The construction sector remains one of the top five industries driving the world economy. With the advent of digital era, construction companies have started investing in digital solutions to overcome common project challenges and obtain better results. A lot of that investments are taking place especially around artificial intelligence.
What is Artificial Intelligence (AI)?
Artificial intelligence (AI) can be explained as a technology that empowers machines to impersonate human cognitive functions such as pattern recognition, problem-solving, and learning. It is that branch of computer science that deals with the construction of smart machines which are efficient enough to perform tasks that generally require human intellect.
AI paves way for smart construction processes
The potential uses of AI in construction industry are massive. AI functions like a smart assistant which can assists civil engineers in completing their projects in an improved way. AI is one of the technologies which is greatly influencing the future of construction processes. Here are some applications of AI in the construction sector.
1. AI helps in mitigating threats
Almost every phase of a construct project has some or other risks involved in it. It can be risks associated with the quality, safety, time, or cost. Especially, mega projects which are usually complex in nature are greatly prone to threats. This is because such projects involve numerous sub-contractors working on different jobs in parallel. Additionally, AI also helps in assigning priority to complex tasks and issues. It can be used by contractors to detect and prioritize risks on the construction site. Hence, the project team can give limited time and resources for risky jobs and concentrate on other important tasks that are sure to succeed.
2. AI helps in preventing budget overrun
Sometimes, there are cases where projects run over the budget regardless of hiring the best project teams. To avoid this, Artificial Neural Networks can used on projects, which helps in predicting cost overruns depending on factors such as type of the contract, size of the project, and the efficiency of project managers. Historical data including planned start and end dates are used by predictive models to foresee realistic timelines for the upcoming projects. Moreover, AI can also be used to remotely offer real-life training material to the employees which will eventually help them improve their skills and knowledge. This helps in cutting down the time required to onboard new employees on a project and helps in finishing it on time.
3. AI helps in effective planning of projects
Many construction firms have now started using artificial intelligence to solve delayed and over budget construction projects. These firms are making use of AI powered robots to capture 3D scans of construction sites and then upload that data into a deep neural network that categorizes how well ahead different sub-projects are. If the tasks are off target, the management team can intervene to solve small glitches and issues before they develop into complex problems.
4. AI helps in improved designing of buildings using generative design
A 3D model-based process called Building Information Modeling is used by architects, engineers, and construction professionals to gain insights to effcetively plan, design, construct and manage construction projects. The 3D model considers the architecture, engineering, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) plans and the order of activities of the respective teams. The challenging part here is to confirm that the different models from the sub-teams do not collide with each other. TO solve this problem, building contractors are making use of AI in the form of generative design to detect and mitigate collisions among different models developed by the different teams in the planning and design stage—for avoiding rework.
5. AI helps in increasing productivity on construction sites
The invention of AI powered self-driving construction equipment has been seen as boon to the growing a construction business. Such machineries are used to carry out monotonous jobs more effectively than human workers, for instance, bricklaying, demolition, pouring concrete, and welding. The process of excavation can be carried out by such autonomous or semi-autonomous bulldozers, which make the construction site ready for further work. This reduces the burden, time, and energy of human workers. Hence, human workforce can be utilized for other complex task which will speed up the overall time require to finish the project. Using AI, project managers can also keep an eye on the construction processes in real time. They use onsite cameras, facial recognition, and similar technologies to evaluate workers productivity and conformance to processes.
AI to change the future of construction industry
Scientists have predicted that AI, robotics, and the Internet of Things can decrease overall cost associated with the construction of buildings by around 20%. The cost efficiency and the availability of advanced artificial intelligence products are expected to drive the AI in construction market in the near future, says a report by Research Dive.
Nowadays, many organizations have started using AI to develop safety systems for worksites. Analysts have predicted that AI is likely to alter business models in the construction sector, eliminate expensive errors, decrease worksite injuries, and make building operations more efficient. As a final point, it is clear that AI is truly going to transform the face of construction industry in the near future.