AI and machine learning: What’s in it for the construction industry?

AI and machine learning
Future of construction, Guest posts

AI or artificial intelligence is no longer a futuristic concept that fits the best in science fiction novels or films. The technology is evolving faster than what most of us had imagined earlier. AI algorithms and software solutions are being deployed in a lot of sectors like hospitality, healthcare, food, entertainment and many more.

A lot of brands are incorporating AI-enabled technologies in customer support operations and this is gaining momentum worldwide. The construction industry, similarly, is taking this technology hand to hand too. ML-enabled Artificial intelligence solutions are also being used in this sector widely nowadays.

Nuances of AI and machine learning in the construction sector

AI can be a pretty wide topic to be explained in a sentence but it deals with the simulation of human thinking and analysis capabilities by specialized computer software solutions. It also involves an artificial self-learning mechanism. So, along with computer science, it also involves linguistics, mathematics, and psychology.

As far as the construction sector is concerned, AI broadly covers two areas – deep learning and machine learning.

Read also: Mark Farmer – The unholy trinity of structural change

Machine learning involves special algorithms that enable computers to learn from gathered and compiled data without much human intervention and explicit programming. For example, AI algorithms can be utilized to let a software solution identify spam emails and isolate them from genuine, useful emails. The so-called AI algorithm uses resources and patterns to identify specific types of data from others.

AI and machine learning

Deep learning is a type of machine learning based mostly on neural networks. This is a recent development in realms of AI technologies that has enabled the creation of new developments in language and image processing. In the future, it is expected to pave ways for more advanced applications.

AI and machine learning procedures used in Construction and their benefits

The potential of using AI technologies in the construction sector is huge. Typically, the majority of Construction projects have plenty of issues that need careful and proper handling. A lot of changes may also take place in such projects without prior hint or information, as well. Handling these issues and changes manually can be tedious for sure and scopes of errors exist. By deploying Ai technologies and enabled project management software to look after entire projects, repetitive tasks can be automated to a large extent and scope of human errors can also be largely mitigated.

The AI technologies, when used in construction projects can help the project engineers, supervisors and literally everyone involved in such projects. Deployment of such technologies helps them save time- beyond doubt. These software solutions can also be used to monitor the progress of work and thus errors and risk factors can be easily identified. The managers and supervisors will be able to get alerts on such issues and corrective measures can be taken fast. This will help evade problems and cost escalation in such projects.

How AI and machine learning is being used in construction projects at present?

While AI is an evolving branch of science and computer technology, its present applications in the Construction are also not insignificant. Listed below are the ways most construction entities are already deploying AI tech in their projects –

For risk assessment

Before a construction project gets approval from the authorities and the developers get into action, risk assessment has to be done. This is applicable for almost any project – residential or commercial.

Earlier, it was done manually which was time intensive. Computer applications are also used but deploying Ai tech has made the risk assessment faster and way more accurate. This is owing to the fact AI tech solutions can compile huge amounts of data and analyze it to come up with detailed and accurate risk assessment for such projects.

It can be used to analyze and assess construction relevant risk factors like type of soil, the viability of building heights and so on.

For boosting productivity

When AI enabled construction management software is used in a construction project it boosts the level of productivity. These software solutions can be used to monitor and supervise daily operations in project sites. These can be used to monitor procedures like brickwork, masonry, plumbing setup, electrification, flooring, roofing and many more.

If anything goes wrong or haywire, the system generates alert and corrective steps can be taken. This eliminates the risk of errors and helps save time to a large extent. The project workers can focus on their respective roles and become more productive eventually.

For maintaining safety in sites

In most construction sites, regardless of location and type, some risk factors exist. These include risks of electrocution, fire outage, short circuit, dealing with heavy-weight machinery, and even casualty in the worst possible scenario.

While deploying surveillance cameras and fire alarms are not new, using AI tech solutions takes the level of safety to a new height. The solution can be used to look for risk factors and any escalation can be instantly identified and reported. This helps minimize the scope of injury and accident at such project sites.

For making documentation accurate and easily accessible

In any construction project, massive amounts of data have to be stored and accessed on a daily basis. When this is done manually, errors can take place, leading to many hassles. Using accounting software is an option but when those are handled by humans, scopes of errors still remain.

When AI tech is used, data storage and retrieval become hassle-free. Such solutions can also be used to fetch specific data from a mammoth database and update and amend existing data in a jiffy. Besides, everything related to the projects gets documented and stored digitally – which can be handy in resolving any issue in future.

AI and machine learning

Taking stock of inventory

In most construction projects, lots of materials have to be stored near or at the project site. These include brick, cement, paints, metal sheets, stones and many more. Keeping track of the inventory is very important. Using workforce to do this leaves scope for errors. However, deploying AI tech to handle project inventory makes things smoother.

Using autonomous equipment and robots

In large-sized and commercial construction projects, deployment of specialized equipment and robots driven by AI tech are becoming more commonplace than in the past! This is useful in eliminating the risk of accidents and injuries and also speeding up work progress.

Read also: Snagging in construction – A comprehensive guide

AI-driven robots can be used to construct parts of buildings at elevated heights and using such drones or robots also bring accuracy in work. This also frees up the human workers to focus on doing more complex work like plumbing and electrification setup etc.

What the future of AI tech in construction looks like?

Like mentioned earlier, Ai technology is morphing fast and the future of AI in construction can be more radical than what it is now! The project managers and engineers are likely to become more reliant on AI solutions and deployment of drones and robots for surveillance and accomplishing routine staff will also go up.

The experts also assume that use of IoT in the industry will also go up. The project workers will use IoT enabled devices to communicate and interact. However, security issues have to be addressed too. Since AI is largely dependent on the web, security loopholes have to be checked and addressed before it can be deployed in more intensive ways in the construction sector.

Author bio: Aniruddh is a software analyst at SoftwareSuggest. Loves to dig deep into various construction management software, project management solutions, and other relevant technologies. Ready to grab a cup of coffee anytime, if you want to talk about tech, cars, businesses or cricket.

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