Artificial intelligence (AI) is making the news by revolutionizing many areas of our lives. Find out how applying AI to your existing project data can give your construction business a competitive edge.
Project management has been called the art of making things go right. It calls for learning from experience, problem solving and recognizing negative trends before they erupt into issues.
Successful construction professionals are highly adept at these skills, but they take time and effort to apply. Artificial intelligence has reached the stage where it can take on many of these tasks and complete them in the blink of an eye.
The AI applications that have been in the news so much over the past few months incorporate machine learning. This innovation uses a set of computer algorithms that can learn directly from data without any further human programming.
By applying machine learning, AI technology can also learn from experience, resolve issues and anticipate problems. Although the applications aren’t creative or self-aware, as always, they make up for that by being incredibly fast and remarkably accurate.
“Artificial Intelligence Will Transform Our Industry”
James Barrett is the chief innovation officer for Turner Construction, America’s largest contractor. As he told Construction Dive, “Artificial intelligence will transform our industry in the next 10 years more than any other technology in the past 100 years.”
Even though AI might feel like an overnight success, it’s been evolving just below the surface for decades. Building information modeling (BIM) and applications for project scheduling, safety monitoring and predictive maintenance have all become increasingly sophisticated, affordable and easy for all staff levels to use.
The construction industry isn’t always an early adopter of technology. Construction professionals value reliability and durability, leading them to prefer tried-and-true methods that deliver sound, solid results.
Ninety-Two Percent of Construction Companies Use, or Plan to Use, AI
Even so, those same values are behind a growing realization that AI can deliver those results more effectively than ever before. According to Peak’s Decision Intelligence Maturity Index, 92% of construction companies are already using or plan to use AI in their operations.
As Trimble’s vice president of technology innovation, Aviad Almagor puts it, “Construction is a bit behind, but I’m very optimistic that we are moving in the right direction.” Construction companies apply AI to tasks like clash and error detection, workplace health and safety, and training.
Baby boomers in the industry are aging out, triggering labour shortages. So, todays’ forward-looking managers tend to view AI’s ability to take on tasks as an opportunity and not a threat.
Regulators and stakeholders are calling for more comprehensive sustainability assessments and energy models. AI is taking the lead in calculating impacts and assessing materials and methods to meet those standards.
At the same time, the technology has the potential to better manage supply chains and respond to global logistics interruptions. Once construction is complete, building maintenance and operations can also benefit from using AI applications to monitor conditions and automate routine tasks.
The AI user experience is also becoming more intuitive. Staff with various roles throughout the project lifecycle, from architects to fabricators to field crews, can relate to and use today’s powerful applications without specialized IT skills.
Sheer Volume of Data Accumulating in Existing Systems
One of the main drivers behind the construction industry’s adoption of AI is the sheer volume of data accumulating in existing systems. All that information is a precious resource, but only if it’s readily accessible to support sound decision making.
Construction projects are multi-faceted and fluid, requiring teams to coordinate stakeholders in board rooms, cubicles, factories, vehicles and job sites. So, while most businesses struggle with information silo issues, information management and sharing can be even more difficult within the building industry.
With traditional processes, construction firms often can’t access the data staff need to create detailed models supporting constructible processes. In particular, data collected on job sites may not find its way back to design teams in ways that support their work.
There’s a growing realization throughout the industry that this needs to change. Industry leaders recognize that AI now offers powerful solutions when implemented successfully.
“The data any construction company collects, as a single entity, is not enough to get a valuable outcome.” Almagor explains, “But if we as an industry can collaborate and collect the data, process it, and then share the anonymized outcome back to the industry, we’ll have the data we need for healthy, valuable machine learning processes that can provide benchmarking and predictive, prescriptive outcomes.”
BuildingPoint Can Help
Artificial intelligence can offer your company the opportunity to create genuinely constructible models as a single source of truth for stakeholders. This can improve teamwork, compressing the construction project lifecycle.
Beyond that, AI can transform disjointed data repositories into valuable competitive assets. This benefits all team members by consistently delivering quality structures on time and within budget.
Why not reach out to our BuildingPoint Team today to learn how your business can apply Trimble’s artificial intelligence tools to manage information resources on your projects?