The Potential for AI in Construction

What’s the oldest large-scale construction project you can think of? Perhaps it’s the pyramids in Egypt, or the Parthenon of Greece? What about recent construction marvels, like the tallest buildings in the world or gravity defying structures?

Here’s what all of those have in common: the need for time, a degree of risk, and the collaboration of many people working together toward a common goal.

The construction industry has changed dramatically since the days of pyramids, but some factors have stayed the same. While the industry as a whole functions differently now than in the early days, you will always find time, risk and collaboration at the center of a construction project.

A period of global change (like an economic or health crisis) will certainly shake any industry, and this was the case with the construction industry in the last year. At the beginning of 2021, experts predicted that the construction industry would face further challenges as the world recovers from the pandemic.

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In particular, the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) noted that the industry will likely experience decreased demand for projects, fewer people in the workforce, and a lack of workplace productivity as a result.

While these predictions may seem grim, there is always an opportunity for growth. The construction industry has endured across time, and these challenges — particularly workplace productivity and efficiency — will breed innovative solutions.

This is where artificial intelligence comes into play. Now more than ever, there is a need for efficiency on construction sites. This requires a detailed level of management and structure within each project. The changes in the last year, and the changes to come this year, have changed how the industry functions as a whole. Now, every facet of the construction industry centers around efficiency, productivity and safety.

But those three factors mentioned before — time, risk and collaboration — still ring true. Technology is advancing to fill the gaps in those requirements so that the industry can continue to grow. 

Here’s how artificial intelligence meets the standards of a totally transformed construction industry.

Time: AI Makes The Industry More Efficient

Time is money, especially in the construction industry. The amount of time a project takes directly correlates to profits and losses. A project timeline can be affected by external factors, like issues with the building site or weather, and internal (company) factors, like the amount of manpower on a project or the efficiency of workers.

The construction industry is facing a shortage of workers, and this can slow down projects. On top of that, the pandemic has caused shipping delays for essential project materials.

These factors could add up to costly losses on an individual project, or for a construction company as a whole. Worker shortages and shipping delays are somewhat external factors, they are not something that a construction company can directly control (especially in the wake of a pandemic).

Construction companies and site managers can get ahead of these potential issues by using AI systems to track project progress and limit the amount of time lost or wasted. 

INDUS.AI’s system can mitigate project losses by tracking a variety of factors. Our AI technology tracks the activity on a site all hours of the day and provides quantifiable data that can help site managers understand why a project slowed down.

For example, using INDUS.AI’s system, various production activities can be tracked and the system will take note when heavy equipment stops production. With the system’s existing computer vision-powered applications, site managers can look back at a specific moment of time to understand why production stalled, and how to be more efficient in response.

Risk: Safer Construction Sites With AI

The construction industry is a notoriously dangerous industry and projects have always come with a certain degree of risk. Artificial intelligence can add an extra layer of security and safety to every job site by acting as a second set of eyes on the project.

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While we probably don’t want to think about it, many safety violations occur daily on job sites simply because managers cannot monitor all aspects of a site simultaneously. But AI can do this. INDUS.AI’s system can monitor site activities and alert a project manager or superintendent when a worker steps into a dangerous area or violates a safety protocol. 

If the construction industry is to see any growth in the next few years, risk reduction is a huge factor for site workers and company stakeholders as a whole. Artificial intelligence offers a safeguard against accidents so that projects can progress more smoothly and efficiently with fewer accidents.

Collaboration: Shared Project Insights With AI

Artificial intelligence can make project collaboration more streamlined for every participant in the project, from company leadership to on-site workers. This is a huge advancement for the industry because construction planning materials used to be solely tangible paper or 3D models that couldn’t be shared with a larger group.

Even further, project progress is difficult to convey without bringing people to the site.

INDUS.AI’s system can track the progress of a project and gather data that is easily shareable with every collaborator on a project. These real-time statistics account for any project delays and can be markers or project successes.

Time, risk, and collaboration are and have always been, essential aspects of the construction industry. Given the significant changes of the last year, the field is changing to meet demand with fewer resources on hand. AI can grow in this space within the construction industry and is already bridging the gap between outdated practices and the requirements of future projects. 

Artificial intelligence is making the construction industry safer, transforming workflows to be more efficient, and creating greater opportunities for collaboration.

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