AI in construction. What is it and what are the implications for the construction industry?
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has the potential to make a big difference to the construction sector. Issues in output and growth could be solved by the integration of technology that makes it easier to improve building design, prevent costly project overruns or improve the efficiency of building sites. AI essentially enables technology to apply the human qualities of problem-solving, pattern recognition and learning to tech functions, and the outcomes can be transformative. These are just a few of the ways in which AI could impact the construction sector in the years to come.
Managing and monitoring risk
In any construction project risk is a key factor, whether that relates to quality, safety or cost. Integrating AI has the potential for better risk monitoring and management, from automatically assigning a certain level of risk to a specific issue to identifying those subcontractors who present the most risk so that the team can work more closely with them.
Improving efficiency on site
The implications of AI for the building site could be seismic. Autonomous vehicles and equipment can be introduced to tackle the most repetitive or dangerous tasks to take them out of the hands of human operatives, for example. Excavation and prep work can also be handled by an AI leaving human team members free to contribute to more high level jobs elsewhere.
The issue of labour shortages
Skills gaps are a big problem for the construction sector today, especially in the light of current uncertainty over the flow of workers from the EU. The use of machines fuelled by AI could help to solve this. Plus, according to recent research construction firms could boost productivity by as much as 50% through real-time analysis of data. This is simply done via better planning and ongoing evaluation and tweaking by an AI when it comes to making the most of resources.
Allowing for more off-site construction
There is the potential for much more efficient build processes where autonomous machines can be used to construct larger elements off-site. Walls, for example, can be built by autonomous machines in a much more efficient way than humans would handle the process. These can then be added on site and details such as plumbing and electricity handled by human workers.
Better, more accurate planning
Issues such as project overrun and going over budget can cripple a construction business. AI has the potential to prevent this from happening, for example using data and 3D scans fed into the AI so that it can monitor progress and make assumptions about how to ensure the project remains on track. Algorithms that use “reinforcement learning” mean the AI can apply an endless series of combinations of solutions from other projects to find the one that works.
After the construction has finished
Building information modelling (BIM) ensures that information about the building continues to be stored once construction has come to an end. An AI can be used to keep an eye on this information and flag up issues – as well as their potential solutions.
The implications of AI in construction are largely positive and there are some fantastic opportunities for businesses to make savings on time and cost.
To see how we could help with your latest construction project, get in touch with The RG Group today.