Believe it or not, artificial intelligence is already ingrained into our lives. We may not even be aware of it, but it is out there serving to make our lives easier. It sounds futuristic and slightly terrifying, but it should not be. Netflix recommendations, Siri, Nest – all are based on the power of artificial intelligence. Artificial intelligence utilizes computer processing to complete tasks that normally require human intelligence. However, it performs actions with a greater level of accuracy and much more quickly. Because of this capability, artificial intelligence in construction management is another helpful tool in a contractor’s digital toolbox.
How does AI work?
Artificial intelligence serves to simulate human intelligence through the power of computers. There are two ways that computers can gain artificial intelligence:
Machine learning – Machine learning utilizes massive amounts of data to train computers how to think. Computers can identify patterns and learn by examples. For example, machine learning keeps email inboxes spam free. The algorithms have been exposed to examples of emails classified as spam or not spam.
Deep learning – Deep learning takes machine learning to the next level by simulating the neurons in the brain. As computers and algorithms begin to process more data over a longer period of time, it continues to learn and adjust its algorithms similar to human learning. Self-driving cars utilize deep learning to recognize patterns, predict situations, and act accordingly.
Artificial Intelligence in Construction Management
Data is the core of artificial intelligence. With data collected at various cycles of the construction project across many different projects in construction firms, this provides valuable learning information for artificial intelligence applications. Artificial intelligence serves as a helpful tool for every phase of the construction project.
AI-based applications for designers
AI-based applications enable designers to collaborate with computers to create complex designs quickly. Designers can utilize tools such as Autodesk’s Generative Design solutions to input different design goals and criteria. The solution utilizes AI to generate options for designers to select from and edits as needed.
AI-based applications for estimators
Generative design combined with data on costs and schedules of similar projects provide great value for estimators. Machine learning systems analyze data from similar projects to develop preliminary cost and schedule estimates. Combining AI with BIM allows estimators to develop accurate estimates with greater accuracy within a quicker turnaround time.
AI based applications for safety managers
AI-based applications such as Smartvid.io that utilize visual processing algorithms are an important risk monitoring and prevention tool for safety managers. Photos and videos from the jobsite are analyzed for safety hazards such as missing workers not wearing appropriate PPE gear. Similar to project managers, many safety managers are managing multiple projects and cannot be at the jobsite all the time. However, the field team is capturing photos at the jobsite. Safety monitoring solutions that utilize AI works scan large amounts of photos and quickly identify workers and instances that are not following safety protocol.
AI-based applications for project managers
Project managers utilize autonomous devices such as drones, sensors, and cameras to monitor job site activity. AI-based applications such as Doxel utilize data to measure the quantity of materials installed by analyzing the job site in 3D. The learning algorithms track the progress in real-time against original plans, budget, and schedule. Project managers use progressive information to track labor productivity and make adjustments to keep the project on schedule.
AI-based applications for foremen
The same AI-based applications used to measure the quantity of installed materials use the same learning algorithms to measure the quality of work. The 3D model captured by drones and cameras is measured against the original design to detect any errors or inconsistencies. Foreman can receive timely alerts to immediately work on corrections before the scope for rework increases.
Artificial intelligence in construction management is not anything we should fear. Those in construction should view artificial intelligence as another important tool in their toolbox. As the construction industry continues to move toward increased automation to increase safety and on-site productivity, AI and machine learning applications will help get the job done on time and on budget. These new tools offer exceptional benefits for construction businesses, workers, and projects, and involve closely integrating AI and machine learning technologies into their planning, design and production workflows.
The bottom line: Artificial intelligence-based applications serve to help workers do their job more accurately and more quickly. If you increase productivity, you should be able to increase your profits on every project.