Today, it seems as though everything is under construction. It is almost rare to walk outside without seeing a sleek looking building or a bridge being built. Although these projects are being constructed to meet the newest and latest criteria and aesthetics, the crews building them are not necessarily taking advantage of the latest available technology. The fact is, companies are losing millions of dollars in productivity due to the fact that most tools used on a job site are outdated. It is time for the construction industry to make some updates of its own. Not a moment too soon, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is emerging on job sites, completely reshaping the construction industry. While it’s early yet, the rise and impact of AI has already been significant in various aspects of the industry.
DATA DRIVES THE WORLD
It is no secret that we live in a data-driven world. The use of data offers invaluable insights which allow users to make informed decisions far more efficiently. This notion is especially true for those working in construction. Details are everything when it comes to a constructing project. There is little room for mistakes. Any slight miscalculation can result in a faulty structure that must be torn down and rebuilt, causing significant wastes of time and money.
AI’s presence on construction sites is all but eliminating many common errors and reducing risks. With powerful AI-supported cameras on site, project managers are able to get real-time visuals around the clock, allowing them to not only see when a mistake is being made, but also to predict mistakes and prevent the from occurring. The ability to anticipate problem areas keeps projects moving forward on schedule, minimizing waste.
AI-supported cameras continuously monitor all areas around a job-site to understand and analyze all activities in real time. AI provides useful and actionable insights to owners, project managers and superintendents alike, giving them complete control down to the finest details on site. AI can provide insights into processes such as equipment utilization, truck arrivals and departures, and personnel on the site at any given time. AI even enhances the value of regular video cameras mounted at job sites for monitoring activities, security and tracking progress; getting alerted to potential bottlenecks or delays, spotting potential problems (like including safety issues) and more.
Since most data lives in the cloud, there has been an influx of applications that are helping managers across industries make better decisions based on insights gathered using these advanced analytics.
AI BOOSTS PRODUCTIVITY
Although construction projects take time to complete, they operate on incredibly tight timelines. It is critical for project managers to adhere to these timelines to ensure all stakeholders are pleased with the progress, and to make sure no extra time or money will be spent unnecessarily. Of course, there is no way to completely eliminate mistakes, but AI is playing a major role in increasing the overall efficiency of construction projects while reducing the number of errors. In fact, a 2017 McKinsey report predicts that construction firms could boost productivity by as much as 50 percent through real-time data analysis.
This means some firms could cut their construction times in half by simply incorporating AI into their projects. The construction industry has been known to update at a slower pace than other industries – especially as it relates to technology. So, while it is unsurprising that modern technology has yet to make its way onto every job site, it is likely a matter of time. As AI continues to rise and shine in the construction industry, it will become commonplace to see job sites with AI-supported systems.
With so many construction managers experiencing this level of success with AI, it would be a mistake for others to lag behind with outdated tools.
AI IMPROVES SITE SAFETY
One of the construction industry’s most challenging tasks is risk mitigation. On any particular job site, there are many subcontractors working on projects simultaneously, opening the door to thousands of safety issues. The dynamics of job sites are constantly changing, so managing site safety is extremely difficult and complex. The numbers are indicative of just how dangerous a construction site can be. In fact, the number of struck-by deaths in construction, or deaths on a site where a worker is struck by an object, vehicle or piece of equipment, have risen by a staggering 34 percent in the U.S. since 2010. Construction sites are not getting any safer on their own. The numbers suggest they are actually becoming more dangerous.
Contractors must be aware of potential risk areas to ensure the safety of their employees. Staying aware and making sure that the work site is properly equipped and secured with the appropriate systems is crucial to keeping a site safe. Improved technology provides more options and increased convenience when it comes to supervision, safety, and management.
AI takes aim at understanding the complexities within a construction site and is being deployed to improve outdated processes. Using AI, it is possible to automatically identify and assign priority to issues. The algorithms facilitate understanding and anticipation of complex problems, allowing managers to make informed decisions and mitigate risks.
It is an exciting time to be a part of the construction industry, as emerging technologies like AI are becoming widely accessible. If utilized, AI has the capability to revolutionize the industry, paving the way to project efficiency and safety that were once not possible.
- Artificial Intelligence News: How artificial intelligence is changing the construction industry, March 26, 2018
- Medium: The Rise of AI and Machine Learning in Construction, December 21, 2017
- Equipment World: Construction struck-by deaths up 34% since 2010, August 10, 2017
- Construction Executive: The Impact of New Tools on Construction Productivity, July 25, 2017
- McKinsey Global Institute: Reinventing construction through a productivity revolution, February 2017
- Association of Equipment Managers: How Artificial Intelligence Could Revolutionize Construction, October 17, 2016