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Top 5 Artificial Intelligence Applications in Construction

The construction industry, being one of the oldest and very important industries in the world, was slow to embracing technologies compared to other industries, making it one of the most under-digitized industries in the world. However, in the last decade, the industry has evolved with emerging trends and technologies that changed the way designs and plans are made, and structures are built.

Technological tools have also put construction experts on their toes to keep up with the continuing evolution in the industry, and make the construction process more efficient and construction projects safer, as well as, increasing productivity. Technology has also led to employment in the industry as about 7 percent of the world’s labour force is reportedly employed on the industry.

Companies in the industries have recently started using Artificial Intelligence (AI) in different ways such as optimizing work schedules, improving workplace safety, and keeping a secure watch on construction facilities, to further make construction more innovative and efficient.

Artificial Intelligence Technologies and Construction

Artificial intelligence (AI) is used to describe an instance when machine mimics human cognitive functions, like problem-solving, pattern recognition, and learning. The application of AI technologies in the construction industry is made possible through the emergence of deep learning, Machine Learning (ML), and natural language processing.

Machine Learning is a field of artificial intelligence that uses statistical techniques to give computer systems the ability to learn from data, without being explicitly programmed. A machine becomes better at understanding and providing insights as it is exposed to more data.

Deep learning, on the other hand, depends on algorithms that don't need manual administration. It uses sets of accessible information and the computing power of computers.

Natural language processing is derived from machine learning and deep learning. Its purpose is to recognize speech. It has helped us to work with enormous data sets, lexical, and syntactic.

These three systems have improved the artificial intelligence devices in the field of image recognition, text, voice, automatic robots, and decision making.

Benefits of Artificial Intelligence Technologies and Construction

The benefits AI technologies can bring to the construction industry include prevention of overruns, possibility of achieving better design of buildings through generative design, risk mitigation, proper project planning, increase in project productivity, construction safety, and making off-site construction possible. AI technologies also address labour shortages, and many more.

Top Five Applications of Artificial Intelligence Technologies in Construction

Five applications of artificial intelligence in construction are discussed in the section below.

  • AI for Building Designs
  • BIM is a digital representation of the physical and functional characteristics of a building. It is the development and use of a computer software model to stimulate the construction and operation of a facility, in order to make decisions and improve the process of delivering the facility. 

    BIM is a process that improves how architects and engineers design and construct buildings. Through BIM authoring tools, architects can create a digital 3D model of the building, allowing them to see a representation of what it will look like and how it will operate from the design stage to construction, commissioning, ownership, management, operation, maintenance use, demolition and reuse of built assets. The data developed by BIM through the lifecycle of a construction project can be used to create: parametric relationships and model element dependency; computational design; space planning; energy analysis; light and daylight analysis; display complex spatial relationships; calculate the cost and number of required building materials; virtual conflict detection and resolution; and extended reality.

    BIM offers massive benefits in the architecture and construction industry both directly and indirectly. It enables ease of information exchange across the entire value chain; saves time and cost; improves quality; creates clarity and accountability in decision making, increased sustainability; and improved end-user/customer satisfaction. BIM improves collaboration and creates efficiency in workflow; it enhances visualisation prior to construction, enables easier project management; and reduces waste and cost.

  • AI for Construction Safety
  • The death of construction workers during construction is said to be five times higher than other industries. The primary sources of accidents in construction s are due to the fall of objects and electric shocks, according to OSHA.

    A new AI technology is on the way. This technology will reportedly examine photographs from jobsite and check them for security risks such as labourers not wearing defensive gear. It will then associate the pictures with its accident records.

  • AI for Project Planning
  • There is a new AI technique that was developed using algorithms of the future. It is called reinforcement learning. It’s a technique that permits algorithms to learn from field experiments. It surveys endless combinations and options based upon the use of data from similar projects undertaken in the past. It also helps in project planning since it provides the best possible solution and rectifies itself over time.

  • AI for Improving Productivity
  • There are self-driven construction equipment like concrete pouring machines, automatic welding machines, robotic bricklaying, and automatic building demolition machines that can perform monotonous activities more productively than humans.

    For instance, preliminary site preparation or excavation work can be performed by automatic or semi-automatic bulldozers. These bulldozers can set up the construction site with the assistance of a human programmer to provide the exact specifications required by the construction drawings.

    This can remove the requirement of the human factor in the construction work and reduce the overall time needed to finish the project.

  • AI for Prevention of Cost Overruns
  • One of the challenges of the construction industry is spending more than the allocated budget. So, artificial neural networks are used to predict cost overruns. The neural network predicts the cost overruns based on the factors like the type of contract, size of the project, and competence of the project leader.    

    Artificial intelligence assists workers in giving remote training on material handling, which helps the workers to improve their knowledge and skills rapidly. This reduces the time required to install new assets onto projects and facilitates early project delivery.  

Conclusion

AI technologies offer many benefits that the construction industry can tap into. AI technologies can help prevent overruns, achieve better design of buildings through generative design, mitigate risk, plan project properly, increase project productivity, guarantee safety during construction, and reduce time spent on a project.

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