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Using Drones and Photogrammetry to Create 3D Models for Building Renovations


Business Geomatics highlighted how Wierig Profiltechnik uses a UAV solution from Microdrones for the renovation of industrial halls and roofs. The goal is to create a 3D point cloud to assist in the rehabilitation planning.

Click in the image above to download a German .pdf of the article

Growth strategy through drone flight

As Seen in Business Geomatics

April 29, 2019


Since 2018, Wierig Profiltechnik has been using a md4-1000 + from Microdrones to obtain the most accurate results possible.

Our German speaking friends can click the Business Geomatics logo above, for a German .pdf of the article.  It can also be found online by clicking here.  An English version of the article can be read below.

“Hall renovation with a system"- this is the slogan used by Wierig Profiltechnik for their proposals. The company offers hall construction management from a single source. The basis for this is a renovation plan, which is derived from a 3D inventory of the building from a drone flight. The 3D model created by photogrammetric measurement is not just a starting point for creating the proposal. Rather, the BIM idea is implemented over the entire lifecycle of a project.

Measurement before the proposal

This makes Wierig Profiltechnik, from Siegburg near Bonn, a pioneer in the industry. In the field of renovation of industrial halls and buildings, until now, a multi-level survey concept had been the order of the day. In the proposal phase, buildings are initially roughly recorded and inventoried, in order to capture the size and scope of the project and obtain a reasonable calculation analysis. If the project comes to fruition, a second, more accurate survey is routinely performed. As a rule, this includes an inspection of the roof, which is usually the most sensitive part of renovations. "All in all, this is extensive field work that often requires additional measurement. After all, the calculation is based on rudimentary data, and this guarantees unforeseeable developments in almost all renovation projects,” says Managing Director Stephan Wierig.

Furthermore, the roof and wall cladding of industrial halls are now tailored to fit the existing situation. Each piece of formwork must accurately fit the intended position. If the measurement is wrong, the formwork parts must be extensively adapted or even rebuilt.

In order to bring a "system" into this process, Wierig Systemtechnik has blazed their own path in the industry since its founding in 2012, by incorporating drones into gathering data and measurements. By taking a systematic approach to hall renovation, the company promises that no additional costs will arise. "Our offer, created on the basis of the drone capture, is rock solid, and our customers can rely on it 100 percent,” says Wierig. However, the BIM-based method does involve additional work even before the proposal is created. "With more transparency, reliability and effectiveness, however, this will pay for itself many times over," says the managing director. His company, which is already active throughout Germany, pursues a clear growth strategy. Drone deployment underpins this goal. "At the moment, our experience puts us at the very forefront of the market," Wierig is convinced.

There is no getting around quality

In the beginning, the entrepreneur procured a drone from an entry-level system of a Chinese manufacturer to measure the buildings from the air. Since Wierig uses the drone-created point cloud and the modeling based on it throughout the project, it quickly became clear that highly accurate data was required.

The system also has to be capable of using the technology to capture the façades and roof design. The corresponding panels and façade elements must be fitted exactly into the structure. The manufacturers specialize in making custom-made products and require planners to accurately measure them. "This requires precision that is accurate to the millimeter," says Wierig. Errors in measurement can create high consequential costs in the projects.

To help prevent errors, Wierig Systemtechnik needed to find a UAV solution that can meet these accuracy requirements. The Rhinelanders found what they were looking for at Microdrones in Siegen. The company focuses on surveying solutions and offers a wide range of integrated systems for almost any accuracy requirement. In late summer of 2018, Wierig acquired an md4-1000+ with two interchangeable sensor systems. Features include a Sony RX1R2 camera and a thermal imaging camera (For Duo Pro). Both are equipped with a special image stabilizer (brushless gimbal).

Brushless electric motors are used to exactly compensate for the drone's movements and thus achieve the most stable shots possible. "We can reliably generate the millimeter-range accuracy that we need," says Wierig about the new system.

Research and thermography

Thermography is a new application for Wierig Profiltechnik. An integrated thermal imaging camera is used to detect the location of thermal bridges in the structure. In the field of renovation, this is intended to improve energy efficiency, but is also used in solar energy systems to detect system errors.

"On-site surveying usually takes about an hour," says Wierig, who also works as a pilot himself enabling him to closely track the drone surveying. During this period, control points are also measured, which are necessary to obtain point clouds with the highest accuracy. The company uses software from Agisoft for data evaluation.

The drone division of Wierig Profiltechnik now has three employees, and the company is currently hiring another specialist for photogrammetry. Finally, some development work also awaits the specialists. "Our goal is to implement a largely automated process, from data acquisition to planning," says the civil engineer. This requires extensive development work.

In this endeavor, the company is also active in research projects. In cooperation with Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi), Wierig Profiltechnik is working  with the Rhine-Westphalian Technical University (RWTH) Aachen to improve the sustainability and energy efficiency of building envelopes. The aim is to research components and connections as well as new process techniques for calculating and assembling innovative technologies. In this process, the drones equipped with thermal imaging cameras are used to identify thermal bridges.

If you or your company is interested in learning more about making Microdrones a part of your workflow, click here to speak with a representative.