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AI is here. Will Construction AI change the industry forever?

Construction robot on a construction site saying i am artificial inteligence

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been transforming many industries over the years, and the construction industry is no exception. With the help of AI, the construction industry is becoming more efficient, safer, and sustainable already! In this blog, we will explore the ways in which AI is being used within the construction industry, the benefits and challenges, and the future of AI in construction.

What is AI in Construction?

AI in construction refers to the use of machine learning algorithms and other technologies to not only optimize construction processes and improve project outcomes but help optimise the construction process in any way. AI systems use data analysis, predictive analytics, and natural language processing to streamline construction workflows, improve safety, and reduce costs sometimes with the help of other hardware such as cameras, machinery and other measurement tools.

Benefits of AI in Construction

  • Safety: One of the biggest benefits of AI in construction is its ability to improve safety on construction sites. AI can analyse and predict potential safety hazards, alert workers of potential dangers, and help to prevent accidents from occurring.
  • Efficiency: AI can improve construction efficiency by automating repetitive and time-consuming tasks. This allows workers to focus on more complex and high-value tasks that require human skills and expertise.
  • Quality: AI can improve the quality of construction projects by analysing data and identifying potential defects before they become problems. This helps to reduce the need for rework and ensures that projects are completed to a high standard.
  • Sustainability: AI can help to make construction projects more sustainable by analysing data on energy usage, waste management, and other environmental factors. This can help to reduce the environmental impact of construction projects and promote sustainable practices.

  • Challenges of AI in Construction

    • Data Quality: AI systems rely on high-quality data to make accurate predictions and recommendations. Poor-quality data can lead to inaccurate results and undermine the effectiveness of AI systems.
    • Cost: Implementing AI systems can be expensive, and the initial investment may be a barrier to adoption for some construction companies.
    • Integration: Integrating AI systems into existing workflows can be a challenge. Construction companies may need to invest in new technologies or modify existing processes to accommodate AI systems.
    • Trust: AI systems may be met with scepticism by workers and stakeholders who are accustomed to traditional construction methods. Building trust in AI systems will require education and clear communication about the benefits and limitations of the technology.

    • Examples of AI in Construction

      • Predictive Maintenance: AI systems can be used to predict equipment failures before they occur, allowing for preventative maintenance and reducing downtime.
      • Site Safety: AI can analyse data from cameras and other sensors to identify potential safety hazards and alert workers in real-time.
      • Quality Control: AI can analyse data on construction materials and identify defects or inconsistencies that could affect the quality of a project.
      • Project Management: AI can analyse data on construction schedules, budgets, and resources to identify potential delays or cost overruns.
      • Design and Planning: AI can analyse data on building performance, energy usage, and other factors to optimize building design and reduce environmental impact.

      • Some examples of AI already in use within construction applications include: which uses ai to convert pdf's to scaled and layered 3D models for roadbuilding, Dusty robots which automate the layout process in a construction process aiming to reduce materials and workforce costs and which uses 360 degree cameras in order to map out the construction area to enable crossfunctional teams to collaborate remotely and more.

        Construction AI Example -

        Construction is a complex industry that requires constant monitoring and collaboration between teams to ensure that projects are progressing according to plan. Fortunately, artificial intelligence (AI) is making this process easier and more efficient with tools like OpenSpace.

        OpenSpace is a software that uses AI technology to capture 360-degree images of construction sites in real-time, similar to the navigation system used by Google Street View. The software allows staff at construction and engineering firm NG Bailey to take images of sites while they walk around them and share them rapidly with colleagues and clients to check on the progress of the project.

        The technology has become an essential component of NG Bailey's digital toolkit, and staff have been able to adopt it with ease and minimal training. The software is intuitive and straightforward to use, and onboarding projects is made easier with virtual help online. The 360-degree camera can be paired with a company smartphone, and the data captured is stored in the cloud with details and vantage points similar to Google Street View.

        OpenSpace is primarily used to maintain a digital record of weekly progress on construction sites. It allows teams to collaborate remotely, reducing travelling time in line with the company's carbon reduction policy. Design teams can visit the site virtually and collaborate with the project teams on-site in real-time, reducing the need for everyone to travel to the site.

        The software integrates well with NG Bailey's bid software, allowing the firm to use it for pre-scans of sites when tendering for jobs. OpenSpace also works with the company's BIM model, giving easy comparisons as the actual image captured is rotated, the digital model rotates as well.

        If there are any issues on site, staff can mark them up in the model, and the engineers and design teams can adjust the design accordingly. This way, everyone can stay up-to-date on the project's progress, and any changes that need to be made can be done quickly.

        Clients appreciate OpenSpace because it requires minimal effort from users and operators but provides a 360-degree record of the building asset. It is used for tracking progress, checking quality, resolving disputes, and enabling teamwork and cooperation within the wider stakeholder group.

        OpenSpace's time machine functionality allows proof to be produced of what has happened stage-by-stage on a site. Within a few clicks, staff can go back to any part of the building to see what happened between two time points.

        NG Bailey is moving towards a world of semi-real-time digital reporting with OpenSpace, and there will be many more possibilities for AI technology in the construction industry.

        Future of AI in Construction

        The future of AI in construction is bright. As AI systems become more advanced and accessible, we can expect to see even greater benefits in safety, efficiency, and sustainability. Some areas of development to watch out for include:

        • Robotics: AI-powered robots can be used for tasks like bricklaying, welding, and excavation, reducing the need for manual labor and increasing efficiency.
        • Drones: Drones equipped with AI-powered cameras and sensors can be used for site inspections, surveying, and mapping, providing real-time data to construction teams.
        • Augmented Reality: AI-powered augmented reality tools can be used to visualize construction designs in 3D, allowing workers to see how different materials and finishes will look in real-time.

        What is the future of construction when it comes to AI?

        AI is transforming the construction industry by improving safety, efficiency, and sustainability. While there are challenges to overcome, such as data quality and integration, the benefits of AI in construction are significant and will continue to grow in the future. As AI systems become more advanced and accessible, we can expect to see even more innovative applications of the technology in construction.

        Construction companies that embrace AI can gain a competitive advantage by improving project outcomes and reducing costs. However, it is important to remember that AI should not replace human workers, but rather complement their skills and expertise. The future of construction will be one where humans and AI work together to create safer, more efficient, and sustainable buildings and infrastructure.

        In conclusion, AI is transforming the construction industry and has the potential to revolutionize the way we design, build, and maintain the built environment. By embracing AI, construction companies can stay ahead of the curve and create a better future for us all.

        Want to find out more about the construction industry? Start with its occupations.