Utilizing AI in the Construction Process
As AI continues to flourish in the construction industry, it will become commonplace to see job sites with AI-supported systems.
In construction, details are everything.
Companies are losing millions of dollars in productivity using outdated equipment. This, in turn, has paved the way for AI to emerge on sites around the globe, reinventing the construction process.
AI’s impact on construction has been profound. By supporting on-site cameras, project managers are given real-time visuals around the clock, allowing them to not only see when a mistake is being made, but also to predict mistakes and prevent them from occurring. The ability to anticipate problem areas keeps projects moving forward on schedule, minimizing waste.
AI Boosts Productivity + Efficiency
Among the most challenging tasks for project managers is building detailed projects under a strict timeline. Managers must ensure all stakeholders are satisfied with the day-to-day progress, as well as the budgeting. Although mistakes are inevitable, AI is playing a major role in increasing project efficiency while reducing the overall number of errors. A 2017 report predicted that construction firms could boost productivity by as much as 50 per cent through real-time data analysis.
With AI’s provision of actionable insights, site managers are able to understand what strategies are working and what needs to be improved. The heightened levels of transparency eliminate surprises, allowing projects to be completed on time and on budget. Project managers are now equipped with unprecedented access to their sites, allowing them to anticipate and prevent mistakes, ultimately minimizing waste.
Site managers have greatly benefited from the additional levels of control provided by AI. The ability to analyze all activities in real time provides all stakeholders complete control down to the finest details on site. AI gathers insights into processes such as equipment utilization, truck arrivals and departures, and personnel on the site at any given time. Additionally, AI-supported software tracks progress and security, alerts managers to potential delays, and allows managers to make better decisions based on these advanced analytics.
AI Improves On-Site Safety
Anticipation is a key component to improving safety. Promoting on-site safety has proven difficult, with dozens of subcontractors working on projects simultaneously. The dynamics of job sites are constantly changing, so managing site safety is extremely complex.
Statistics indicate the mounting dangers of construction work. Struck-by deaths, or on-site deaths where a worker is struck by an object, have spiked by 34 per cent since 2010. Worse yet, construction workers are killed on the job five times more often than any other workers, with an average of 14 workers dying on the job every day. Managers must remain aware of potential risk areas. Advanced technology provides enhanced levels of supervision to improve site safety.
AI aims to understand the nuances within a construction site to automatically identify and assign priority to issues. The algorithms facilitate understanding and anticipation of complex problems, allowing managers to make informed decisions and mitigate risks.
Increased on-site visibility and awareness with AI software is a major step toward reducing workplace injuries. Interactive dashboards give construction managers the ability to be proactive and better understand where specifically to focus their planning, training, and instruction.
Simply put, “being careful” is no longer acceptable safety procedure. Addressing problems is good. Understanding why problems arise is better.
AI Allows For Prefabricated Projects
Construction sites are especially risky due to the number of variables involved. From contractors and vehicles to equipment and weather conditions, the culmination of unknowns create a very dangerous work environment. One way to improve site safety is to do as little as possible at the site itself – or move the construction site altogether. The combination of AI and robotics produced prefabricated construction, which allows for the assemblage of building elements in a controlled factory and later transported to a construction site. This process eliminates many of the would-be hazards, and completes the most dangerous tasks without risking human injury.
Prefabricated construction ensures the safest construction sites possible. The improvements in safety have led to speculation that there will be a six per cent increase in modular construction in the next three years.
Workplace Communication + Transparency
Despite the demand for streamlined communication, construction sites are notorious for poor and ineffective communication. However, the emergence of AI in construction sites is undoing these negative criticisms.
Setting the standard from day one for thorough and consistent communication is crucial, especially with so many people coming in and out of the job site. Streamlining communication and coordination cannot be overlooked, as a shortage of either will ultimately cost the stakeholders an exorbitant amount of money in the long run.
In order to successfully coordinate large projects, AI is a necessity. AI-supported cameras provide all stakeholders with round-the-clock feedback of anything and everything happening on the job site. Not a single worker, truck, or piece of equipment will make its way onto the job site without the stakeholders getting informed in real time. Lost paperwork and misinformation are no longer factors, as AI keeps everyone aligned.
Poor communication is a massive concern for stakeholders, as it may manifest itself to the tune of millions of dollars. 52 per cent of rework is caused by poor communication, costing more than $31 billion in 2018 alone.
AI is establishing newfound workplace transparency, and is drastically improving the efficiency of construction. Incorporating advanced AI technology into construction sites is leaving less room for error and less up to chance. With so much money hanging in the balance of a project, AI is ensuring that no man, vehicle, or tool is out of place.
The introduction of AI-supported equipment on a construction site holds every stakeholder accountable in unprecedented ways. With the AI software tracking and analyzing every piece of inbound data, all stakeholders are able to work in lockstep toward completing their project.
Efficiency, Precision + Safety
Emerging technologies like AI are opening the doors to new possibilities, and paving the way to the construction of more complex, yet significantly safer, projects. Never before have stakeholders had the ability to make such informed decisions. AI leaves nothing to chance, putting the information and the power back into the hands of the managers.
The harsh reality is traditional construction procedure is not only slow and labor-intensive, but is also incredibly dangerous and misaligned. Technological advancements in the construction industry have made a tremendous impact on the industry already to the tune of millions of dollars in financial savings, shortened turnaround times, and reduced injuries. Frankly, no company can afford to continue using outdated equipment to build upgraded projects. It’s only a matter of time before AI is as commonplace as a hammer on construction sites.
Matt Man is co-founder of indus.ai, an autonomous construction project monitoring solution which uses strategically placed live cameras to capture data then fed into an AI engine and turned into actionable insights for those in charge of the project.