

Civil and environmental contractors Land & Water were commissioned to repair the jetty at CEMEX's Dagenham Depot on the Thames, used to load and unload aggregates for transport on the river.

CEMEX Dagenham Depot jetty

The key task was to manufacture and install new rubbing strips onto the existing structure, however this was made more complex by the numerous bolts protruding from the jetty supports, which the new fenders had to fit around.


The solution

After discussing a number of options Levitate was tasked to create a point cloud/3D model of the jetty using drone imagery.

Operating from the jetty we captured 700+ images of the structure while on site for only a few hours.

The images were processed into a point cloud using specialist software and delivered to Land & Water and their surveyor.

The point cloud was then imported into a CAD system and measurements taken from which pre-drilling/routing of the new rubber strips could be completed in advance of delivery to site.

Close-up of jetty

The result

This approach saved considerable time and money, avoiding the need for difficult and risky drilling on the jetty which might otherwise have been required to ensure an accurate fit.

The imagery also created a permanent visual record of the jetty structure and helped identify areas in need of repair.

The use of drones to inspect similar difficult-to-access CEMEX assets is now being evaluated, as in this instance there were clear quality, cost and safety benefits.


Client feedback


Kevin Kirkland, Construction Director, Land & Water

“The decision to undertake the point cloud survey saved an enormous amount of time, we were able to pre-drill each individual rubbing strip off-site making the installation process far more efficient. Each fender unit had its own unique dimensions and was tailored to fit over the existing timbers. It was a great use of technology, which enabled us to model the installation sequence."

Point cloud generated from drone imagery

David Hakes, Engineering Project Manager, CEMEX

"CEMEX has been really pleased with the innovative use of technology to overcome the specified access and marine challenges this job presented. The use of the drone to gather point data in order to prefabricate the fender increased the overall safety of the job while at the same time developed what we see as best practice for engineering design in a challenging environment."

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Levitate Aerial Imaging Ltd | t: 0203 478 0609 | contact@levitate-aerial.co.uk

Aerial photography, filming, inspection & surveys in Surrey, Sussex, Hampshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, the Thames Valley, London and beyond

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