The Role of AI in Construction Technology
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has crept into our everyday lives without us even noticing it. Alexa, Siri, and a bunch of other AI-powered developments are now the norm, and we use them without batting an eyelid. Many industries like healthcare, financial services, logistics, and e-commerce have been quick to see the benefits of AI to help their businesses improve and grow.
The construction industry, however, is well known for being slow on the uptake of digitization and having a long-standing resistance to change. Despite this, AI-based technology has crept into the picture and the industry is (grudgingly) seeing its benefits. Construction companies that adopt AI technologies to enhance and improve their workflows are likely to get an edge over their competitors.
Demystifying AI in the Construction Industry
To understand how AI works for the construction industry, let’s first have a look at what it is. Artificial Intelligence is a term for technology that blends computer technology with human cognitive functions like problem-solving or pattern recognition. Machine Learning is a subset of AI where computers use statistical techniques to ‘learn’ and get better at providing insights from data. And if there’s anything the construction industry is good at – it’s producing huge amounts of data!
Popular Uses of AI in Construction
AI gives construction companies the ability to take a deep dive into the data they produce and leverage it to solve complex issues and streamline processes for cost savings, risk management, mitigating schedule overruns, improving health and safety, and a whole lot more.
1. Controlling Costs
As anyone who has managed a construction project will tell you, project costs can spiral out of control easily. AI models use historical data including project size, contracts, recruiting strategies, and a whole lot more to predict where costs can run over and even project delays.
AI can also help predict employee attrition, forecast labour shortages in particular areas and help overcome these pain points by providing training and retention strategies to limit costs and project delays.
2. Building Information Modeling
Building Information Modeling (BIM) is an AI technology that is having a huge impact on the construction industry. It is a method for intelligent software modelling that allows architects, engineers, and contractors to work together to efficiently plan, design, and operate buildings. They can create 3D, 4D (including time), and 5D (including costs) models of buildings. Machine Learning helps create design alternatives while also ensuring workplaces for different teams like electrical, HVAC etc., don’t clash with each other while working parallelly.
3. Improved Health and Safety
AI can help improve health and safety in a myriad of ways. Drones can be used to take pictures of job sites and AI interprets them to ensure various health and safety methods are being followed. For example, to detect the presence or absence of safety gear. Any infringements are then automatically reported to the concerned health and safety officers. AI-powered robots or drones can also be used for site inspections in tight spaces or high areas like electrical poles and chimneys without putting human lives at risk.
4. Supply Chain Optimization
AI technology from other industries can be applied as construction technology too. Retail chain management software can reduce manufacturing downtime, reduce oversupply, and increase the predictability of shipments.
Similarly, AI programs used in the transportation industry can be used to optimize travel routes for the duration and cost of fuel within the construction industry too.
5. Risk Assessments
Risk assessments are a huge part of any construction project. The ability of AI to process huge amounts of data to generate predictive insights and can recalculate the probability of risk using real-time data, allows managers to prevent risks before they occur. It can predict schedule delays based on the progress of activities, detect early signs of conflict between contractors and subcontractors based on written communication (or lack thereof), analyze punch sheets, and more.
6. Post-Construction Operations
The use of AI continues once a building or structure is complete. Sensors, drones, and other technologies can be used to monitor the performance of a structure. It can notify concerned parties about upcoming scheduled maintenance as well as determine when preventive maintenance needs to be carried out.
North Construction is one of Canada’s most innovative technologically advanced heavy construction contractors. Our use of cutting-edge construction technology improves processes, and outcomes and provides innovative construction solutions for any project.