How AI will affect the construction industry


  • AI promises to revolutionize the construction industry.
  • AI can be used for a wide range of tasks, including streamlining administrative tasks.
  • Creation and implementation of design plans will likely be heavily influenced by AI in the near future.

When you hear the term artificial intelligence (AI), you may have visions of robots taking over the job site. While there may be some merit to that fear, one thing is undeniable: AI will enhance the construction industry in the near future.

While robots can now be used for monotonous, labor-intensive tasks like bricklaying, AI will soon perform equally time-consuming, decision-making office tasks like sorting through resumes. On a bigger scale, AI technology will also be helping the construction industry better design and build complex projects.

“We are in the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” says Nir Kaldero, a professional speaker and educator in the field of data science who authored Data Science for Executives: Leveraging Machine Intelligence to Drive Business ROI.

Machine intelligence has been improving productivity and enhancing business outcomes in many industries, including engineering and construction,” Kaldero says. “This is helping augment our human intelligence in an era of a wealth of data that promises to improve lives.”

While the engineering and construction (E&C) industry has become increasingly sophisticated in terms of design and available data, it remains old-fashioned and undigitized, but that promises to change soon, according to Kaldero.

“Technological solutions using AI-powered algorithms have the potential to radically change and alter the future of construction,” he says. “This emerging technology has the power to augment our intelligence and overcome some of the E&C industry’s greatest challenges—including cost and schedule overruns and safety concerns.”

Here are some more examples of how AI will likely be game-changing for the construction industry:

Project planning optimization

“Using AI, construction industry personnel can consider millions of alternatives by looking at various trends in the project life cycle through its data,” Kaldero says. “This will enable the enhancing of project delivery and overall project planning.”

Image recognition for safety

“Video asset data collected on worksites can help identify unsafe worker behavior patterns and aggregate this output to inform decision making on site,” Kaldero says. “The information gathered can also lead to suggestions on how to organize the teams on the ground to enhance safety measures.”

Streamlined administrative tasks

AI is increasingly being used to manage staffs and control tasks. For instance, AI can be used to automate time tracking, which increases time recording accuracy and helps prevent overreported hours. AI can even go so far as to reassign tasks from one employee to another all on its own.

Design optimization and implementation

Perhaps one of the most groundbreaking aspects of AI in construction is using the technology in the creation and implementation of construction plans.

“Using AI, contractors can employ a recommender system approach that uses cluster behavior production,” Kaldero notes. Drawing from data of decades of past building projects and verifying preexisting design blueprints, AI can offer construction industry personnel information not previously available.

“AI can recommend to engineers and architects the use of specific designs, such as a structural solution (type of connections — welded or bolted) or architectural finishes based on various criteria,” Kaldero says. “Such criteria may include total cost of ownership, timeline to complete execution, and the likelihood of defective construction mistakes during execution.”

The end result, according to Kaldero is that contractors have more information with which to make informed decisions. “Thanks to advances in AI, it’s an exciting time for the construction industry, he adds. “Construction companies now have the capacity to revolutionize their businesses and take them to the next level.”

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